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I have had several fully automatic bean to cup machines (i.e. which include milk frothing), from expensive Jura machines to Delonghi and many others. One issue I find with most machines (I sent several Jura's back for this reason) is that the cappuccino they make comes out lukewarm. I pre-heat my cups with boiling water and yet it still feels a lot cooler than coffee made by a manual machine in a coffee shop. Can anyone suggest a bean to cup machine that makes a reasonable hot cappuccino?

Many thanks.

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  • Do you know at what temperature it comes out specifically? I think milk should normally be heated to about 55-65°C. That's a lot cooler than boiling water, but it's more than warm. – JJJ Dec 18 '20 at 17:26
  • Sorry, I don't. What I'm finding is that machines that automate the milk frothing seem to produce cooler milk than when you stream it yourself and this contributes to the overall coffee temperature being lower? – ladidalimey Dec 18 '20 at 17:30
  • Yea, do all the machines you tested use the same mechanism to heat the milk? I know my old automatic would take milk from one cup, combine it with steam and then drop it in the final cup. Do the machines you mention use that mechanism too? – JJJ Dec 18 '20 at 17:33
  • Yes, I think so. – ladidalimey Dec 18 '20 at 17:40
  • Have you measured the temperature of either the milk or the coffee coming out of the machine? – technical_difficulty Jan 7 at 16:14
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Many of these fully automatic machines heat the milk by combining steam and milk. In my experience, those machines do not take into account the temperature of the milk, they simply mix steam and milk at a fixed ratio. Assuming the steam has a fairly constant temperature, the temperature of the heated milk will mostly depend on the temperature of the cold milk. Simply stated, cooler milk will produce cooler heated milk.

If you use milk straight from the fridge, it might be wise to heat it a bit yourself before passing it through the machine. Microwaving the milk you need to slightly below room temperature and then feeding it through the machine's frothing process should increase the temperature of the heated milk. By extension, the temperature of the final drink will be higher as well.

Be careful not to pre-heat the milk too much, then the machine could heat it so that you get unwanted chemical reactions (e.g. lactose reacting with proteins) or that the final product comes out steaming.

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  • That sounds... complicated? – Stephie Dec 20 '20 at 20:16
  • @Stephie there's a clear analogy with ice cubes. You have only one ice cube to cool down your drink. If you add it to a room temperature drink, it won't get very cold and dilute your drink. If you add it to a drink a drink from the refrigerator, it will cool the drink a little further and keep it there. In this question, you want to heat the milk with a fixed amount of steam, the hotter the milk is at the start, the hotter the end product. Without knowing the temperature, the machine won't know how much steam to add to get the right temperature, and adding too much will dilute the milk. – JJJ Dec 20 '20 at 20:36
  • Nah, I get the idea (+1), just that making coffee that way seems a bit cumbersome. – Stephie Dec 20 '20 at 20:38
  • It is. And to add to the annoyance, warm milk doesn't froth nearly as well as cold milk. So your choice for a cappuccino is between a lukewarm drink that actually tastes like a cappuccino or a hot drink that tastes like coffee with milk. – R Mac Dec 21 '20 at 20:13
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    Also, it's worth noting that coffee shop coffee isn't supposed to be hot. It should clock in around 160° F / 71° C by the time you get it because frothed milk shouldn't exceed 170 F / 76.5 C. Coffee shops that use semi automatic machines tend to heat the coffee to close to boiling, which burns the milk. So those hot coffee shop drinks might be the wrong baseline for your expectations. – R Mac Dec 21 '20 at 20:20

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