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Dairy free and caffeine full - What are the alternatives to milk in coffee?

  • di Pete Farrant

Vegan, plant-based, animal-product-free, however you describe it, Veganism is on the rise. Going from a fringe movement to a mainstream life choice, the vegan diet choice has left its past behind and taken the world by storm.

A whole host of vegan-friendly foods are now in shops and on menus everywhere, as well as vegan specific cafes and restaurants. So for anyone making the choice to go vegan, there’s no longer any need to miss out on a burger with your friends or always take your coffee black.

So which of the many dairy-free alternatives to milk should you choose for your favourite drink?

Yes, there is a difference and yes, it matters.

Celebrities including F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, actor Benedict Cumberbatch and singer Ariana Grande have all now adopted a plant-based diet - joining veteran vegan of 30 years, Woody Harrelson. Their famous faces have raised the profile of veganism and helped propel what was thought of as a fad, into a mainstream commonality.

A-list influence aside, with reasons including reducing carbon emissions, promoting health and well-being or taking a stand against animal cruelty, there are currently over 600,000 vegans in the UK.

That’s a lot of coffee drinkers in need of a fantastic, creamy alternative to milk.

If you’re a vegan or thinking of becoming one, JavaHub wants to help you get the most from your favourite drink. And if you’re a fully paid-up carnivore, you never know when you’ll need to please a friendly plant-eater.

So what are the alternatives?

Firstly, soya milk. Soya has a relatively good consistency with a slightly nutty flavour. Added to blends that pair well with nuts like our Fiori Arabica, this is a pretty good all-round dairy replacement. The downside to soya milk is that it tends to split when added to hot drinks, which doesn't look very pretty. On a more positive note, with the preservatives added it froths well for latte lovers!

Next up, rice milk. Sadly this isn’t brilliant when it comes to coffee. It tastes pretty neutral and won’t overpower your blend, but tends to be watery. That means no creamy texture and definitely no froth, which makes us sad...

Thirdly, let's talk about almond milk. Like rice, this can be very watery and like soya, it can split, it's the unfortunate worst of both worlds. For nut fans it has a strong taste, but this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, or coffee... see what I did? It can be frothed, but beware of splitting or you could end up with good foam on top and a watery drink underneath. A better choice in our view is cashew milk - more creamy, less nutty.

On to coconut milk, the Marmite milk. Some love the tropical flavour it adds while others run a mile. I quite enjoy the taste to be honest and have been know to add a coconut syrup to my coffee. This milk is nicely creamy, it has a good texture and can be frothy! So potentially a great choice if you love the flavour.

Finally, oat milk. Oat has a smooth feel with a pleasantly sweet taste and a flavour that works well with coffee in general. Naturally low in fat and high in fibre, it’s a healthy choice as well as a good one. The milk can be a little thin so if you want the ultimate experience go with a special version like Oatly Barista or Minor Figures Oat M*lk.

Oat milk is fast becoming the most popular choice for baristas and their vegan customers, as well as the home and to be honest we agree. Whatever option you choose, pair it with a quality blend of coffee and enjoy feeling dairy-free and caffeine-full.

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