A 2021 study from The Good Food Institute found that 41% of US households primarily drink plant-based milk instead of dairy milk. This means that offices may want to start having plant-based milk options as part of their coffee offering to ensure that all their employees can have the exact drink that they want during work. Since it’s not impractical to offer all types of plant-based milk at your office coffee station, here we will go through the plant-based milks that pair best with different types of coffee drinks.
What are the Best Plant Based Milks for Drip Coffee?
A splash of dairy milk is a common addition to drip coffee because its natural fats and proteins soften coffee’s bitter notes without changing the overall flavor profile of the drink.
Dairy milk can also be mixed with a hot drink without the risk of it splitting and curdling.
For a plant-based milk to work well in drip coffee, it needs to have the following properties:
- At least a 1% fat content
- At least a 1% protein content
- To handle temperatures of above 150 Fahrenheit (coffee’s typical drinking temperature) without curdling
- A neutral flavor that does not clash or overpower the taste of coffee
The table below shows how all the common plant-based milks fare against these criteria:
|Type of Milk||Flavor Profile||Fat Content||Protein Content||Curdle Point (temperature)|
As we can see from this table, the best milks to have with filter coffee are:
- Oat milk.
- Pea milk (an excellent option, although harder to find than other plant based coffees).
- Cashew milk.
Two plant-based milks that I would not recommend to have with filter coffee are:
- Soy milk: Soy milk often curdles and develops an unpleasant graininess when mixed with hot coffee.
- Coconut milk: Its flavor is very strong and just doesn’t go well with drip coffee.
What Are The Best Plant Based Milks For Frothing?
Dairy milk froths up well due to its relatively high protein content. A plant-based milk needs a protein content of at least 1.5% to froth up as well as dairy does. The three best plant-based milks for frothing are:
- Oat milk
- Cashew milk
- Pea milk
If you can, I would recommend using barista oat milk for making frothed drinks with. This is oat milk that has been fortified with additional fats and proteins.
It froths up in a very similar way to dairy milk and has been designed to be used with automatic milk frothers such as the Cappuccinatore Milk Frother. This makes it perfect for offices where you want to be able to make your coffee with the minimum amount of time or effort.
What Is The Best Plant-Based Milk For People With Allergies?
One of the downsides of plant-based milk is that it is generally made from soya, nuts or seeds which are some of the most common food allergens. The only plant-based milk which is not made from a common allergen is rice milk. Although some people are allergic to rice, this is nowhere near as common as nut, seed or soya allergies. Even though rice milk’s lack of protein means it does not pair as well as other plant-based milks with coffee, it’s still worth having a carton in the office as an allergy-safe option.
The best plant-based milks to have with coffee are oat milk, pea milk, almond milk and cashew milk. Oat milk is the most versatile of these. It can be frothed as well as being poured straight into drip coffee.
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This article was written by Oli Baise. Oli is a barista who also runs coffee blog Drinky Coffee