Ollie is a Professional SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) qualified Barista and Authorised SCA Trainer at North Star Coffee Roasters in Leeds. North Star was established in 2013 as a wholesale coffee Roastery but has since added a Coffee Academy and Coffee Shop space to its growing business. Here, Ollie gives his insights on the importance of milk to the team at North Star.
What makes a great milk supplier?
OS: It’s all about service, quality and consistency. They go hand in hand. If a supplier can guarantee that then it is going to pay dividends, especially at scale. If you’ve got a large farmer-owned dairy business, you’re going to be able to replicate the same quality at scale. That means a quality, more homogenated product which eliminates variables and delivers a consistent product to the consumer.
How can milk give you the edge over the competition?
OS: The coffee industry has seen significant growth over the last few years and we feel milk has played a real part in that in turning coffee into something that can be universally appreciated for what you can do with it regarding latte art and the visual element of it, Quality milk gives coffees an edge by having a shinier, longer lasting foam that is more likely to hold a pattern. Given the variation in dairy milk that’s available, if you can find that one supplier that gives you a really high quality foam with gloss and shine that lasts longer, then that’s important.
How are customer tastes changing?
The challenge is in sourcing products that have a similar taste profile to milk. Then the taste of the coffee itself is less affected. Mastering them can be a lot more difficult than with dairy milks. It takes real skill and understanding.
What’s the single most important thing when it comes to using milk in North Star?
The balance of fat and protein in the milk dictates the quality of the foam, but even a great milk can perform terribly when allowed to stand or degenerate. As the milk tails off proteins de-nature and fats change so the structure of it changes. Guarantees of freshness are so important along with care of the dairy farmers to fit in line with our own ethical procurement policies at North Star.