Milk or coffee: what goes in the cup first?

Making coffee is an art. But pouring milk over a filter coffee is also discussed. Many people first put some milk in the cup and top up the rest with their beloved hot drink. Others swear by first pouring the hot coffee into the cup and then adding milk. What are the pros and cons?


If milk is poured into the cup first and then the coffee is added, the temperature of the drink will drop faster. Because the cold milk already cools the porcelain or ceramics slightly. If the hot coffee is now added, it cools down much more quickly due to the already cooler cup material.

If you put the hot coffee in the cup first, it will be slightly warmed up due to the high temperature. The temperature of the coffee and the cup material sinks more slowly due to the cooler milk that is then added.


Slightly caramel or rather brown? Many use the color of the coffee as a basis for dosing the milk. For the ideal amount of milk, it is therefore more practical to put the coffee in the cup first and then the milk.

That’s what experts say

According to the Deutscher Kaffeeverband e.V., it makes no difference whether the milk or the coffee is put into the cup first. However, the experts note that both liquids mix better when the coffee is added to the milk. This saves you from stirring.

Note differences

For some specialty coffees, the order matters. With a cappuccino, for example, the espresso is brewed into the cup and then the milk froth is added. With a latte macchiato, however, the milk and the milk froth are first poured into the cup and then the espresso is added.

Study reveals when to add milk to coffee

The Faculty of Physics at Bielefeld University has investigated the effects of adding milk to coffee immediately or waiting a few minutes. The result was clear: if the milk is added to the hot coffee immediately, the whole drink stays warm longer. If, on the other hand, the hot drink can cool down a little beforehand, i.e. if milk is only added to the coffee after five to ten minutes, the entire drink cools down much faster.

Note: The water replaced the milk in the physics faculty experiment.

And the Technical University in Freiburg came to the same conclusion. So don’t wait before adding the milk to the coffee if you want the drink to stay warm longer.

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