A Guide to Coffee Milk Alternatives

Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day, but at the same time approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.

As coffee is increasingly accompanied by an additive such as heavy cream, whipped cream, or milk an issue is presented for those which are lactose intolerant. However, the coffee consumer does not need to be despondent. There are several coffee milk alternatives available. Here are a few.


Soy Milk

Soy milk is a common alternative to cow milk. The reason is that the properties of milk and soy are very similar, apart from the saturated fat which is absent in soy. Additionally, soy milk provides omega 3 fatty acids which make the substance heart-healthy. One of the benefits of soy milk in coffee is that it comes in a variety of flavors and thicknesses. Therefore, those which want to stimulate a “light latte” can do so with light soy.

Coffee consumers should be aware that soy can curdle in some coffees. This is due to the acid and protein reaction between the two substances. It is advised that when using soy, you shake the milk toughly before using, pour the soy before the coffee, and then slowly add the coffee while stirring. Where soy can be used for hot coffee, it has the best results with iced or cooler products.

Almond Milk

Almond milk can provide an alternative to soy or cow’s milk in terms of flavor. There is a definitive difference in the almond milk over other milk alternatives in that it cannot steam. This means that it is very difficult if not impossible to get a cappuccino or a latte from almond milk. However, as an additive to dark brewed coffee or to instant coffee, it a viable solution.

The almond milk alternative provides protein, calcium, and vitamin D. When compared against cow’s milk, almond milk contains nearly ½ of the calories. Keep in mind that almond milk is a subtle flavor so those wishing to have a strong accent to the coffee may need to use more to get the result they wish.

Coconut Milk

In contrast to the Almond Milk, Coconut milk has a very strong flavor. Those using coconut milk as a coffee additive alternative should practice the less is more strategy. Where the visuals of the coffee will not alter that much (meaning that if you have a dark cup of coffee it will not lighten as it will when cream or milk is added), this is not to say that the coconut milk is not working. The lack of transition is due to the “watery” like density and the lack of pigmentation in the milk.

Coconut milk is a great alternative for people on the Paleo diet, those which are lactose intolerant, and for those just wanting to have a change in their coffee consumption routine.


Coffee shops which have a great deal of vegan customers will find that Hemp Milk is an acceptable solution to cow’s milk. According to Vegan.com, Hemp milk is a top coffee additive alternative which provides an organic solution over cow’s milk. Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the Hemp plant blended with water. And although Hemp is derived from the same family as Cannabis there is no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found within the product.

Hemp milk is ideal for those which have digestive problems or a sensitive digestive system. Unlike “standard” milk or soy milk, Hemp does not have the complex sugars or the fat content which may disrupt the digestive process.

Brown Sugar

If you are looking for an alternative to add some sweetness to your coffee and do not care about the milky consistency which cow’s milk, soy, and other milk alternatives may give, consider adding brown sugar to your coffee. Unlike white sugar, brown sugar is not bleached and is typically in the raw form. This means that there is usually a bit of molasses in the sugar (which is what gives it that maple flavoring). Do take note that you are adding sugar to the coffee. Use sparingly.

Blueberry and Blackberry Juice

Ensure that you are adding 100% pure juice to your coffee. Blackberries and Blueberries provide a very robust flavor to coffee. Where you do get a bit of a fruity flavor from the juice, when it is coupled with coffee, the result is a more organic flavor than a sweet flavor to the coffee. Blueberry and Blackberry juice should only be used in traditional brewed coffee and used sparingly. For a sweeter result, mix the blueberry or blackberry juice with soy milk.