Alternatives to milk for coffee

A few weeks ago I found myself the proud owner of a milk allergy. I never realized how much it limited my choice when it comes to coffee leaving me with an Americano or espresso.

I really like my Flat whites and Cortados, and sadly due to the amount of milk in them I am unable to order them so this page explores my foray into milk alternatives for all you like minded milk allergy sufferers.

I discovered my allergy by chance, for a long time I was experiencing bloating and stomach pains. Eventually I worked out it was worse after consuming milk so I cut milk out and my symptoms just disappeared overnight.

After a bit of trial and error I was able to determine it was the lactose in milk I had a problem with, so specifically, I have too little Lactate produced in my body and cannot metabolize Lactose properly.

I have since discovered that the degree of lactose intolerance varies from person to person, some can manage a small glass of milk without an issue but the next small glass is enough to push them into the realms of pain and bloating. With trial and error you can find your limits and change your lifestyle to suit.

The first and obvious option to go for was Lactose free milk. This actually works really well for me. The taste of the milk is pretty much the same perhaps a little sweeter. I still get a choice of full fat, skimmed and semi skimmed which is a bonus and it is not that expensive.

What about just avoiding cows milk?

There is a large range of milk producing mammals around so it follows that some produce milk that is easier for the milk intolerant to digest. I also find that Milk from Jersey cows, goats milk and sheeps milk are not a problem in small quantities whereas I can’t tolerate much traditional cows milk. It’s something to do with the type of lactose in the milk. This really means my best choice is Jersey cow milk because it tastes great.

Goats milk and Sheep’s milk just seems a little watery and weak, I prefer a good creamy taste. I’m sure a lot is down to production methods and treatment before dispatch to the end user. I will try more alternative milks and see how it goes.

Some milk allergies are more complex than mine and even lactose free milk will not work for them so it’s time to look at some real alternatives to milk.

A full review of the milk alternatives.

Coconut milk

It’s the right color and consistency as milk and makes the correct texture in a drink but it tastes of coconut. The milk is produced by soaking the white flesh of coconut in hot water and extracting the infusion. The drink was nice, more of a coconut drink with a coffee flavor but as an alternative to coffee it is viable and will probably taste even better in a chilled coffee.

Soya milk

This is the most popular option that most people go for. It is derived form the Soy bean. Personally I find it far too sweet. There are some unsweetened alternatives out there though which suit me better. It is the right color and consistency so it works OK in coffee and it does not add much of a taste to the coffee. There is good reason for Soy to be so popular as it responds to frothing much like milk and has the correct creaminess and texture. Apparently it has a detrimental effect on testosterone production in men.

Almond milk

I was intrigued as to how you milk an Almond and perhaps one day I’ll ask someone who farms Almonds. This again is the right color and texture, froths up really well and works nicely. It does give a very sweet nutty taste to coffee so unless you like sweet coffee it’s not for you. Unsweetened Almond milk also tends to have a bitter taste. It seemed to curdle very easily when added to hot coffee. Overall though the taste is good.

Hazelnut milk

I’ve not tried this one yet so can’t comment on it. It is worth noting that many people add Hazelnut syrup to coffee so it could be a winner here.

Oat Milk

This does not add a taste to the coffee at all. So you end up with a white looking coffee that tastes like a black one. The Oat milk does tend to settle so you have to stir the drink to avoid this.

Rice Milk

This is quite watery so you need to use a lot to get your usual white coffee color. It also quite sweet so unless you like sweetened coffee made with skimmed milk this is not for you. The coffee lacked creaminess and smoothness with Rice milk added.