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Coffee with cream...taste better when the cream goes in first!

My non-scientific study proves to me and my demented circle of friends & family that coffee taste better with cream in first, then pour the coffee..seems creamier and richer.
Are we just all insane, or do you find the coffee more creamy too?
; )

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  1. I can't necessarily taste a difference, but I do usually put cream/milk in first, especially on weekdays. I do it while the coffee is brewing so that when it's ready I can just pour it into the cup and head out the door, rather than digging for the cream, pouring, and putting it back. Shaves a good 32 seconds off my morning routine. Also depending on the cup, the pouring of the coffee into the cream will often distribute the two pretty evenly together, and then I can just give the cup a little swirl and not mess with a spoon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ErnieD

      Deffo cream first. Red Smarties taste better than the other colours too. Just sayin'.

    2. I don't drink coffee myself, but my father - who was not normally a picky man about much of anything - taught me to make him a cup of coffee by first putting in sugar, then the cream, and the coffee went in last. In that order, always, and he could tell if I changed that.

      Coffee was perhaps the only thing he was selective about in this way. For years we all thought he loved coconut (the rest of us all hate coconut) because he would always eat the coconut candies in a box of candy. In fact, we would save them for him, because we thought he liked them.

      Turns out he hated coconut and was only eating them because no one else would and his depression-era sensibilities would not allow him to throw food - ANY food - away.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ZenSojourner

        That's a sweet story about your Dad. (no pun intended!)

        1. re: ZenSojourner

          Oh my gosh I love love love that story!

        2. I'm another milk/cream before the coffee - it tastes different to me too.

          1. i put in my sweetener and cream first, not because i think it tastes better, but because then i don't usually need to stir. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: jujuthomas

              Oh he still needed to stir - as Paul Harvey would say, "And now for the REST of the story!"

              The rule was to fill the cup 1/3rd full of sugar.

              Then another 1/3rd (to 2/3rds full) of cream.

              And finally the coffee, which was percolated and strong enough to get out of the pot by itself. If any of you have ever used a percolator, you may remember the sludge that sometimes builds up in the bottom? Well he would take that and put it in a glass at the end of the day, and then pour it back in the pot the next morning.

              Sort of like coffee starter I guess. It must have supercharged the coffee. Pretty sure he needed all that cream and sugar.

            2. The key is the spoon used to stir the mixture.

              1 Reply
              1. re: beevod

                I had a friend who was an ex-diner waiter and he was very insistent on this: pouring the coffee into the cup AFTER the cream and sugar - thus saving the patron from dirtying a spoon.

              2. See, this is why I've always drunk my coffee black - all that adding and measuring and stirring stuff in is too complicated for me in the mornings!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Krislady

                  re: Krislady
                  It is just the simplest way. That and since I am intrinsically lazy, it just works best.

                  1. re: feelinpeckish

                    I drink my coffee black as well, and I'm glad I don't have all these issues with it. It's much easier, and pretty much calorie free.

                2. I do that too, but I heat the milk first, then add coffee. I think it gets distributed better that way, but it might just be my imagination.

                  1. cream first *is* better -- esp. when you pour the coffee in from a height and the cream gets a little frothy.

                    1. My SO keeps trying to do that for me: milk first, then coffee. But he always seems to get too much milk in it that way. I always say "just enough milk to lighten it", but how do you know if you put it in first? I know, he's being sweet by getting me my coffee, so I don't argue too much.

                      1. I'm going to be the one voice of dissent so far.

                        If you put cream in first, pour the coffee in slowly. Otherwise you risk curdling the milk or cream. So, that is the main reason I put coffee first, milk next. Osmosis takes care of mixing it, so I save cleaning a spoon.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: rworange

                          Has this ever happened to you?

                          Just wondering. It never happened in our house, and for many years we were using actual fresh delivered by the milkman in those little glass jars cream for my dad's coffee.

                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                            Yeah, a number of times ... coffee or tea.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Weird! I wonder why? Was it old timey cream, or modern pasteurized stabilized cream?

                              Or maybe putting that amount of sugar in first (1/3rd of the cup, about the same by volume as the amount of cream used) did something to stabilize the cream.

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                Honestly, I rarely use cream. So it is usually milk that curdles. Maybe cream doesn;t.

                          2. re: rworange

                            been doing milk before coffee for 35 + years and have never seen the milk or cream curdle unless it was bad to start with.

                            1. re: smartie

                              well that would explain it - milk is never around long enough around here (or when I was a kid) to go even slightly bad!

                          3. I do the same with milk and tea.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: twodales

                              I do with tea, I really think it tastes better. I drink my coffee black.

