The Coffee Shop Ordering Faux Pas That Is Ruining Your Latte

Everyone has their go-to preferences when ordering from their local coffee shop. Believe it or not, though, there's one tiny detail that may be making your coffee order completely wrong. When the time comes to order a latte, plenty of folks opt for an iced beverage while others prefer hot. For some people in the latter camp, "hot" isn't enough, but asking for your beverage "extra hot" is probably something your barista wants you to stop doing. Why, you ask? The reason is all about taste.

While your drink may be hotter if you make this common request, it won't taste nearly as good, as this extra heating will likely burn the steamed milk. Master barista Giorgio Milos told Business Insider, "It bothers me when latte or cappuccino drinkers ask for their drink 'extra hot' without knowing that steaming the milk over 155 to 160 degrees will burn it, which compromises the overall taste." So, if you've ordered a super-hot beverage recently but noticed it tasted somewhat burnt, your temperature customization is probably why.

Why extra-hot lattes lose their flavor

When preparing a latte, a barista needs to combine steamed milk and espresso. Steaming the milk creates a chemical reaction that can break down the milk itself. If you don't specify the desired temperature for your latte, most baristas will steam the milk to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the chemical reactions don't change the integrity of the milk, and it keeps its sweetness and natural flavor.

While most people aren't coffee experts, they can still tell the difference between fresh and burned milk. By the same token, if you're someone who enjoys particular beans or specialty coffee, burning the milk you put in your latte will make the coffee itself less flavorful, ultimately ruining your specialty grind.

The only real way to enjoy a hot latte or cappuccino at its best is to accept the temperature the barista gives you without specifying that they should turn up the heat. If this leaves you aggravated about your drink's temperature, keep one thing in mind: The foam on top of your drink will always be cooler than the beverage itself, so don't judge your latte's temperature by the first sip. It'll be quite a bit warmer if you keep drinking past the foamy top layer.