Not everyone is able to consume dairy. Whether it’s having an allergy, being lactose intolerant, a vegetarian, a vegan, or any other reason, doesn’t mean that someone enjoys the taste and creamy texture that milk (or milk alternatives) adds to coffee any less. Over the years there have been many milk substitutes that have become available in coffee shops, but some are much better than others in terms of flavor and versatility, especially some of the newest to arrive on the scene. Here are our favorite non-dairy milk alternatives to try next in your latte or cappuccino at your local coffee shop or at home.
Oat milk has become one of the best options for coffee because of its similarity in flavor and texture to dairy. It’s typcially creamier than other nut-based milks. Oats tend to absorb water better than nuts, which allows more of the food to mix with the water creating a thicker texture.
It’s also a healthy option as a good source of protein. Because of this creamy texture and protein content, the milk stretches nicely when steamed to become very frothy.
If you are sensitive to gluten, however, you will have to find oat milk made with gluten-free oats or trying making it at home.
One of the newer and healthier plant-based milk options for coffee is hemp milk. While not available everywhere, it is gaining rapidly in popularity amongst baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike, and for good reason.
With a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, hemp milk is easily digestible and packed with protein, which also allows it to steam better than some of the other alternatives giving it a nice foam for lattes and cappuccinos.
Contrary to popular belief, hemp milk is not made from marijuana. It comes from hemp seeds, which only contain trace amounts of THC that cannot produce any psychoactive properties.
Almond milk has gained in popularity, especially over soy milk in the past few years. Due to its slightly higher fat content over other plant-based milks as well as protein, it’s easier for your barista to work with and create a frothy texture.
Almond milk is also naturally rich in various vitamins and minerals, and is vegan, making it another healthy milk alternative amongst the plant-based milks available. The flavor is quite nutty, but one warning is that it can also sometimes be bitter depending on the brand.
While almond milk has received a bad reputation recently for not being a sustainable product, especially from the larger manufacturers using millions of gallons of water, there are small companies to support out there that are producing very tasty organic almond milk and not using truckloads of water to do so.
Want to give any of these milk alternatives a try? Come visit us in our cafe and we’ll be happy to have you sample these and try them in one of our organic specialty coffee drinks.
A Level-Two Certified Barista, native Northwesterner turned So-Cal girl, Savannah is also addicted to yoga, hiking, meditation and long drives up Coast Highway 101. She doesn’t remember ever not loving coffee. Even as a child, when most other kids typically hate the taste, it was something she craved, which looking back, was unquestionably an early prediction of a career devoted to specialty coffee.