Milk & coffee. For some, essential - for others, an abomination. But one thing is for certain, and that’s if you’re going to add milk to your coffee, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. If you’re partial to adding some of that dairy goodness to your brew, check out some of our tips below to upgrade your milk and coffee game.
Not a dairy drinker? Fear not - we’ve also got the lowdown on the best milk alternatives below.
Never put cold milk in hot coffee. Ever. We really can’t stress this enough, really. It kills the flavour of the coffee, smothering the more delicate flavours of your brew and quite frankly ruining what should be a lovely cup of coffee.
Some coffee is just better suited for milk. Generally, the roast level gives you a pretty good idea; for instance, a darker roast would work better with milk, whereas the lighter roasted coffee would be ‘drowned out’ by milk. But, this does get a bit more complicated, as roast level does not necessarily mean that the resulting coffee has the body and depth to handle milk.
For reference, here’s a list of the different CRU Kafe pods, and how each blend performs with milk:
Oat milk is the favourite alternative to use here at CRU headquarters. It’s made from a combination of oats and water (sometimes with a little bit of oil); this results in a full bodied non-dairy milk which has a creamy and rich texture, mimicking that of full-fat dairy milk in coffee.
Oat milk can also be foamed due to the lower protein content, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to get a proper frothy coffee. It’s also packed full of fibre, so there’s that as well!
Affordable, with a smooth, neutral taste. Many soy milk brands do not leave a noticeable aftertaste so if you’re adding milk to curb the more ‘bitter’ excesses of your coffee, this is a great alternative to choose.
TIP: Soy milk can split when added to hot coffee. To avoid this, try warming the milk first in your cup, then slowly pouring in the coffee after.
Almond milk is one of the most popular nut-milks to use in coffee, but can have a bitter aftertaste due to the additional nutty flavours. If you want to avoid this try, we recommend trying a sweetened alternative.
Unfortunately, almond milk can curdle in coffee for the same reasons as soy milk: temperature and acidity. To combat curdling, avoid pouring cold almond milk into very hot coffee. Its reaction with the acidity of your coffee or espresso may vary from brand to brand, so be sure to try several options if you want to make almond milk a mainstay on your beverage menu.
You can create a silky foam with almond milk, but this non-dairy milk has a tendency to separate when heated. Latte art made with almond milk may look nice on top of the beverage's foamy layer, but it could leave a watery drink underneath.