Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Barry Gray
I know that the last decade or two has seen a real rise in the number of people using non-dairy milk options when it comes to their drinks. But how does it taste, and what does it do to coffee?
Actually, will a non-dairy milk change coffee, and is it capable of still producing an impressive drink? In this instance, I will focus on just one type of non-dairy milk option: almond milk.
Almond milk can be used with coffee, and it’s perhaps one of the best non-dairy options out there. It works well in conjunction with coffee, and it does produce a pleasant drink suitable for most coffee lovers.
But I need to be honest with you here. I’m a regular milk kind of guy when it comes to adding it to my coffee.
However, in the interest of providing you with the best information out there when it comes to your coffee, I tried some almond milk, and this is what I found.
Why Use Almond Milk in Your Coffee?
But before I dive into my own findings regarding the use of almond milk in my own coffee, let me quickly run over why so many people appear to love using this non-dairy drink.
The first reason is the flavor. It does give something of a nutty taste to your coffee, and that is certainly something that appeals to many.
After all, you can pick up hazelnut syrup to add to coffee, so using some kind of nut milk as part of the base of the drink makes a lot of sense.
Also, I find it to be a better consistency as a liquid compared to other non-dairy options. It’s easier to use and to then produce a fantastic coffee, so it does appear to have a number of real advantages.
But I’ve found a couple of other advantages almond milk brings to your coffee that should not be overlooked.
I’ve discovered that almond milk will not coagulate in your coffee when exposed to temperatures. It doesn’t change the flavor of your coffee either, and that’s a huge deal.
What Does Almond Milk Taste Like in Coffee?
Before I tried my experiment of swapping out my regular milk for almond milk, I admit I was hesitant as to what it would taste like.
I had nothing to worry about in that department, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me that this was the case.
What I discovered was that almond milk had ample flavor to it, and it was thicker than I anticipated. This made a real difference to the coffee, as I did worry it would water things down too much, and nobody wants that to happen.
I did love how it was naturally sweet. I know you can pick up unsweetened versions too, so if you are worried about the sweetness aspect, you aren’t left out.
But the flavor is not overpowering. It certainly doesn’t take something away from the coffee, so I felt it complimented the coffee rather than completely changing it.
I loved this about the almond milk. It made me feel I could simply make my coffee in the usual way and not worry about it.
But I state elsewhere that almond milk adds a nutty flavor to your coffee, and you can imagine how that would taste if you combined it with coffee beans from Asia.
Yet, even though almond milk is basically just almonds and water, that nutty taste does not overtake the taste of the coffee. However, it’s undoubtedly there behind the scenes, and it does pull out other flavors in the coffee beans themselves.
Are There Any Issues of Using Almond Milk in Your Coffee?
But is it all good when it comes to using almond milk in your coffee? Well, the answer is, sadly, no.
The main issue I see is that there were times when mixing almond milk did not go as well as I hoped it would with the coffee. There were moments when it felt as if the two simply did not want to blend.
What this then means is you do run the risk of the almond milk starting to curdle if you are not careful.
But I did discover a way to kind of counteract this particular problem, and the solution is an easy one.
The best way to stop curdling is to allow the coffee to cool slightly before adding the almond milk. Just allowing that temperature to drop a bit before you add the milk makes a huge difference.
Yet that wasn’t the only issue.
I did also find it challenging to get some froth added to my coffee. Now, I know this is essentially something that’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s still a valid point to make.
The reason why it’s tough to get it to foam is that almond milk has significantly less fat than you get with regular milk. It’s the fat in the milk that helps to create that froth, and it does end up being missing when you use almond milk.
The lack of foam does mean you end up struggling to make a coffee that is more of a barista style.
But even though that froth idea does sound problematic, I need to mention that almond milk does have a higher fat content than almost any other dairy-free milk substitutes out there.
So, while you may struggle, you still have a better chance of achieving this than you would do with any other milk alternative.
How to Get More Foam With Almond Milk
When creating foam for my Latte, I did find that I had to work a bit harder with the steam wand and have more patience to ultimately be able to get even some microfoam.
However, I was able to do it, whereas other non-dairy alternatives proved even more challenging to get anything even resembling a small amount of foam.
If you pour some almond milk into a glass and compare it to normal dairy milk, you will see the almond milk is thinner. That’s due to the reduced fat content, and that’s where the problem lies.
But all is not lost.
What I discovered when playing around with almond milk was that it simply takes more time to get a bit of foam. It won’t happen as quickly as it does with dairy milk, but that’s not a problem in my book.
The main thing is to be able to get some foam to allow you to have those barista style drinks with your non-dairy milk alternative.
For this, I had to take my steam wand and prepare for battle. I didn’t hit the almond milk too hard and saw it as more of a long game to get the foam I wanted.
It’s almost as if you need to prepare and build up the almond milk.
Do You Use the Same Quantity of Almond Milk in Your Coffee?
I’ve already mentioned that almond milk is thinner than dairy milk, so I know some people then stress about the quantity of almond milk they then need to use.
Well, the fact it’s thin does not change the quantity.
In a way, it’s almost as if you are using skimmed milk where most of the fat content has been removed. Dairy milk is noticeably thinner when it comes to viscosity compared to whole fat milk, and it does change the taste.
Almond milk is the same. However, you still pour out the same quantity of almond milk as you would typically require to then get your intended end result.
Is Almond Milk Nice in Coffee?
So, what did I think of adding almond milk to my coffee? Well, it’s not my favorite, but it’s also not horrible at the same time.
I know I surprised myself when I tried it for the first time. I did have some preconceived ideas surrounding almond milk, but it turned out better than I had anticipated.
It does change the taste of your coffee, and to check this, I made a Latte with regular milk and one with almond milk.
What I found was the full fat version was creamier and had more body to it compared to the almond milk version. You could also taste more of a nut flavor in the almond milk version, and while that wasn’t too bad, it’s not always something I would want to experience.
But here’s the thing that really caught me out. I would certainly go ahead and use almond milk again.
I feel it does give enough of a different taste to merit being used to provide me with something else from my coffee. I can get used to the lack of substantial foam compared to normal milk, and as long as you know that will happen, then it’s not too disappointing.
My Recap on Using Almond Milk in Coffee
I’ve covered various key points regarding using almond milk in coffee and whether or not it’s even possible in the first place. So, here are the key points that I feel really stand out.
- Yes, you can use almond milk in coffee
- It’s the best non-dairy milk alternative out there
- Understand it’s thinner than dairy milk
- It adds more of a nutty taste to the coffee
- It’s harder to get foam, but it just requires some patience
- You use the same quantity of milk
- It does add sweetness, but avoid the unsweetened versions
I feel that anybody who is perhaps lactose intolerant can still go ahead and enjoy a decent coffee if they use almond milk as a substitute. As I said, it’s not my favorite, but I would not turn down a coffee if it was also made with almond milk.
Almond milk is a perfectly viable non-dairy alternative for your coffee. It gives a nice taste to the coffee, and I feel it works just as well as regular milk.
I admit it does mean your coffee loses a bit of that creamy taste, but it’s not a big deal. It’s certainly not as big a difference as I expected, so I get the appeal that it has for so many people.