What Type of Milk Tastes Best in Coffee?

Photo of author
Written By Anh Dung Pham

What type of milk tastes best in coffee? I’m often experimenting to find the ideal milk taste for my morning cup of joe. Through extensive at-home trials of various dairy and nondairy additions, I’ve honed in on the perfect cafe complements.

In this article, I’ll share my tastings of different coffee types pairings, from rich half-and-half to plant-based options like cashews and pea creamers. You’ll learn how I rate each for optimal flavor and texture when added to a freshly brewed cup. I’ll compare taste, froth quality, and overall pairing capability so you can determine your favorite creamy, coffeehouse-style cup accompaniment.

Let’s explore the spectrum of cafe enhancements.

What Type of Milk Tastes Best in Coffee?

As a professional barista with over a decade of experience crafting lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based coffee drinks, I’m often asked what type of milk I recommend using. Your choice can make or break the flavor of your coffee, so it’s an important decision.

Just as Coffee Bean carefully selects and blends specific matcha types to create their signature coffee bean matcha type for lattes and frozen matcha beverages, I put thought into the best milk varieties for crafting creamy coffeehouse-quality drinks.

What Type of Milk Tastes Best in Coffee

After steeping, foaming, and exploring everything from dairy to plant-based milk, considering even coffee’s fiber type, I’m ready to break down what type truly tastes best in coffee.

Whole Milk

When it comes to traditional dairy milk, whole milk is my top choice for achieving a deliciously creamy, sweet coffee drink that many coffee drinkers enjoy. Here’s why it excels:

Flavor – The higher fat content of whole milk (minimum 3.25% milkfat) gives it a richer, sweeter taste with a natural sweetness that complements coffee beautifully without overpowering it. The sweetness balances acidity.

Whole Milk

Texture – Thanks to the milk’s fat content, it steams and froths up into a gorgeous, velvety microfoam ideal for lattes and cappuccinos. It makes stunning latte art possible. The flavor and creamy texture is smooth and creamy.

Calories – While not as low in calories as skim milk, it has a very reasonable calorie content. An 8 oz cup contains just 146 calories.

Nutrition – Along with calories, it provides a blend of protein, carbs, vitamins (A, D, B12), minerals (calcium, phosphorous), and healthy fats like omega-3s.

The drawback with using whole milk, especially when seeking the ideal coffee for Moka Pot, is that some find it too heavy or sweet. However, for crafting coffee drinks like lattes, I believe the texture and flavor of whole milk remain unmatched.

2% Reduced Fat Milk

For those watching fat and calorie intake, 2% milk offers a lighter dairy option that works well in espresso-based drinks:

Flavor – With a 2% fat content, 2% milk retains some of the sweetness of milk but is more mild in flavor. Still pairs well with coffee.

2% Reduced Fat Milk

Texture – Foams and steams nearly as well as whole milk. The microfoam might have slightly smaller bubbles.

Calories – 2% milk contains 122 calories per cup, saving about 24 calories over milk.

Nutrition – 2% milk boasts a very similar nutritional profile to milk but with less total and saturated fat.

While the reduced fat content impacts texture and richness slightly, 2% is a smart lower-calorie choice for delicious coffee drinks like lattes.

Non-Dairy Milks

For those avoiding dairy or vegan, nondairy kinds of milk like almond, oat, and soy are popular coffee alternatives. Here are my top choices:

Oat Milk – The naturally sweet, mild nutty flavor pairs wonderfully with coffee, making it the best nondairy-milk coffee. Foams very well. Contains fiber and is a good source of vitamin B12. Around 100 calories per cup.

Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water to make the milk. With high protein content and vitamins, it mimics dairy milk well, making it one of the best non-dairy options. Foams and complements cafe nicely when plain/unsweetened instead of sweetened. Around 100 calories per cup.

Almond Milk – With a more neutral taste, it lets the coffee flavor shine. Low calories at about 30 per cup but can be more watery. Foams decently but thinner texture that may curdle more easily.

Other options like coconut milk, hazelnut milk, and hemp milk tend to overpower cafe flavor. Experiment to see what plant-based milk suits your taste buds!

