What is the best milk alternative for coffee? In this post we discuss many milk alternatives including coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk and more. Just because you can't have dairy doesn't mean you can't enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, a latte or cappuccino.
Coffee is one of the best ways to start the day. It tastes delicious, gives you a boost of energy, can lift your mood, increase your productivity and can be a comforting ritual. There are many ways to drink coffee, with some people preferring to drink their coffee black, while others, like me, preferring to add a little milk to give their coffee a rich and creamy flavour and texture.
There are many different types of milk you can add to coffee, and you may be avoiding cows milk or dairy milk due to allergies, lactose intolerance or because you are vegan or vegetarian. Whatever the reason, there are many different milk alternatives that you can add to your coffee to make it taste delicious.
This post will discuss the best milk alternative for coffee, how the different alternatives affect the taste and texture of your coffee, and the nutritional benefits you can get from the different milk alternatives.
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Table of Contents
The Best Milk Alternative for Coffee
Coconut milk is my personal favourite dairy milk alternative and is what I put in my coffee every morning. It has such a rich and creamy texture and flavour that goes so well with coffee. Coconut milk also has a bit of natural sweetness that works well for making lattes and cappuccinos and it's thick enough to be used for latte art. Many coffee shops now carry it, as do most grocery stores.
Coconut milk is a great option if you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. I recommend using full fat coconut milk for the richest flavour, the creamiest texture and the increased nutritional benefits (coconut milk is packed full of healthy fats).
The nutritional information for one cup of full fat coconut milk:
- Calories: 300
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 30 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Carbohydrates: 9 grams
- Potassium: 150 mg
- Sodium: 45 mg
- Iron: 0.9 mg
Other Milk Alternatives for Coffee
Almond milk is one of the most common cows milk alternatives for coffee. Pretty much every coffee shop carries it and so do most grocery stores and even some convenience stores. It has a more bland and neutral taste so won't alter the taste of your coffee too much compared to some other dairy free milks. You can also get flavoured almond milks such as vanilla almond milk if you prefer to add a little sweetness to your coffee.
The nutritional information for one cup of almond milk (Elmhurst brand - this is my favorite brand as it's only made with almonds and water - no preservatives, artificial ingredients or sweeteners):
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 11 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 5 mg
- Calcium: 10 mg
- Potassium: 175 mg
- Iron: 0.75 mg
Cashew milk is my second favorite milk alternative for coffee. Another of the most popular vegan milks, cashew milk is rich and creamy and has a natural sweetness that gives your coffee the most delicious flavour. I love making my own cashew milk in my Vitamix, but it's also getting easier and easier to find cashew milk in grocery stores.
Unfortunately, most coffee shops don't carry cashew milk yet, but it's a great option if you're making coffee at home. My favorite store bought brand of cashew milk is Elmhurst as it's made with only cashews and water, no nasty fillers or extras!
The nutritional information for one cup of cashew milk (Elmhurst brand):
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 10 grams
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fibre: 0 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Sodium: 10 mg
- Calcium: 15 mg
- Potassium: 145mg
- Iron: 1 mg
Oat milk has become very popular recently and it is now readily available in coffee shops, grocery stores and is also really easy to make yourself. It has a pretty bland flavour that won't alter the taste of your coffee too much, but will help give it a delicious creaminess. Oat milk is creamier than almond milk is and froths more easily so it can be great for latte art and making that extra frothy coffee.
Oat milk is a healthy option that is lower in calories, and fat compared to other dairy free milks such as almond milk or coconut milk. However, it is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein than both almond milk and coconut milk are.
The nutritional information for one cup of oat milk (Elmhurst brand):
- Calories: 80
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fibre: 2 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sodium: 125 mg
- Potassium: 100mg
- Calcium: 20 mg
- Iron: 1mg
One of the most popular plant based milks, soy milk has been popular with vegans and vegetarians for many years. Soy milk is so easy to find and you can get it in many different flavours which you can use to change the taste of your coffee. Many people feel that soy milk tastes similar to cows milk or dairy milk.
One problem with soy milk is that most brands tend to contain a lot of preservatives, artificial ingredients and sweeteners. It's very difficult to find a brand that is made with just soy beans and water. The only brand I've found so far is West Soy Unsweetened Soy Milk, so just be sure you are reading ingredient labels carefully.
Nutritional information for one cup of soy milk (West Soy Unsweetened Soy Milk):
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 5 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Fibre: 1 gram
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Sodium: 30mg
Macadamia milk is a less common dairy milk alternative, but if you ask me it's highly under-rated. I love the nutty flavour of macadamia milk and I love the taste it gives my coffee. Macadamia milk is harder to find than some other plant based milks, but it is really easy to make yourself. I just make it myself in my Vitamix blender.
Rice milk is a plant based milk that is both nut free and soy free, so for people with nut allergies or soy allergies it is a great option. Rice milk has a pretty sweet and mild flavour and is a thinner milk compared to some other plant based milks such as coconut milk. If you prefer thick and rich coffee drinks rice milk is not what you will want to use to make your coffee.
Because rice milk is so thin it won't produce foam so it's not great for making lattes or fancier coffee drinks.
Pea milk is made from the protein of yellow peas and has a relatively high protein content compared to other dairy-free alternatives. Pea milk is also high in potassium. Don't worry, pea milk doesn't actually taste like peas. It has a very neutral flavour and some people actually prefer pea milk to dairy milk in terms of its taste.
Because pea milk is high in protein it does foam well so is a great option for making latte art. Its foam has a silky texture that baristas love working with.
Nutpods makes a variety of dairy free creamers for coffee. They combine almonds and coconut cream to create their unique coffee creamers. Their creamers come in a variety of flavours including popular options like French vanilla, cinnamon swirl, toasted marshmallow and hazelnut. They offer dairy free creamers in both sweetened and unsweetened options and now make an oat creamer as well.
Nutpods original dairy free creamers are independently certified to be vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, Whole30® approved, and kosher.
You may not have heard of hemp milk before but it's milk made from hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are high in protein and healthy fat and I personally love the taste of hemp milk. Hemp milk is less well known compared to other types of plant based milk but it has slowly been gaining in popularity. It tastes great in coffee and has a nice buttery, nutty flavour.
Less well known dairy free milk alternatives:
If you are looking for even more options for milk alternatives for your coffee here are even more ideas!
Frequently asked questions:
Soy milk, made from soybeans, is felt to taste the most like cow's milk. It has a mild, creamy flavour that is slightly sweet and very similar to the flavour of dairy milk.
Assuming you aren't allergic to nuts, almond milk is a healthy option for coffee as it's lower in calories, lower in carbohydrates and lower in sugar compared to dairy milk.
Both almond milk and oat milk are great in coffee, but oat milk is frothier so is better for lattes and latte art. Oat milk is also creamier than almond milk is, so it gives coffee a richer, smoother taste and texture.
Oat milk has the lowest calories when it comes to dairy free milk options, coming in at only 80 calories per cup, making it a healthy option that is great for coffee.
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