Coffee lovers, this one’s for you.
When I first cut out cow’s milk one of my major difficulties was my milky coffees (instant coffee, student budget ya know), which got me through long lectures and late study nights. I was so used to the soft taste of cow’s milk to offset the strong coffee flavour. At the time, the only vegan alternative in supermarkets was soy milk, and switching to that was a bit harsh: soy milk has a nutty flavour that can take a bit of getting used to, and it’s naturally less sweet than cow’s milk.
So I tried something different: I made a temporary switch to black coffee, to try and ‘reset’ my taste buds, to forget the taste of cow’s-milky-coffee. Since instant coffee is a bit gross (to me) without milk, I finally started drinking real coffee, black. Initially with a bit of sugar. Nowadays, I enjoy a quality cup of coffee (made with my AeroPress or moka pot): black, no sugar. Sometimes I’ll add plant milk for comforting smoothness.
But for the milky-coffee-lovers out there, here are some tips on finding the perfect plant milk:
- Adjust your expectations. Plant milk doesn’t taste the same as cow’s milk, and you shouldn’t expect it to. You can aim to find similarities, though: Do you want a creamy milk? Higher protein? Higher fat? A neutral, nutty, or sweet flavour? Lightness, or richness? There are dozens of different plant milks (store-bought or homemade), all with different flavours and nutritional profiles. Allow your taste buds to make new discoveries 🙂
- Try a variety, across brands and types of plant milks. Oat milk is creamy and neutral-tasting, almond milk has a slightly sweet taste but can be a bit watery, and soy milk has a slight nutty flavour which many people love in coffee. Each type of plant milk can vary a lot, depending on the ingredients and proportions used. My default is Good Hope Regular soy milk, which is a bit sweeter and creamier than the other soy milks. Woolworths soy milk is really nice, sweetened with apple concentrate (though a bit pricey). Oatly Oat Milk and Alpro Macadamia Milk remain my ultimate favourites, though!
- Give your tastebuds time. According to research in taste psychology, it takes multiple exposures to the same food before your palate adjusts. Don’t give up after trying something once: try it a few more times (it can take 10-15 exposures to get used to a new taste).
- Try something new. Change up your caffeine routine: switch to black coffee like I did, or try Ceylon or green tea for something different. Or, take a break from caffeine!
I hope this is helpful! What’s your coffee routine? And what plant milk do you enjoy the most?