OK first of all, can we just acknowledge that our planet is burning, and some plant based milks definitely help with that, which we adore!
The reasons so many people (including me) are switching away from dairy are environmental and welfare ones. However, let’s not assume that just because things are vegan, they’re good for the planet. Read up on the impacts of different alt milks and brands and that goes for anything we eat and drink these days.
Right, now let’s get into it.
Plant milks vary a lot in how they react to different temperatures and preparation methods.
For hot coffees oat milk is my go-to – I think the good ones really balance well with espresso, and still allow you to taste what’s going on with your beans without overpowering everything.
For your iced coffee, I actually think the plant milk you opt for really depends on what you’re after.
If you’re looking for something really sweet and comforting I think soy or coconut can be great – kinda like making mini desserts! Almond’s great cold too, though less sweet and more earthy tasting for me.
What are the best practices for preparing coffee with plant milk?
The key is to avoid separation here. We’ve all seen those terrible split lattes, let’s leave them in the 2000s.
Top tip with soy and almond milk: mix the coffee and the milk cold and steam them together – zero splitting and somehow tastes more nutty and sweet too!
In cold drinks we don’t need to worry about splitting, but keep your alt-milks in the fridge or we’re just making room temperature drinks… if you’re pouring over ice, don’t forget to consider that it’ll melt a little and dilute your drink, so make it a little stronger!
What are the do’s and don’ts of preparing coffee with plant milk?
Don’t expect it to be exactly like dairy milk! Just like vegan bacon, it’ll never be the same, so open your mind.
Don’t steam alt milks hot and pour them immediately onto espresso; they’ll split!
Don’t assume that all brands are the same. The variation is actually crazy, so explore. Different types of milk or brands will work in different settings so have some fun, try a new thing, and if something’s unbelievable let me know.
What is your favourite plant milk pairing?
The oat flat white is iconic; can’t beat it! If I’m having an iced coffee with milk I’m basically hungover and I want something sweet, so let’s go for a sweet coconut milk with a chocolatey coffee base.
So why did Grind select oat milk as the plant based alternative for its ready-to-drink iced coffee?
We’ve always been about bringing the experience in our cafes to your home or office, and oat flat whites are by far our biggest alt milk seller. So it was a no-brainer where to start from, and the tests tasted great so here we are.
Howard Gill is the head roaster at Grind. Following a degree in Natural Sciences, it could be said that Howey took the natural next step of starting a band, and getting a job in a coffee shop. Since then, he’s made coffee across the country, roasted a whole lot of the Grind House Blend, and started several other bands.