Coffee to Go: Choosing the Right Plant-based Milk for your Morning Cuppa

Let me set the scene. You walk into your local coffee shop, pretend to browse the menu and turn to Barista Bob for your regular cup of jo. He knows your order by now, so well that he even finishes your sentences – one shot, extra foam? He asks and your eyes meet. Could this be love? That’s right, you’re getting the hang of this thing, you’re finally becoming an adult – a coffee connoisseur. You’ve got the loyalty card, the lingo and now the barista best friend to match. Life is good…AND THEN…you realise. You’ve spent so much time thinking about the coffee that you’ve forgotten about the milk – the yin to its yang, the Dec to its Ant. CHAOS. CONFUSION. PANIC. The age of skimmed, half-skimmed and full fat has ended.

Last week it was announced that a ¼ of Brits had ditched the dairy and opted for plant-based alternatives in an effort to become more healthy and ethical consumers. So, now everyone’s talking about oat lattes, soya cappuccinos and almond Frappuccino’s but you’ve only just decided what a flat white is! It’s time to learn about the non-dairy options and get tasting – but which type goes best with your morning cuppa? Well imaginary friend in said hypothetical situation, we’ve rounded up a simple guide to plant-based milks just for you, helping you to start your morning right.

Soya Milk

Ah Soya milk…the Regina George of the plant-based world. Everybody knows this non-dairy alternative – queen bee of the free-from shelf. For most people, soya is the go-to when making the transition to a plant-based or dairy-free diet. Extremely versatile, the light and creamy texture of soya milk means that it pretty much works in every coffee order taste-wise. Known to curdle when heated, I’d recommend choosing soya milk for iced coffees in the sunshine.  

Oat Milk

Dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free; oat milk is the name on everybody’s lips right now. Naturally thicker and sweeter than cow’s milk, this alternative has been praised for its ability to hold when heated. Perfect for a steaming latte or cappuccino, opt for oat when ordering a classic coffee.

Almond Milk

Extremely nutty in taste, almond milk is a big NO when it comes to coffee. Far too bitter for your morning brew, DO NOT even think of putting this plant-based milk in your cuppa unless you like the taste of hand sanitiser! Perfect on cereals and in other foods, almond should be your last resort when it comes to coffee – trust me, I’ve been there.

Coconut Milk

I like to think of coconut as almond milk’s more attractive cousin. Incredible in a Thai curry or vegan dessert, coconut milk carries itself well, just not in coffee! With such strong flavours, this alternative is overpowering and frankly, unwelcome in my cup of jo. For anyone looking to add coconut milk to their morning coffee, my suggestion would be to choose a drink with added sugars to sweeten the deal. An iced latte with sugar syrup or a regular latte sprinkled with cinnamon should balance those flavours nicely.

Head over to this Charcoal Latte recipe for more on the latest coffee trends!

Article Written By Megan Bull