The Milk of the Matter


San Francisco is a good incubator. Ideas take root here, trends grab hold, and before you know it, citizens of our fair city are fairly obsessed. First it was the farmers market, then artisanal foods (charcuterie chief among them) and then coffee—which has reached such a fevered pitch it’s almost ridiculous. In our own pages we’ve written about baristas and roasters, about hi-tech siphons and fair-trade shade grown beans. I would have thought, really, that we have covered this particular topic from every possible angle.

The milk of the matter
Photograph courtesy of

I would have been wrong. Last Friday morning I was having a very difficult time rousing myself from sleepiness, a week of late nights finally having caught up with me. So I walked my dog over to Coffee Bar, for my once-a-week treat—their delicious, perfectly made cappuccino. By now you should know we here at 7x7 love Coffee Bar (they were included in our June Best Of issue—read what we said here).

As I groggily awaited my “caffeination vacation,” I noticed the barista was using some milk from Straus Creamery called, appropriately enough, barista milk. It’s not available in stores, and as far as I know no other dairy makes such a product—organic milk that has been gently homogenized so that it “maintains tight, uniform bubbles all while adding a smooth, creamy texture.” Their words, not mine. But my cappuccino pro went on to say that regular Straus milk has a grassy note that, while not unpleasant in most preparations, is not very pleasant when steamed for espresso drinks. The new barista milk, he claims, still has rich flavor, but none of those unpleasant flavors.

Gimmick, or new breakthrough? Further research is required, meaning I’ll have to up my weekly cappuccino consumption to at least two. I expect to be joined at Coffee Bar by the geekiest java geeks out there. Consider it your duty.

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