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As coffee culture is growing, the demand for fresh barista-style coffee has never been higher. With milky coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos being amongst the most popular coffee drinks, the quality of milk used to make coffee is becoming as important a consideration as the quality of the coffee beans themselves. It is no surprise that many believe fresh ingredients, be it milk or ground coffee, are the only ingredients capable of producing indulgent, high-quality speciality coffees. However, thanks to advanced commercial coffee machines and powdered milk technologies, this is not necessarily the case. Powdered milk has improved well beyond the tradition creamers and can be used to produce coffee that is rich, smooth, and, above all else, delicious.

Below is a brief breakdown of the differences between using fresh milk and powdered milk in a bean to cup coffee machine.

Fresh Milk Powdered Milk
Pros Superior taste Less cleaning and maintenance
Cheaper per cup Cheaper bean to cup coffee machine models
Easy storing
Less frequent ordering
Cons More cleaning and maintenance requirements Lower quality taste
Needs adequate refrigerated storage More expensive per cup
More frequent ordering
More expensive bean to cup coffee machine models

What are the taste differences between fresh milk & powdered milk?

Some coffee aficionados would argue that only fresh milk can provide a truly perfect coffee experience, and that the milk should be perfectly steamed with micro-foam. Nonetheless, powdered milk can also produce an excellent quality coffee. Made from freeze-dried real milk granules, powdered milk (sometimes known as granulated milk, dry milk powder, or soluble milk) is not like milk alternatives, such as whitener or creamer, that fail to produce the creaminess and flavour expected. In fact, powdered milk is, in many cases, indistinguishable from fresh milk.

When added to water, powdered milk reverts back to its former self and produces milk that is almost identical in taste, texture, and quality to fresh milk. Nonetheless, it can’t be denied that a true barista-style coffee uses the best and freshest ingredients from top quality coffee beans, perfectly filtered water and of course, fresh milk. Despite almost equal taste, powdered and fresh milk do come with their own pros and cons (which are listed above) that need to be considered when choosing a bean to cup coffee machine that uses the right kind of milk for your business.

What are the cleaning & maintenance requirements for fresh & powdered milk coffee machines?

The cost of coffee beans and milk are not the only ongoing things to think about, as commercial coffee machines also require regular cleaning and maintenance. It has to be said, however, that some machine types require more upkeep than others…

Fresh milk coffee machines

  • Strict daily cleaning routines
  • Cleaning requires up to 20-30 minutes per day
  • Milk cleaning systems
  • More hygiene & bacteria risks
  • More possible service costs

Powdered milk coffee machines

  • Weekly cleaning routines
  • Cleaning requires 5-10 minutes per day
  • Fewer bacteria risks
  • Lower service costs
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Commercial coffee machines that use fresh milk require a far more vigorous cleaning and maintenance routine than their powdered milk counterparts to ensure that hygiene and bacteria risks are kept to a minimum. A bean to cup coffee machine that use fresh milk, such as the Jura JX8 and WMF 1500s, requires daily cleaning of all their milk components, although most modern fresh milk coffee machine models try to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Programmable automatic cleaning cycles have become a popular and effective way of helping to reduce the need for manual cleaning, while modular designs that allow individual components to be removed so that they are easier to clean are also becoming more common.

Unfortunately, even with these thoughtful features, cleaning a fresh milk bean to cup coffee machine can still take up to 30 minutes of precious time each day. In a café or restaurant environment, this may be easily incorporated into the daily cleaning routines of all food and beverage equipment. However, this may be more hassle than its worth in an office environment, as someone will need to put aside the time to make sure that the office coffee machine is properly maintained. This can be a struggle in busy workplaces where there already does not seem to be enough hours in the day for getting everything done, and it often comes down to somebody giving up their personal time after work so that the coffee machine gets cleaned.


What’s more, some commercial coffee machine models require training to ensure that their fresh milk systems are cleaned correctly. This may be an issue for growing businesses or work environments with high staff turnover, as each new member of staff may have to be trained to maintain the coffee machine correctly.

Commercial coffee machines that use granulated milk, on the other hand, requires far less effort when it comes to maintaining high standards of hygiene. For instance, they do not require a strenuous daily cleaning routine, making powdered milk coffee machines a far more manageable solution for busy offices and workplace environments where time is of the essence. Service callouts should also be less with a powdered milk coffee machine, as they have fewer components that can break or malfunction as a result of milk deposit build up.

What Are The Practical Considerations For Powdered And Fresh Milk?

