In 2018 I suffered from immense stomach problems. Every morning I would wake up with an intense stomach ache and be toilet-ridden for almost an entire hour thanks to bloating and constipation. As silly as it sounds, it did have a genuine impact on my life. I was late to classes, cancelled plans with friends, and lost a serious amount of weight from not eating.
I did everything I thought was right at the time. I saw doctors for blood tests to check for food allergies. They couldn’t find anything. I went off gluten, I even started drinking different alternative kinds of milk. Nothing really helped. Then after a long few months, I found out it was anxiety.
The moral of the story there was that after trying every type of alternative milk I could get my grubby little hands on, every day I mourned the loss of being able to order a simple full cream latte.
I don’t want to diminish anyone else’s reasoning for drinking alternative milk. Whether it’s a personal preference for taste, your body having an intolerance to lactose, or you met a cute goth girl in an Aldi and now you’re in too deep, I can’t judge. All I can speak from is my own personal experience.
But have you tried to make a cup of tea with almond milk before? If you have, I’d like to extend my sincerest condolences, your pain is valid. If you haven’t, imagine drinking a nice cup of tea with the consistency of extra-pulp orange juice. That’s right, the heat of the tea breaks the almond milk down, leaving these white follicles floating around everywhere. At my lowest, I convinced myself this was okay because it was better for my body. It wasn’t – and I deserved better.
So what makes cow’s milk the superior milk for coffee? In short, consistency, texture and flavour.
At the bottom of the tier for me is almond milk. The flavour is all wrong and can be so unpleasant. It’s also such a thin milk that doesn’t carry any volume with it. Whenever I would order an almond milk latte like Chidi from The Good Place I could see the life behind the barista’s eyes fade as they prepare to make whatever unholy abomination I just ordered.
Soy milk is also an acquired taste. I think it’s fine in iced coffees and drinks as it can enhance the flavour a bit, but within coffee? I always felt like it was a bit strong, and would have a strange aftertaste. Something vegan Redditors would validate me on. Because soy milk is so varied, depending on which soy milk your barista is using, it can be very hit-and-miss, and when it comes to coffee, you need that consistency.
Oat milk I will say is genuinely very good and is a great substitute for an iced coffee or extra hot latte. Some naysayers will dispute oat milk, however, saying that it is a type of super sugar. While this is true, it’s not predominant enough to impact your diet in any significant way, however if your decision to drink oat milk is based on prioritising your body’s needs, then it might be something worth considering.
At the top of the ladder is glorious cow’s milk. The thiccest and creamiest coffee you can get your hands on. For lactose intolerant folk, unfortunately, cow’s milk can contribute to an upset tummy, though cow’s milk also comes filled with nutritional value. The old 90s commercial aren’t wrong, milk is rich in calcium, helping our bones stay healthy, while also including ten other essential nutrients that promote general health.
Recent scientific studies also revealed that milk contains other components that help our bodies like whey protein, sphingomyelin and conjugated linoleic acid. And according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, milk helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer.
Skim milk and lactose-free milk for coffee are also nice alternatives for coffee, if you’re looking to have a coffee that’s lighter and has an airier consistency if you’re not looking for anything too heavy at 3pm when your brain is slowly switching off. They also retain some of the nutritional benefits of regular milk, so it can be beneficial for a diet.
At the end of the day though, what milk you choose to drink is your choice, be it taste, diet or comfort.
Image Credit: The Boys