It’s appealing to put milk directly in the coffee maker instead of water, right? Wrong. There are five main reasons why you shouldn’t try it. So if the question came to your mind, can you put milk in a coffee maker, you might want to hold that thought and read this post first.
Also, if you have already done so, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world, we’ll also cover what you should do in that case. To put things in perspective, it should suffice that professionals and baristas never recommend such an action, had it been cool to try such a thing, they’d surely have covered it in their advice.
Before moving on to what to do if you’ve put milk in your coffee maker, let’s cover the top 5 reasons why it isn’t such a good idea.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Milk in a Coffee Maker
You are absolutely right when you say that if we replace the water in the coffee maker with milk, it should expedite the coffee-making process, it actually doesn’t, and here’s why:
1. Coffee Maker Clogged
When you pour milk into your coffee maker, unlike water, it creates bacteria inside your machine, and over time it can lead to clogging. It’s basically due to the protein build-up inside the machine because milk is full of it (I’m sure you are aware of it).
When you directly put milk in your coffee machine, the protein molecules hold on to each other dearly (coagulate) clogging important spaces inside the machine and leading to its malfunction. But this happens over time and is not a rapid phenomenon. So you should not worry if you’ve only used milk directly once or twice.
Since water doesn’t contain any proteins, it’s the best thing to use for brewing a hot steaming cup of coffee.
2. Taste Profile Affected
When you try these “shortcuts” of putting the milk directly into the machine instead of boiling it separately, it has a direct impact on how your coffee is going to taste (and there’s no good news here)
I’ll be honest here, if you are not using that milk to brew a coffee, you might not notice the huge impact it’ll have on the taste, but if you want an excellent cup of coffee, you should definitely avoid trying this method.
If you don’t want to end up with a compromised coffee that just tastes awful, this is because coffee machines tend to overcook the milk, this destroys the chemical composition of the milk to an extent that your coffee wouldn’t taste the same.
3. Nutritional Value of Milk
I’m sure you are aware that milk is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and calcium, all of these are essential for good health. You might also know that overcooking anything destroys the nutritional value of that product.
The same is the case with milk, if you put it in your coffee maker, it’ll heat it up so much that it’ll significantly affect its nutritional value for you.
There have been a number of studies on this phenomenon that support the notion that when you boil milk for long, it has an adverse impact on its chemical composition. For instance, it can reduce Vitamins by up to 30% (numbers vary for different researches) and the findings are consistent.
So make sure when you are brewing your cup you put the milk separately.
4. Inside the Coffee Maker
As I mentioned above, bacteria is the main reason why you shouldn’t put milk in the machine and stick with water. To better understand the reason let me give you an idea about what happens inside the machine when you pour milk instead of water into it.
The milk travels through the tubes in your coffee maker, it’s made of aluminum to heat it. Then it travels through a transparent tube through the hole. Why knowing this is important you wonder? Well, if you’ve been using milk instead of water for quite some time, you’ll need to disassemble the entire unit before cleaning it. Now that’s a hassle, isn’t it?
If you don’t open up the machine to clean it from the inside, there’s a high likelihood that mold will develop inside and lead to clogging and ultimately malfunctioning of your machine.
Adverse impacts on the machine are secondary, if mold grows inside your equipment and you ingest it on a daily basis through your coffee, it can have consequences for your well-being too.
5. Design of the Machine
Your coffee makers are not designed to contain milk in the water tank. It’s called a “water tank” for a reason and the instruction manuals explicitly mention using fresh water and nothing else in it to brew a cup of coffee.
You can ignore these instructions at your own peril, but trust me, it won’t be long before your coffee maker will start acting up.
What to do if you’ve Put Milk in the Coffee Maker
First of all, there’s no need to panic, as mentioned earlier, you won’t see any negative impacts of using milk right away, and it’ll take some time. Good news, right? Yes, but if you’ve used milk instead of water, here’s what you should do immediately.
Take some vinegar (half cup) and mix it with a half cup of water. Vinegar is an excellent solution to use for cleaning purposes but make sure to mix it with water and not use it raw.
The solution is acidic in nature and helps break the chunks of mold inside your machine and remove it by dissolving them. Run a cleaning cycle in your machine and you should be good to go.
Can I put Milk in my Espresso Machine?
Well, if you still need to ask this question, my write-up above is almost useless (just kidding!). The simple answer is no, you shouldn’t. Notice that I didn’t say you can’t because you certainly can, but considering the negative impacts explained above, you shouldn’t try it.
Another reason why it’s an even worst idea to use milk in an espresso machine is that it boils at very high temperatures (around 200oF) so putting milk through these would definitely ruin its taste and also have a bad impact on your machine.
Why Do People Ads Milk to Their Coffee?
There are many reasons why someone might be tempted to put milk in their coffee. Even though many people like their coffee black, some don’t have developed palates to welcome a bitter-tasting coffee so they add milk to it.
It also makes your coffee creamier and gives it a nice appearance, this could be another reason why people would add milk to their coffee.
When I started loving coffee, I actually started off with lattes. I still love them, lattes are milk-based drinks and if you are new to drinking coffee, you should definitely give them a try.
For these reasons, people add milk to their coffee, but some go to the extent of replacing water with milk in their coffee maker, this is where the trouble begins. They might get away with it a few times, but in the long run, it’s definitely not worth trying.
How Should You Prepare Your Coffee Instead of Putting Milk in the Coffee Maker?
Just do what you are supposed to do. Brew a regular cup of coffee with water and add milk later on if you want a milk-based coffee (a latte or a cappuccino).
Another method you can brew a milk-based coffee without having to stir it is by using cream. You can pour some into the cup and then add hot coffee, this will melt the cream and blend with it to give you a nice cup of coffee without having to manually stir it with a spoon.
There is also another great way, you can brew your black coffee regularly using a coffee maker and put milk in a separate saucepan or any other utensil of your choice and put it on the stove to boil.
Make sure you don’t boil it too much and reduce the temperature when it starts to come up otherwise it will spill on your stove. Once the espresso or black coffee is ready you can pour the boiled milk into it and it’ll create a nice milk-based coffee.
If you prefer foam over coffee, you should pour milk from a height (at least 2-3 inches above the cup) and you’ll get a nice foaming texture at the top adorning your drink.
You can add sweeteners or sugar as per your liking and voila!
All of these are excellent alternatives to putting milk directly into the coffee maker and destroying your overall coffee experience.
This hopefully covers can you put milk in a coffee maker in detail. To reiterate what I’ve written above, it’s a terrible idea and you shouldn’t try it. Moreover, not only is it bad for your coffee machine but also hazardous to you in the long run.
You can try alternative methods and brew a nice hot steaming cup of coffee without worrying about any of the above. Did you like the information I presented in this article? Do let me know your thoughts on this one.
Have a nice mold-free day!