Practical Considerations Fresh Milk Powdered Milk
Storage Requires extensive refrigerated storage Easy to store in the cupboard
Shelf Life Up to a week Up to 18 months
Ordering Frequently Can be ordered in bulk
Waste Tends to be thrown out at the end of the week due to worries it will go off over the weekend None – long shelf-life means there is rarely any waste

Storage is another big factor to consider. Depending on the storage facilities you have available to you and the amount of coffee you will require a day, storage may be the deciding factor when it comes down to fresh milk or powdered milk. For large cafés and restaurants with plenty of refrigerated storage, storing large quantities of milk shouldn’t be an issue. However, smaller premises and offices may not have the storage space required to refrigerate cartons and cartons of fresh milk. Producing 100 lattes or cappuccinos requires up to 25 litres of milk, about 12 x 2 litre/ 4 pint cartons of milk, depending on cup size. Whereas each 500g bag of powdered milk yields up to 40 drinks and usually comes in packs of 10 bags that can be easily stored for up to 18 months in the cupboard. As powdered milk does not require fridge storage, it is a practical solution for busy offices that go through a lot of coffee per day.

Another consideration to factor in is wastage. Fresh milk often produces a lot of waste – especially in offices – as leftover open cartons tend to be thrown away if they have been open for a while. Friday afternoons and Monday mornings are particularly notorious for wastage, as many people worry that the milk will have gone off over the weekend. Powdered milk, on the other hand, does not produce much waste due to its long shelf life, meaning that it gets used before it goes out of date. Having such a long shelf life means that milk powder can also help to save time, as months worth of milk can be bought in a single instance. The same cannot be said in regard to fresh milk, unfortunately, as new orders need to be placed every few days. Soluble milk powder can be ordered in large packs of 10x500g bags, which is enough to make around 400 drinks and means there is more time for getting important tasks done.

What Are The Price Differences Between Powdered And Fresh Milk?

Since we’re talking about the use of powdered and fresh milk in relation to commercial coffee machines and professional setting, cost is undoubtedly an important factor. If a business chooses to provide free or discounted coffee to its employees and customers, then keeping costs low and waste to a minimum is essential. Bean to cup coffee machines that use granulated milk can be considerably cheaper to buy or lease than those that use fresh milk. However, while the upfront saving may well be worth taking note of, the price of powdered milk is far higher than fresh milk. In fact, it can be up to double the price per cup. Coffee cost per cup The per cup cost using powdered milk is between 12.5p and 14p whereas fresh milk is around 7p per cup. This means the ongoing cost of running commercial coffee machines that use dry milk powder may overrun the initial saving, so it is worth stopping to weigh up the convenience benefits against the ongoing costs when deciding which option to go for. Powdered milk coffee machines are cheaper to buy and lease than fresh milk coffee machines, and are cheaper to maintain and clean as they don’t have milk components that require daily cleaning. While bean to cup coffee machines that use fresh milk tend to be more expensive at first, they are cheaper in terms of on-going costs due to the price of fresh milk being less. However, if there are not adequate storage facilities for keeping fresh milk readily available, then the costs of buying and running a refrigerator also need to be taken into account.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Powdered Milk?

Powdered milk also provides health incentives. With less than 1g of fat and no artificial substances or additives, it is a great choice for those who are health conscious. Other milk alternatives often contain unhealthy chemicals and preservatives, making real freeze-dried milk a much better alternative. However, it is worth noting that most of the calorie content of granulated milk comes from the sugars. Using milk powder also removes the discussion over which type of milk people would like, there is also those who prefer red cap skimmed milk over blue cap full-fat milk and those that would rather have full fat or semi-skimmed milk and would never dream of putting skimmed milk in their coffee. Using powdered milk can avoid this office argument.

So, Which Is Better: Powdered Milk Or Fresh Milk?

To summarise, powdered milk coffee machines are easy to clean and maintain with a lower upfront cost, whilst the powdered milk itself is simple to store and a healthier option but higher ongoing price. On the other hand, fresh milk provides cheaper ongoing costs and a more superior taste quality but the coffee machines themselves require a more rigorous cleaning routine and have higher upfront cost.

Bibium’s Bean To Cup Coffee Machine Recommendations

Offering the widest range of domestic and commercial coffee machines in the world, Bibium is an independent family-run business that has set itself the goal of democratising the coffee and coffee machine industry. With thousands of verified user reviews across our website, we provide clients with impartial advice to ensure they end up with a coffee machine that best suits their needs. Below you will find our bean to cup coffee machine recommendations based on milk type and professional environment.

Environment Powdered Milk Coffee Machines Fresh Milk Coffee Machines
Large Offices Coffetek Vitro, Schaerer Prime Franke A800, WMF1500s, Jura Giga Z8
Medium Offices Bravilor Esprescious, Coffetek Vitro, WMF 1500s Jura JX8, WMF 1100s, WMF 1500s
Small Offices WMF 1100s, Bravilor Sego, Coffetek Vitale Jura WE8
Small Cafés & Bars WMF 1100s, Bravilor Sego WMF 1100s, Jura Giga X3
Cafés, Restaurants & Hotels WMF 1100s, Coffetek Vitro, Bravilor Esprecious WMF 1500, Jura Giga X3 Professional

Some commercial coffee machines, such as the WMF 1100s, the Bravilor Esprecious and the Schaerer Prime, are capable of using either fresh or powdered milk, depending on how they are configured.

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