                            2. I have never noticed a difference. But now I feel compelled to start informal studies in my kitchen and office!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Vetter

                                My kind of person. Now I want to do that as well the next time I have a decent cup of coffee Report back your findings.

                                1. re: Vetter

                                  Well, I couldn't stand it. Even with lousy coffee (Nescafe) and boxed milk I had to see. Hey, I'm in the sticks in Guatemala and the good stuff goes to the tourists or is exported. This was the best I could do given the circumstances

                                  I made two cups of coffee this morning. Measured out the same amount of coffee and cold milk. Put milk first in one. Added milk to the other cup of java.

                                  My own preference was the way I always do it, coffee in the cup first and then add milk.

                                  There are two reasons for this

                                  1. Adding coffee to milk cooled that cup consideriably. The first coffee to hit that milk cooled. The other way, the first milk to hit the coffee warms.

                                  2. This has nothing to do with the test, but I need to see the color to know how much milk to add. If I put milk in first, it might be too much or too little. The latter can be fixed by adding more milk , but not the former (unless at home).

                                2. Many Brits put milk into the cup before the tea goes in. People argue frequently which is the correct method - milk or tea first.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: smartie

                                    My British Mum-in-Law insisted: milk first. That's the way I prefer it too.

                                  2. Question for all: is the milk or cream in question cold or hot?

                                    I never take coffee or tea black, I always add hot milk, and I have never thought about the question of which goes in first.

                                    But I make sure that the milk is always hot (otherwise the temperature of the drink just plummets) unless it's iced coffee.

                                    Would the temperature of the milk/cream make a difference to which goes in first?

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: Rasam

                                      Not for my dad. The cream was straight out of the fridge and the coffee, straight out of the percolator where it was held hot.

                                        1. re: Rasam

                                          For me the milk is cold. Heated milk for a regular coffee (not an espresso drink) is not common in the US. Even a chains like Starbucks or Peets kee the milk on the counter cold in thermos pitchers. They will give you hot milk on request ,.. usually It is lovely to heat it though.

                                          1. re: rworange

                                            Yes, I know that milk / cream are usually served cold, even for hot coffee in the US and one has to ask for the hot version, and no luck getting hot in the office! :)

                                            I don't know why this "cold milk" tradition developed in the US, when the desired end result is a hot beverage - any ideas?

                                            1. re: Rasam

                                              Heavens, you have to check everything first.

                                              OK, this article in the New Review, a reliable source IMO, confirms that the switch from tea to coffee did indeed happen during the Revolutionary War.

                                              So here's my theory, since I'm not turning anything up Googling.

                                              Since it was a replacement for tea, and tea is served with sugar and room temperature or cold milk in England, then it would seem that the colonists would drink their substitute just like they drank their tea.

                                              1. re: rworange

                                                Thanks for the info.
                                                Tea is served with room temp / cold milk in England? Is that back in the colonists' day, or still the case? That also makes little sense (to me), because adding cold milk to hot tea just makes the temperature drop, from a good hot drink to lukewarm awful ......

                                                Sorry, I don't mean for you to do all kinds of research for me, I just thought you might know .....

                                                How is coffee / tea drunk in Guatemala? Black, or with milk? If the latter, is it usually hot or cold?

                                                1. re: Rasam

                                                  in the UK you would NEVER put hot milk in tea! It's just not etiquette.

                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                    You preheat your tea pot and your cups with hot water. You'd be surprised what a difference it makes in keeping the tea that much hotter despite having cool or cold milk.

                                                    1. re: twodales

                                                      If you are brewing your tea in a cup instead of a pot, you would not add milk first because it doesn't make a nice cup of tea and it does cool the water off too much.

                                                      1. re: twodales

                                                        But you don't brew a proper cup of tea anywhere other than in a pot.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          True, but even I have been known to make a quick cuppa for myself in a mug.

                                                    2. re: Rasam

                                                      I always thought one of the reasons for adding cold milk to a hot beverage was to cool it a bit so it wasn't too hot to drink.

                                                      I'm not an England expert but the few times I've been there the cream was cool ... as is the case if ordering tea in the US in English tea rooms.

                                                      Well, first of all, if in this part of Guatemala, if I leave a glass of cold water on the counter, it will be hot within the hour ... tropical temperatures and all. Even the counter is hot to the touch

                                                      As far as drinking coffee it is highly sugared ... highly. Most often cold milk is added, because .... well, you got to keep it cold.

                                                      I did go to one nicer restaurant that served breakfast with complementary coffee in a large insulated carafe, a la IHOP, When we asked for milk, they brought out a tea pot with warm milk. Nice touch. The coffee was actually good too.

