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Which Vegan Milk Is Best For Coffee?

Which Vegan Milk Is Best For Coffee?

One easy way to get started with plant-based foods? Your coffee. Replacing the dairy milk or cream in your daily cup is a simple way to ease into plant-based milk alternatives. There are many reasons to choose non-dairy milks and almost as many types to pick from. But which non-dairy milk is best for specialty coffee? Can you make a vegan cappuccino that tastes good? Each milk alternative tastes different, and some successfully mimic dairy when poured in a hot cup of coffee, while others separate into sludgy bits. It can be difficult to know whether to choose soy, almond, or oat milk. Some non-dairy options have overpowering flavors and others are difficult to foam. Let’s find out more about the different qualities of plant milks and which ones best complement your coffee.


The rise in demand for vegan/plant-based milk:

In recent years, the use of plant milks has exploded. Many people are trying to reduce their intake of animal products and the specialty coffee market is no exception. Whether you choose non-dairy milk for ethical, health, or other reasons, it’s important to find one that doesn’t overwhelm the subtleties of your coffee. Milk can impact many aspects of a coffee’s final flavour and aesthetic. As we know, these factors are essential elements for any coffee lover, except black coffee lovers.

  • Modern coffees use steamed milk, in an attempt to produce a foam by ‘stretching’ the milk. Many coffees, such as the latte, cappuccino, and flat white, all depend on this style of milk to fulfill their criteria.
  • Traditionally, the majority of all milk is made up of protein molecules. The level of proteins does vary, depending on the milk you’re using, however, once heated, they ‘melt’, trapping the air and ‘stretching’ the milk to foam.
  • Given the vast differences between dairy and non-dairy kinds of milk, the performance of each does differ. The outcomes all contribute to the overall flavour and texture of the coffee, meaning connoisseurs are often experimenting, to discover the perfect cup.

How do plant-based milk substitutes compare nutritionally to cow’s milk?

  • Many plant-based options don’t hold up nutritionally to cow’s milk, specifically when it comes to protein, calcium and vitamin D. When choosing an alternative, those are the nutrients you should watch out for. 
  • Cow’s milk provides about 9 g of protein per cup, 30 percent of your recommended daily calcium and 45 percent of your recommended vitamin D.
  • And many non-dairy beverages have little, if any, protein, which may or may not be a concern depending on which other protein-rich foods you eat.
  • Depending on the manufacturer, milk alternatives are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D—which requires you to shake the container well because the vitamins often separate and end up on the bottom.
  • However, many aren’t fortified to the same nutritional level as cow’s milk and some aren’t fortified at all. Be sure to read the labels and make informed choices. 

    Let’s have a look at the top five vegan milk for coffee lovers!


    This is probably the best-known plant milk around the world. People have been using soy alternatives to animal products for generations. It is great not just for those who want to avoid dairy, but also for people with nut allergies. It is also widely available. But depending on the manufacturer and additives, soy can either foam very well or not-so-well.

    What does soy milk taste like in coffee?

    The taste is somewhat nondescript. This is a bonus for baristas, as they know it will not compromise the flavour of the coffee.


    Almond milk is low in protein—just one gram per cup—so if you’re not having it in your coffee, try to eat it in foods such as smoothies combined with other protein-rich ingredients, like peanut butter or protein powder. It’s a good source of vitamin A and E though, and it’s low in calories. If you like an extra layer of flavors, almond milk offers coffee that dimension. Having said that, it doesn’t have as much protein as dairy milk and could leave your coffee with a layer of wateriness beneath the foam generated. Again, almond milk can split, like soy milk, so it’s important to experiment beforehand.

    What does almond milk taste like in coffee?

    Without saying almonds, it tastes nutty with a slightly bitter aftertaste, hence why some opt for the sweetened version of almond milk, depending on the roast used for the coffee itself.


    Coconuts have a fairly low environmental impact. They grow in areas with plentiful water like the tropics, including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Pacific—and they require low amounts of fertilizers and pesticides. Coconut milk’s properties are creamy and naturally dense, making it a firm favorite for foam and froth. It also has a lot of healthy fats. With its creamy consistency, coconut milk is highest in saturated fat, at about 3 grams per cup. It’s not the best choice for people watching their heart health. It doesn’t contain any protein, so try to combine it with other protein-rich foods when possible. However, it is a good source of vitamins A, B12, and E.

    What does coconut milk taste like in coffee?

    The natural sweetness of a coconut’s flavour is prominent. Some may argue that it distracts from the flavours of the coffee but that would depend on the coffee.


    Oat milk is quickly becoming the leader of non-dairy kinds of milk to use in coffee drinks. It is made from a combination of oats, water, and sometimes canola oil. The result is a surprisingly full-bodied non-dairy milk with the richness that rivals whole dairy milk. Oat milk is also prized for its fibre content. This non-dairy milk appeals to health-conscious customers because it contains relatively little fat without sacrificing the protein that you can get from dairy milk. The addition of fibre, however, sets this non-dairy milk apart and makes it the perfect choice for customers who are looking to boost their digestive health.

    How Oat Milk Tastes in Coffee?

    Oat milk has a creamy taste that is akin to full-fat dairy milk in coffee. It has a smooth texture that won’t interrupt your coffee, which explains why it is growing in popularity so rapidly.


    More and more people are reaching for cashew milk because of its creamy texture that mimics dairy milk in coffee. This being said, many baristas argue that house-made cashew milk is better for taste and steaming. If you want to incorporate cashew milk into your coffee offerings, weigh the costs and benefits of producing your own. Cashew milk is also low in protein and calories. It contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, so replacing cow’s milk with cashew milk (and other milk-alternatives), may help lower cholesterol. It’s also a source of vitamins E and A.

    How Cashew Milk Tastes in Coffee?

    Cashew milk has a slightly sweet taste that is less nutty than other nut kinds of milk.

    Bottom Line:

    There is an increasingly large choice in the non-dairy milk market and many products are created for baristas. With this variety, it is likely you can find a plant milk that works with your choice of specialty coffee and lifestyle. So, take a look in different grocery stores and make sure to read the ingredient lists. If you’re still uncertain, ask your barista for their suggestion and try a few different kinds with different beans. You might be surprised what the best non-dairy or vegan milk is for specialty coffee.

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