Tips for Choosing Milk for Coffee

Based on my extensive experience as a barista, here are my top tips for selecting the right milk for your coffee:

  • For the richest flavor and foam, opt, indicating that full-fat milk is best.
  • Lower-fat milk like 2% works well for cutting calories 
  • For going dairy-free, stick to plain unsweetened varieties like oats milk or soy milk, which many brands offer
  • Avoid milk alternatives with added flavors – let the coffee shine
  • Give any new milk a test drive in your favorite cafe drink
  • Shake or stir non-dairy kinds of milk well before using to evenly mix separated solids
  • When heating milk, stop before boiling to prevent scalded flavor
Key Tips for Choosing Milk for Coffee

There are so many excellent options now from dairy to plant-based. The right milk can bring out new dimensions and elevate a good cup into a great one!

Health Benefits and Drawbacks of Milk in Coffee

Along with making coffee taste delicious, adding milk can also come with potential health pros and cons. Let’s explore:


  • Protein for building muscle
  • Vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, etc.
  • Probiotics in some varieties support gut health
  • Antioxidants from dairy milk to reduce cell damage
  • Nutrient absorption is enhanced by pairing it with coffee


  • Added calories and fat
  • Sugar in flavored/sweetened selections
  • Allergies or sensitivities like lactose intolerance
  • Hormones/antibiotics concerns with conventional dairy
  • Dairy milk production contributes methane into the atmosphere.

As long as you tolerate it well and control portions, the nutrients can be beneficial as part of a balanced coffee-drinking routine. Those with sensitivities can usually find a plant milk substitute.

Takeaways on Milk and Coffee

To recap my overall advice on choosing the ideal milk to add to coffee:

  • For the best flavor – Whole dairy milk provides the richest taste and creamiest, milkiest texture for a creamy coffee drink.
  • For fewer calories – 2% milk closely mimics whole milk with less fat and calories.
  • For dairy-free – Oat, soy, and almond milk are popular non-dairy, light, foamy, lower-calorie alternatives for coffee.
  • For health – Opt for organic, hormone-free varieties and balance with a healthy diet.
  • For any coffee lover – Experiment to find your personal perfect match of milk and coffee flavors.

Trust your tastebuds and choices will depend on your dietary needs. With so many excellent options, there’s a creamy coffee companion for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the healthiest milk type for coffee?

For a nutrient boost, organic whole or 2% is the best milk dairy. For plant-based, look for unsweetened oat or soy. Avoid added flavors and sweeteners.

Is skim or 2% milk better in coffee?

2% milk provides richer flavor and foam than skim. But skim will save you more calories if that is your priority.

Why do baristas recommend whole milk?

The higher fat content gives a creamy sweetness that complements coffee exceptionally well. It also froths up beautifully.

Can you use half and half or heavy cream in coffee?

Yes, and it will provide an incredibly silky, indulgent texture and flavor. But limit intake due to very high calories.

Is milk necessary for coffee?

No – black coffee is enjoyable for many and eliminates calories. But a splash of milk can mellow acidity and balance the bitterness beautifully.

Whatever your dietary needs and coffee preferences, rest assured there is a great option to make your cup of joe even more delicious. Experiment and find the one that hits the spot!

Call to Action

  • “Wondering about the best non-dairy milk for coffee? Dive into our guide now!”
  • “Milk lovers, have you explored the world of plant-based milk alternatives for your espresso?”
  • “From rice milk to cashew milk, discover the beverage that brings out the best in your coffee!”
  • “Taste the difference! Join our taster’s journey to find the clear winner among non-dairy milks.”
  • “Seeking that perfect steamed milk experience without the cow’s milk? Click to explore!”
  • “Looking for both flavor taste and sustainability? Find out which milk requires less water to produce!”
  • “Nut milk, rice milk, or another alternative? Dive into our tasting notes today!”


In the vibrant world of coffee shops, the traditional choice of cow’s milk is being increasingly challenged by an array of plant-based milk options. With so many non-dairy options, the decision on the best type for brew coffee truly depends on individual tastes and preferences.

Oat milk, for instance, stands out not just for its flavour and texture but also for its benefits as it requires less water to produce. Cashew milk, rich in vitamins A and E, may help lower cholesterol. However, it’s not just about taste.

The journey to finding the perfect milk for coffee is also about embracing sustainable options, which is a great way to reduce environmental impact. Whether you’re a fan of unsweetened almond milk, rice milk, or any other alternative, there’s a world of taste waiting to taster be explored. The key is to dive in, experiment, and find the one that resonates most with your palette.

And if you’re hungry for more insights into cafe and beverage preparation, don’t forget to visit lido18.com to delve deeper into the author’s sharing and vast knowledge on the subject.