Non-dairy milk has seen a boom alongside the rise in veganism and people wanting to try a more plant-based diet. But why? There’s plenty of benefits to milk alternatives; environmentally, as well as for your health. Did you know to make a glass of dairy milk takes three times more greenhouse gas emissions than any plant-based milk, and requires more land and water than any milk alternative!
We’re going to explore the options available, and give a few suggestions on which coffee to pair each with!
The most well-recognised of the milk alternatives, soy milk is made from soaking and grinding soybeans; its taste is fairly neutral and this is why it’s been used in cafes for so long!
Because soy milk has a very neutral taste it doesn’t overpower the coffee at all. It’s pretty creamy in texture and is also relatively easy to froth. However, be careful that it doesn’t split! If steaming the milk, try adding the shot of espresso first, to stop it splitting.
Coffee recommendation: The classic milk alternative deserves a classic coffee! Try Granary Blend alongside your soy milk.
Almond milk has a traditional flavour and texture to milk. Coming in sweetened and unsweetened forms, these are sold in most supermarkets now and are becoming extremely popular because of their nutty taste.
Because of the nutty twang, you want to be careful with what coffee beans you might be pairing with it. Coffee beans that already have almond notes will be heightened and could work really well! But you might not want to use almond milk with coffee beans that have walnut flavours for example.
However, when it comes to frothing it can be quite hit and miss! Barista-formulated almond milks are your best bet, but they still run the risk of splitting. Use the soy milk trick above to help with this!
Coffee recommendation: Colombia – Planadas
Now my personal favourite – oat milk! The oaty taste can be quite full-bodied and I think this makes it the most like full fat cow’s milk. It’s been creeping its way onto cafe menus lately as more people step away from cows milk and even soy milk; it’s very creamy in comparison to other plant milk and this makes it one of the best for making coffee
If you want frothy coffee, oat milk is your friend! It behaves really well when steamed, and can create latte art just as well as cow’s milk. A lot of oat milk are made with a little oil (like sunflower) to provide the fat needed to create great textured milk. It also doesn’t curdle easily when being added to a hot coffee so it’s a lot more forgiving.
Coffee recommendation: Two Stories – the sweetness of oat milk brings out some amazing jammy flavours!
Coconut milk is the more exotic of the bunch, having a very distinct sweetness and a texture similar to skimmed milk. Coconut milk contains coconut water, rice milk and water.
Coconut milk froths well, if not a little too well! Once you’ve started, it’s quite tricky to break down the bubbles into microfoam, which you need for latte art. You can expect a lovely textured frothy drink, but you’ll be lucky (or very talented) to get latte art from coconut milk! However, the taste is well worth the extra bubbles.
Coffee recommendation: no coffee this time – a coconut milk hot chocolate is just too good to pass up on!
Containing lots of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals is cashew milk! It can be harder to find in the store but offers a nice creamy texture without a lot of nuttiness. It’s also relatively easy to make at home.
It’s a little sweet, but this can be great if you’re not going to add any sugar to your coffee. It may be harder to find at your local cafe- but be sure to give it a go if you get the chance.
Cashew milk will foam with larger bubbles and may not be as foamy as cows milk but it will still get a good latte! Also, still, be aware of curdling and heat the milk up beforehand. Some people also let their coffee cool a while before adding the milk to prevent curdling.
Coffee recommendation: Daybreak Blend
While you may not hear of pea milk all too often. It’s actually high protein milk that’s similar to cows milk and therefore acts very similar! It’s made from yellow split peas and is really causing a buzz in the non-dairy scene! Environmentally it also uses less water and fertilizer than almond, soy and dairy milk.
Pea milk actually is extremely similar to cows milk, and doesn’t have the nutty taste of other dairy alternatives (and no, it’s not green)! Coming in both sweetened and unsweetened it’s a great option to try with your coffee as the taste won’t be altered much if you’re used to cow’s milk.
Pea milk works wonderfully when foaming! Again due to the protein content it works very similarly to cows milk, creating a marshmallowy texture, perfect for any brew! It also has a lower tendency to curdle, especially to most non-dairy milk, but I would still recommend heating it up beforehand.
So, I hope you’re now ready to try out non-dairy milk! It can be a whole journey of taste and experimentation. Coffee and experimentation go hand in hand and I think that this plant milk revolution is another great way to get our taste buds dancing.
Have fun and let us know how you get on with your milk journey, by tagging us in your posts!