What Non-Dairy Milk Works Best In Coffee?

What Non-Dairy Milk Works Best In Coffee?

Posted by Simone, The Coffee Girl on 1st Mar 2021

As we focus on sustainable, Fairtrade organic coffee production this month, it would be amiss of us not to take a look at the sustainability of the milk side of our coffee world, as most of the coffee we consume is anywhere between ½ to ¾ milk!

With a growing selection of non-dairy milk, and a rise in demand for it, I want to share some data from our little corner of the world, look at why people are choosing non-dairy, how non-dairy tastes, and how it responds to being used in making a great coffee!

And hey, check out our range of Fairtrade coffee here.

The Non-Dairy Trend in Coffee

Many people are choosing non-dairy milk products for their coffee. At our Broome Markets Kimberley Coffee Company Van, we have seen an increase in alternatives to dairy.

“We now serve about 25% non-dairy to customers who order milk-based coffee, and this is growing steadily. Just 4 years ago the only non-dairy alternative was soy, but we now also offer oat, almond, and coconut as well as lactose-free dairy milk.”

Mark, The Coffee Man

We have sourced the best options for coffee-making using alternatives to milk through careful testing and watching how the product responds to heat, and like our coffee beans, choose organic wherever possible.

The increase in demand for non-dairy milk alternatives has been quite notable in the past 18 months. We asked our customers why they choose dairy-free and they gave us these 4 main reasons.

Why do people choose non-dairy milk?


  • Animal agriculture includes the dairy industry.
  • It is noted that the greenhouse emissions from animal farms create around 14.5% of the world's emissions – that is more than all transportation combined, including cars, motorbikes, airplanes, trucks, and trains.
  • Livestock agriculture contributes to around 35-40% of methane and 64% of ammonia emissions globally.
  • Deforestation. There is much talk about palm oil being the greatest threat to the planet's forests, but the area cleared for livestock is actually the greatest impact on deforestation. The land is cleared not only for the space for animal farms, but the huge amount of land need to raise grain t0 FEED the livestock. Of the 346 metric tones of soy grown each year, 80% of that is used to feed livestock.


  • There are fewer calories and less fat in almost all non-dairy milk as they do not contain animal fat or protein. Coconut milk has more calories but added nutrition benefits (antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting) you don’t find in dairy milk so the trade-off can be worth it if calorie counting isn’t a high priority for you.
  • Dairy allergies and lactose intolerance are avoided completely here. It has been proven that around 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, or sensitive to lactose. This causes anything from mild symptoms that just become a part of life to debilitating digestive issues that means the individual must strictly avoid ANY dairy at all. Our lactose-free milk is popular with some of our regular customers.
  • Many health experts claim that reducing animal fat and animal protein is a better choice for overall health as well as solving chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Specific restriction of dairy and eggs, in particular, is recommended for people with high-level inflammation and cancer.
  • Antibiotics and hormones are fed to dairy cattle to increase their production of milk which is then carried into the milk itself. In fact, 80% of antibiotics used in the USA are used in the meat and dairy industry on animals. The argument of human antibiotic resistance from consuming antibiotics from meat and dairy products is becoming problematic on a global scale and a concern to many.

Animal Welfare

‘Processing' of milk involves what some consider inhumane treatment of dairy cows to keep them pregnant to continue to supply milk for humans to drink. Without going too far into this point, if you are concerned about animal welfare and the health of the planet, choosing dairy alternatives is a great way to make a small step towards a global change for the better.


Many people just like it! Some people love the creamy rich texture of coconut and oat milk while others love that almond milk is light in texture and slightly bitter. Try new non-dairy milk in your coffee each week as an experiment in taste and tell us how you feel!

What works best for coffee?

“Our most popular non-dairy milk is Organic Soy (50% of our non-dairy coffees) and Organic Almond (25% of our non-dairy coffees)”

Mark, The Coffee Man.

Oat Milk

For the health-conscious, oat milk ticks the boxes when it comes to high protein, low calorie, no saturated fat, nut-free, high fibre and natural sweetness. It is thick, buttery, and creamy so makes an excellent non-dairy milk option with coffee. Its texture and density are most like dairy milk and it stretches and foams really well. The slight wheat taste adds to the warm flavour.

Soy Milk

This is a nut-free, high protein, less strong tasting dairy alternative. The coffee flavour will be the hero when used to make a latte or flat white. Soy milk foams well due to it having the most similar protein levels to dairy milk. Caution always needs to be taken to not overheat soy milk as it will curdle, and you will end up with a ‘scrambled eggs in my coffee’ effect which makes NO ONE happy! Soy milk is generally less expensive than the other non-dairy kinds of milk so a popular choice for home brewers.

Almond Milk

There is a very diverse range of almond milk available. Some are quite ‘almond-y’, some are slightly bitter and some are sweetened. Almond milk created for barrister use is the best way to go when using this dairy-free milk as it has been created to foam well and remain creamy with just the right amount of sweetness.

Coconut Milk

Creamy and naturally dense, coconut milk is made for coffee. It has a higher fat content than other non-dairy milk, and when steamed, is more like tiny bubbles than a foam. It definitely tastes distinctly coconut-y, with a natural sweetness and this can be a good or a bad thing based on your palate.

What works best in coffee in our opinion?

We use almond, soy, oat, and coconut milk at The Coffee Van at Broome Markets each weekend. People tend to choose the non-dairy options for one of the 4 reasons mentioned above and then select their non-milk of choice based on taste and texture.

As expert baristers, we love to use oat milk for its density and milk-like behaviours – we love a good-looking coffee that shows a dense, creamy foam.

Any comments or experiences we would love to hear from you! Please connect with us on Facebook @kimberleycoffeecompany and start a conversation!