So yesterday we tasted some milk at Gimme! coffee. It was a great time, and I think we all actually learned something too. The best part was the–

Tasting milk, cold and steamed

Oh, heck, the best part was the surprise appearance of the NYCS captain himself, Daniel! Not only did he come, he came with presents!

Ok, but seriously folks, we got a chance to try four milks from upstate New York. All local, fresh and delicious. Here’s a run down of what we tasted:


1. For Ronnybrook, which was our first milk, we kind of all agreed that tasting milk was harder than we’d thought it would be! Neil had picked it up from the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket, but it’s also available at Whole Foods and in their own store inside the Chelsea Market.

From my notes, I found the cold milk to be very smooth, while it tasted creamy without coating the inside of my mouth too much. When it was steamed, it stated very sweet to me, maybe the sweetest we tasted, I wrote “vanilla steamer.” I got a sour aftertaste though, and it only got stronger with espresso. Definitely an interesting start.

2. Next we had milk from Evan’s Farmhouse, which I picked up at Murray’s cheese in the west village. They were recently part of a great milk article in the New York Times, so it was definitely fun to try their milk. From my research today, I found the milk is made with all Jersey milk, which has a naturally higher fat content.

I found the cold milk to be less sweet, and to have a bit of a rough mouthfeel. But once it was steamed up, it was much more fluffy than the Ronnybrook milk. Once we added the espresso, I found it smoother than the Ronnybrook, and it had a nice clean aftertaste.

Mark made amazing samplesSlurp

3. The third milk was one I had heard nothing at all about – Sky Top Farms milk. I picked it up at the new Bowery Whole Foods (which could be a post all in of itself – they have a beer ROOM – with growler fills!), but I got it based on the label – an unhomogenized local milk. Seems like Sky Top is just getting into the NYC market, at least based on their website, but I’m really glad I got to try it.

I thought the cold milk was very similar to Ronnybrook, but once it steamed up, it got lighter even than Evan’s textured milk. This one quickly became my favorite on the table, because it was smooth and had a clean aftertaste, while still staying sweet and milky, even with the espresso. I wrote “perfect” on my notes.

4. The fourth and final milk was a present from Jack’s Stir Brew. Mary and Daniel brought us the milk used at Jack’s, which is from a non-profit co-op called Hudson Valley Fresh.

I found it to be a great smooth cold milk, with an even coating of the mouth. Once it was steamed, I thought it tasted very “normal” for a steamed milk. It had a clean finish, and was a very pleasant milk.

After all that milk tasting, which had taken quite a while, we delved into a full discussion. The most fascinating thing of all is that almost everyone liked different milks for different reasons. Some of us liked the super sweetness of the milk, while others liked the texture and mouthfeel, and some just wanted the milk to taste like milk, dammit. Mary even commented that she liked a milk because it didn’t taste like milk to her!

Allen did an amazing job with clean up!

Also, Daniel talked a little bit about the field trip the staff at Jack’s had taken to upstate new york last year to meet their cows, and talked a little bit about the process milk usually goes through before its sold. Even if it’s unhomogenized and lightly pasteurized, the milk is usually separated into skim milk and cream, and then the cream is added back to the milk to give the milk a consistent milkfat content (in NY the number is around 3.2%, and it can go up to 4% in other states). We didn’t know the milkfat percentages in the milks on the table, which certainly could be a fascinating flavor predictor.

Comparing notes

Most of all, the tasting was a lot of fun, and we all learned that milk is as exacting an art as the coffee itself. Thanks to everyone who came, and stayed tuned on this blog and Daniel’s for more wacky coffee and other tasting antics!


~ by Anne on March 18, 2008.

5 Responses to “Moo!”

  1. Sky Top eh? Wonder if we can find a distributor for that…

  2. Never forget that you are the grandchild of a dairy farmer.

  3. yay milk! i love cows! they are my second favorite animal.

    thanks for hosting such an illuminating event anne. i cant wait for the next one…

  4. Moo. 🙂
    Really really nice idea to cup milk! Thank you. More pictures of the event here:

    Gimme Manhattan
  5. […] Neil and I made plans to visit the Evans Farmhouse Creamery, which was a favorite of ours in our recent milk tasting. Dave and Sue welcomed us and were happy to show us around the farm and around their on-site […]

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