Coffee is the daily drink of choice for millions of people around the world and it is estimated that more than 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide, each year! Coffee is brewed and served in many different ways around the world, with coffee trends changing and evolving constantly.
Coffee has been brewed and served with whole milk from a cow for the longest time and is thoroughly enjoyed by many. However, with allergies on the rise and an increase in health awareness, there is a higher demand for non-dairy milks and healthier milk alternatives. Café owners, baristas and home brewers are on the hunt for the best milk alternative…. but does this really exist? Let’s break down the options.
Soy Milk is one of the longest running non-dairy milk options for coffee. It is easily accessible and affordable and comes in many different varieties. It doesn’t overpower the coffee as it has a neutral taste and it’s known to be smooth and creamy when steamed properly. It also produces a foam similar to cow’s milk. However, Soy Milk can be problematic for people with allergies and there are concerns within the health community because it is predominantly a genetically modified crop. Suppliers are beginning to recognise a decline in the amount of consumers choosing soy milk over other non-dairy milk options. So, what are the other options?
Oat Milk is fast becoming one of the most popular non-dairy milk alternatives. It is predominantly made from oats and water, contains very little fat and is naturally high in fibre and vitamins C and D. It is a great alternative if you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy and it is also an excellent choice if you cannot consume nuts. Oat Milk steams like cow’s milk and can still produce a fantastic foam, perfect for latte art. It’s creamy taste and smooth texture makes it a front runner for a non-dairy milk option, the only downside being a slightly higher price point.
Almond Milk has risen to popularity over the past few years. It is readily found in cafes and supermarkets and comes in both sweetened and unsweetened versions. It is loved by many and hated by some! It is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk, but also lower in protein. It can create a nice cup of coffee but has been known to curdle or separate due to the high temperature and acidity of coffee. Almond milk can often overpower the beautiful flavours of the coffee and leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Coconut Milk has a sweet, distinct flavour that many people love in food and beverages. It is rich in calories and has a higher fat content than most other milks. However, it has a strong taste that generally overpowers the beautiful flavours of the coffee. Coconut milk gives off tropical vibes and we believe it is best used in a Pina Colada or a Thai Curry, not your daily cup of coffee!
Rice Milk is a great option for people with allergies as it contains no dairy, nuts or soy. It has a neutral taste that can often be quite sweet, but it’s thin and watery texture does not produce a creamy well rounded coffee. It’s not the most nutritionally rich milk alternative, but it is reasonably priced and a good contender for those with allergies.
Cashew Milk has a creamy taste that mimics dairy milk and is slightly sweet and not as nutty in flavour as almond milk. Cashew Milk is used a lot in non-dairy chocolate for it’s creamy texture, and we believe it is best used there and not in your coffee!
So, what’s the verdict?
From soy milk, to nut milks and the array of options in between, testing and choosing a non-dairy milk alternative can be an overwhelming and expensive task. Each option has its own pros and cons, flavour profile, texture and production process and there is simply not one substitute that is best for everyone! We all have difference preferences when it comes to our coffee and we encourage you to test and try the different non-dairy milk options and find what works best for you. Maybe you will find a new love for oat milk, revert back to dairy milk or if all else fails, you can drink your coffee black! Whatever you choose, we hope you find great joy and satisfaction in your daily cup of coffee.