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8 non-dairy milk alternatives for coffee you should try

by tamarajune
Published: Last Updated on

There’s a trend towards reducing dairy intake (or avoid it altogether), and as a result, non-dairy milk alternatives are gaining popularity. There are more options in stores, and many restaurants and coffee shops offer vegan choices. Generally, finding a suitable replacement for cow’s milk is not difficult. However, when it comes to coffee, it’s a bit more tricky.

That’s why in this post, you’ll get to know some of the most common dairy-free milk alternatives and learn which ones will help you prepare the most delicious cup of coffee. 

Moreover, replacing dairy milk in your coffee with a plant alternative is a healthy habit to implement if you want to live healthier but don’t (yet) want to cut out dairy entirely from your life. Thus, you’ll also find some tips for that in this post. 

Why should you consider using non-dairy milk alternatives for your coffee?  

In addition to ethical and environmental reasons, using dairy-free milk also has health benefits. Among others, it can improve digestion, promote healthier and clearer skin as well as possibly reduce the risk of some cancers.

Moreover, plant milk is low in saturated fats and free of cholesterol, antibiotics, and growth hormones. All of these factors positively impact health.

Therefore, replacing dairy milk with a vegan alternative is a simple habit that will help you take the next step toward a healthier lifestyle. 

How to make using dairy-free milk in your coffee a habit

Coffee with foam made from non-dairy milk alternatives
  • Always have a vegan option available and prominent, while making the dairy option less accessible. 
  • Place a post-it note on your coffee maker or coffee cup, reminding you to opt for plant milk instead 
  • Try different dairy-free milk alternatives to find ones that you genuinely like. If you have to force down bad tasting coffee, this habit won’t last.
  • If you find the transition to plant milk challenging, alternate. One day you use cow’s milk, the next day you opt for the non-dairy milk. 
  • When you go out to grab a coffee, remember to ask for the dairy-free alternatives
  • Be patient with your taste buds, as they may need some time to adjust 

[su_highlight]Summary: To make using dairy-free milk in your coffee a habit it helps to always have an option easily accessible. Moreover, you can put little reminders on your coffee maker or coffee cup. Additionally, its important that you find a non-dairy milk alternative you genuinely like. If you want to transition to vegan milk slowly, alternate between using cow’s milk and non-dairy milk.[/su_highlight]

8 non-dairy milk alternatives for coffee 

Barista pouring vegan milk into a coffee mug

Almond milk:

Almond milk, in general, is one of the favorite plant-based milk alternatives. However, it tends to curdle and may leave a bitter taste. To reduce curdling, you can use warm almond milk. To help combat bitterness, try sweetened almond milk. While you can foam almond milk, it soon separates and leaves a watery beverage underneath. 

Rice milk: 

Rice milk is popular among those with allergies because it is both nut and soy-free. It is also neutral in taste and doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of the coffee. However, rice milk is rather thin and watery. It won’t make your coffee creamy, and you can’t foam it.

Hemp milk: 

Using hemp milk is not quite as standard, but some like to use it because of its high-protein content and slightly nutty flavor. It can be steamed but often dissipates fast.

Cashew milk: 

Cashew milk is creamy like dairy. It tastes a bit sweet and offers a delicate nut flavor. The foam it produces is less dense, and if you want to steam it, it’s going to take some practice to prevent a soapy texture. Further, some baristas claim that homemade cashew milk works better than store-bought ones. 

Soy milk: 

Soy milk has probably been around the longest. It is one of the most popular options because it provides a smooth and creamy texture. Moreover, it is neutral in taste, produces foam similar to dairy milk, and is very affordable. However, it may curdle, to avoid that use warm soy milk that you put in the cup first and then add the coffee.

Pea milk: 

Pea milk for coffee is not conventional, but most of those who’ve tried it believe it to be the best in terms of taste (it doesn’t taste like peas at all). It’s also possible to make foam with it. Moreover, pea milk is rich in protein and potassium, so it also provides some nutritional benefits. Though it may seem odd, pea milk is worth trying out. 

Oat milk: 

Oat milk is one of the most popular options as it is equally rich as dairy and provides a creamy and smooth texture. Additionally, oat milk is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. You can foam it, but the process is a bit more tricky and may take longer.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is becoming an increasingly popular dairy-free alternative. It provides a thick texture, doesn’t water the coffee down, and can be foamed (though the foam is less dense). Further, coconut milk adds a bit of an exotic taste without needing to use artificial flavors, which some people love.

In addition to the above list of “regular” non-dairy milk alternatives, Barista-style milk is also a popular option. These offer a creamier texture, plus are more suited to be foamed and used in coffee preparation overall. The barista option form Oatly is likely the most used barista-style coffee milk. Still, other brands offer tasty versions as well. So, they are worth checking out. 

[su_highlight]Summary: The most popular non-dairy milk alternatives for coffee are coconut milk, oat milk, pea milk, soy milk and cashew milk. These generally make for a creamy and rich coffee, don’t overpower the natural coffee flavor (except coconut milk) and can be foamed. Hemp, rice and almond milk are also common options but can be harder to make good tasting coffee with.[/su_highlight]

Best non-dairy creamer

Creamers tend to make coffee richer, and many add additional flavor, making your coffee taste even better. If you prefer creamer over non-dairy milk, you’ll find this guide here helpful. 

If you prefer to make your own creamer, here are some homemade coffee creamer recipes that will surely help you step up your coffee game:

Vanilla Coconut Coffee Creamer

Coconut Vanilla Coffee Creamer

3 Ingredient Dairy-Free Coffee Creamer


Graphic summarizing the most important information from the post

Do you drink coffee for caffeine or because you like the taste?

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