                                                      I find in Mexico and Guatemala the mid-to upscale places will serve warm milk.

                                                      I wasn't focusing on it at the time, but IIRC correctly the chain coffee houses a la Starbucks serve Cafe Americano with steamed milk. Unlike the US chains, Guatemalans like their coffee mild.

                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                        One of the hardest things I had to deal with when I was in India was the fact that whenever I tried to order milk, they would invariably warm it up before they would bring it to me. They kept it refrigerated but they would warm it up before serving. I could NOT adjust to warm milk. We had to stress to servers emphatically that I wanted my milk cold, and they had as much trouble believing that as I had understanding that some people actually do prefer to drink warm milk.

                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                          That reminds me of travelling in Mexico and Central America when I was a kid. The parentals were always thrilled because all milk products came hot for their coffee. Us kids were grimmed out by the hot milk we got served (skin on top, urgh). Of course, back then it was because few had access to pasteurized milk and were boiling it to sterilize.

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            Pretty much the same there, at least back then. I don't think my ex's family even had a refrigerator, and they were considered "middle class". Milk - again, in India this is water buffalo milk, not cow's milk - was delivered irradiated in plastic bags. Since there was not usually refrigeration available, people drank the milk warmed. They simply did not have a refrigerator to cool it.

                                                            I remember seeing ads for the phone company - something else most people in India didn't have back then - that said "Apply for a phone today! You may not need it now - but you will in 5 years"

                                                            Because it took about that long to get the phone after you applied for it!

                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                              OK Zen S: that's a visitor's-eye time capsule of what India was like 20 something years ago. You realize things are very different now, right?

                                                              In India, like in the rest of Asia and also East Africa, very icy drinks aren't popular - e.g. ice in the water, chilled milk, etc. Even now, Cokes will be served from the fridge, but not with ice unless you ask for it, and you can ask for room temp drinks. This ice-in-everything is seen as a US custom.

                                                              Thanks to all who replied re cold milk served with tea in UK.

                                                              On a parallel note, it would be nice in the US to get warmed milk as an option when ordering hot tea or coffee in a resto/coffeeshop. I hate how the temp of the coffee or tea becomes lukewarm once the chilled cream or whatever is added to it ..... sigh .... that's a fantasy I guess, along with wishing that Star$ and others would stop saying "chai tea" for masala chai, and would consider serving samosas and savory snacks.

                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                That's what "at least back then" was meant to show. ;D

                                              2. i use half-n-half. first. then pour from a distance. no curdling ever. curdling is only if the stuff is squirrelly.

                                                1. Coffee first, then cream. I add a little cream, stir, look at the color, and, if necessary ,add more cream. It's harder to get the right amount of cream when it goes in first.

                                                  1. I always do cream/sugar first then coffee.

                                                    Here's why:

                                                    I like my coffee light and sweet so I need to see my *exact* proportions of cream and sugar before the coffee goes in. If I did the coffee first then added all the other items I'll over flow the cup. Or it takes 3-4 tries to get the right taste.

                                                    1. I do think it tastes better with the cream added first. That said, I add my cream last since I need to see the color change to determine the proper amount.

                                                      Now I'm contemplating mixing a cup with it sitting on my scale in order to determine the amount of cream...so that i can eventually start with the cream first!

                                                      1. I'm beginning to think this might be ready for an episode of Mythbusters....."BUSTED"

                                                        1. my guess is you use more cream when you put it in first, and thus it tastes more creamy.

                                                          i have an espresso maker, and i like hot coffee/espresso - so i nuke some half and half/w sugar, and then make the espresso into the cup.

                                                          but thats because i dont wang to nuke freshly made coffee, after cooling it with cold dairy. so i heat the dairy first.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: thew

                                                            this is exactly what I was about to say - if you just pour cream/milk into an empty cup you will probably use more than if you pour coffee first. I bet if someone did a test where they used exaclty the same proportions but one time did coffee then cream, one time cream then coffee, they wouldn't notice any difference.

                                                            1. re: Dan G

                                                              I doubt I could tell.

                                                              But my dad could tell.

                                                          2. I always put in the cream and sugar first, not only because you don't have to stir it, but because my Grandmother always said if you put it in last you will "cross your love". Not that I believe in old wives' tales, but who wants to take a chance?

                                                            1. I put milk into my tea, because I add it to the color I want. This is despite my grandmother teaching me to put the milk in first. Her reason "Warm the milk, don't cool the tea".

                                                              1. interesting. Equal amounts of cream added before or after should not make a difference.
                                                                My wife takes her coffee with one of those international coffee creamers and I always add the creamer first because no stirring is necessary when it's used first.