Learning the Basics: Choosing the Right Coffee Thermometer

Learning the Basics: Choosing the Right Coffee Thermometer

Temptag Milk Thermometer

5-10 Minutes Read

How to choose the perfect coffee thermometer?

A coffee thermometer has a very important role in the process of creating a perfect cup of coffee. Essentially, by providing the ability to constantly monitor temperature, a milk thermometer enables barista to maintain consistency and quality throughout their frothing processes. Constant innovation of milk thermometers has provided baristas with more options. With frothing machines, stick-on thermometers, and digital thermometers, there are numerous options for the modern barista. Despite these innovations, time-tested and traditional means of temperature regulation is still maybe highly favoured among the barista community. Whether you are a professional barista looking for hacks to improve the efficiency and consistency of your workflow or an everyday barista looking to improve your work quality, this simple guide has something for everyone.

What are the things I prioritise when choosing a thermometer?

Let’s begin with the basics – Below are the three things that baristas need to consider when in searching for a milk thermometer.

Accuracy

Accuracy is an essential aspect of crafting a good quality coffee. While there are various aspects of the process which requires precision, the specific aspect of the process discussed would be the temperature of milk. During this process, constant monitoring of the temperature of the milk helps baristas to achieve precision in each cup. While exact precision maybe beneficial for ensuring quality, there are other factors that should be considered that may act as a trade-off for higher amounts of accuracy.

Efficiency

While professional baristas always on the clock, optimising efficiency has become another aspect that is considered when looking for a milk thermometer. Whether it’s cutting down time used for maintenance or achieving maximum cost efficiency, finding the right milk thermometer will significantly help in achieving greater efficiency. While some tools may require additional steps to set up and maintain, there are numerous pros and cons that should be considered when looking into improving efficiency.

Consistency

Another important aspect of achieving better quality coffee is the ability to recreate the perfect cup consistently. In the case of milk temperature, the key is to acquire a milk thermometer that can maintain consistent accuracy. In this context, the lifespan and the durability of the milk thermometer becomes a great determinant in achieving consistency.

Types of Coffee Thermometers

After understanding the things to consider before purchasing a milk thermometer, let’s discuss the common methods and tools mostly used within the barista community. Looking at both the pros and cons in choosing a milk thermometer, the comparison was made in the hopes of providing the best information.

Frothing Milk by hand

By Hand

The most traditional method recognised by the community – doing it by hand. The method revolves on relying on the barista’s natural ability to measure the temperature during the frothing method. While it maybe the most cost-effective solution, this solution has several problems which include inconsistency and the learning curve that is needed to master techniques. In a small experiment conducted to compare different frothing methods, this method was proven to be the method achieving the least amount of accuracy and consistency. While beneficial for experienced baristas, this method may not be the ideal choice for learning baristas.

Pros Cons
Cost efficient since it does not require additional cost to use. Inconsistency in accuracy of temperature.
May allow baristas to multi-task while frothing. Inconvenience to baristas due to direct contact with the heated milk jug.
Energy efficient since the method does not require maintenance of additional equipment to conduct. Human error may cause inaccuracy in the temperature of the milk.

 

Milk Thermometer Traditional

Traditional Milk thermometer

Like other general forms of thermometers, the traditional thermometer records, and monitors milk temperature through direct contact with the milk. The advantages of using this variant of thermometers are the degree of accuracy that it can provide. While providing accuracy, the drawbacks of this method include contamination of the milk if used with different milk types and not cleaned properly. With the analogue thermometers there is also a lag in temperature from the stem to the dial. Also, the constant need to calibrate and tedious maintenance process further contributes to the inefficiencies included within this type of thermometers.

Pros Cons
Pin-point accuracy in monitoring milk temperatures Requires constant recalibration
Cost efficient with prices in $20 range May cause contamination between use if not cleaned properly

 

Temptag Tri Milk Steamer Sticker

Stick-on Milk Thermometers

Stick-on thermometers are uniquely designed stickers which used by being latched on the surface of the milk jug. The advantage of this type of thermometers includes improvement of workflow, cost efficiency, and most importantly avoidance of contamination of the milk. Essentially being a sticker, this form of thermometer does not require further extensive processes in order to maintain its effectivity. Made with a unique heat sensitive ink, these thermometers are capable in accurately detecting different temperatures. Despite its inability to showcase pin-point accuracy of the temperature, the indicators provided is adequate in maintaining consistency. With easy to ready indicators, this form of milk thermometers are beginner friendly and perfect for baristas learning to master the art of milk frothing. With its affordable pricing, this form of milk thermometer has become a true favourite among the barista community.

Pros Cons
Greatly improves workflow by being easy to Use and maintain Requires a slight level of monitoring when using
Provides great accuracy through the unique heat sensitive ink It does not provide the pin-point accuracy provided by other thermometers.
Does not contaminate the milk by avoiding direct contact Requires delicate care when washing to maintain its integrity

 

Conclusion – Choosing the Right Thermometer with overall benefit

While there are numerous types and techniques of milk thermometers available, understanding the your needs is vital to choose the perfect method. While the ‘By Hand’ method may be cost effective, the ‘stick-on’ thermometer may provide better accuracy and consistency. Although each method may have different advantages, after reviewing the differences between each, the ‘stick-on’ thermometer seems to have the most advantage amongst the rest. With its capability of improving consistency and accuracy along with maintaining the integrity of the milk in a cost-efficient manner, this variation of milk thermometer has proven itself to be the best.

 

Wondering which brand of ‘stick-on’ thermometers to get?

 

Have a browse at our catalogue Here and find the right thermometer best suited for you!

In case your still getting accustomed to the coffee industry, check out our ‘coffee glossary’ and list of ‘alternative milks’. These resources are perfect for anyone trying to grasp the basics of behind the art of making coffee.