Simonelli Group’s research provides suggestions to guarantee, to those who have an intolerance or are allergic to milk, a healthy way to sip a great cup of cappuccino in complete safety.

More and more coffee shops are offering a more extensive range of milk types and alternative drinks, (soy, almond, oat, etc.) for those cappuccino lovers that are allergic or have an intolerance, or even for those vegetarian and vegan cappuccino fans. But how to avoid contamination while using different types of milk in a coffee shop?

The International Hub for Coffee Research and Innovation – research hub born from the collaboration between Simonelli Group and the University of Camerino made a study project about the contamination that may occur during the utilization of different milk variants in the composition of a cappuccino.

Experimentation phase: the analysis of protein residue of cow milk in a cappuccino made with soymilk and frothed with the same steam wand.

The experiment used cow milk and a soy-based drink in the preparation of cappuccinos. The particularity of this analysis was to seek out the presence of protein residue of the cow milk inside the soy-based cappuccino, prepared with the same steam wand, and afterward analyzing also the cow milk cappuccinos.

Using an espresso coffee machine, the researchers made a series of tests attempting to replicate the most as possible, all the coffee shop’s customary conditions.

The procedure used is called Western Blot and is a biochemical method able to identify a protein in a determined specimen. In this procedure, the protein under analyzation is specifically the lactoglobulin, a whey milk protein only present in cow milk.

After various experiments using a clean cloth or paper towel and a separate pitcher, the observation was that the contamination originates with the way the steam wand is cleaned and purged by the barista.

The result of the research: an accurate cleaning procedure is the solution to avoid even the smallest contamination.

The study brought to light that contamination may very quickly occur. It is necessary to keep the machine accurately clean when preparing a cappuccino with another milk type. The approved sterilization method best at eliminating any contamination consists of cleansing the steam wand with boiling water and drying it every time with a clean paper towel. The use of different and dedicated pitchers is also a must to keep everything thoroughly uncontaminated.

To summarize the research, the simple wiping with a clean moist cloth on the steam wand doesn’t wholly avoid contamination. Still, it inevitably reduces the risk that a client with an intolerance gets unwell. Differently with an allergic client, the suggestion is to dedicate specific steam wands for every type of milk used. Or, use separate pitchers for each milk type and deeply clean the wands each time they are used, with boiling water and wipe it clean with a new paper towel.