Recent health trends are giving cow’s milk some serious competition for the role of coffee’s perfect companion. Plant-based options such as soy, almond, and coconut allow the latte-lover to avoid the calories, fat, and sugar in traditional dairy. With these health benefits to consider, it is important now to ask if these options can enhance your next cup of coffee in body and flavor.

To understand the differences between non-dairy milks, we must delve into the science of milk frothing. Heating up milk causes the natural sugar in milk, lactose, to dissolve fuller for a sweeter-tasting drink. Proteins in milk trap air inside the milk bubbles; the higher the protein content of the milk, the more substantial the foam will be. For the driest cappuccino, the least fatty milk will yield the most foam at the price of richness. Calories, fat, sugar, and protein are major reasons why many consumers may want to consider non-dairy alternatives.

At Café Xpresso, we use locally-sourced Arethusa Farm Dairy milk, with 2% being the default. In the battle for caloric economy, skim milk wins the dairy category because at 90 calories per serving, it contains 60 fewer calories than whole milk and 40 fewer calories than 2%. Our brand of plant-based milks, Pacific Naturals’ “Barista Series,” strives to mimic the important biological properties of foamy and rich dairy milk. Soy and almond milk have only two-thirds the amount of fat of 2% and coconut milk and all three have almost two-thirds the amount of sugar of 2%. Although no milk alternative can match the natural protein content of cow’s milk, soy milk comes the closest with 5 grams per cup. Additionally, Pacific uses no GMOs, a common concern for many soy products.

For the best introduction to dairy alternatives, try our specialty drink the “Nutty Professor” the next time you’re in Café Xpresso. From the creative mind of our own barista Nathaniel, the “Nutty Professor” is a steamer of almond milk, coconut cream, and sweet hazelnut syrup. Craving caffeine? Add a shot of cold-brew and wake up a little nutty. Almond milk, low in calories and fortified with vitamins, is the perfect middle-ground between a foamy and rich non-dairy milk.

Whether you prefer a velvety latte or a foamy cappuccino, there is a milk substitute for you. Let our friendly staff help you discover your new favorite!

By: Nicole Leonard

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