For everyone that has read my story and some of my blog’s, you will know that I am gluten and dairy-free. I have been dairy-free for 3 years+ and the range has expanded extensively within that time, particularly with the rise in veganism within the food community. My main reason for going dairy-free was due to the symptoms I faced after eating dairy which would be a bloated stomach and cramping, as my symptoms progressed I would generally be doubled up with pain a lot of the time. Milk never made up a large part of my diet but I used to have it in my coffee or tea throughout the day, therefore once I became dairy free I switched the milk I was using to dairy-free alternatives.
A common gripe between the dairy-free and vegan community is that the milk curdles when making a cup of coffee. I have always been fascinated that this is rarely the case when you buy a coffee from a barista. In this blog, I will cover the various brands and flavour’s of dairy-free milk and explain why the milk curdles and how we can prevent it.
The six main dairy-free milk alternatives are Almond, Soya, Oat, Coconut, Hemp and Rice Milk, other kinds of milk such as Hazelnut and Cashew have joined the market later on. If you like a creamy texture then soya and oat milk will be a better alternative for you. Almond, Coconut and Rice milk tend to be a thinner texture. I have tried all of them (only gluten-free oat milk) and they all have their pro’s and cons.
Both Soya and Almond milk come as sweetened and unsweetened alternatives and some brand’s such as Rude Health and Alpro sell organic versions of the milk. Depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have the sweetened alternative may be for you and if you are looking to kick the habit of putting sugar in your tea or coffee the sweetened milk could help you. As time has gone on various flavour’s of milk have come onto the market such as dark chocolate (delicious as a drink on its own), vanilla and strawberry.
If all the different milk’s and flavours were not enough to think about, there are so many different brands to choose from. So how do you know which brands are better than others? The truth is it is all trial and error, but by writing this blog I hope I can steer you in the right direction as to what to try first and to some of my personal favourites!
The main brand and dominant in the market in the UK by far is Alpro, the brand has been established for many years and is one of my favourite brands not only for dairy-free milk but particular their yoghurts and icecream also. Below are the main dairy-free milk brands you will see in the supermarket:
So why does dairy-free milk curdle in coffee? The milk curdles in coffee when the acidity and temperature are too high in the coffee, the coffee then acts as a blocker between the milk and the coffee itself, creating the separation. I use instant coffee, therefore I have found if you put the coffee in the mug first with only a small amount of boiling water, stir this, then add the dairy-free milk, stir thoroughly again and then add the remaining amount of boiling water this tends to help blend it better but I can still end up with it curdled and have to end up drinking my coffee with a spoon in it. As temperature seems to be the main culprit for the curdling this could be partly the reason why it does not curdle when we get a coffee from the barista’s as they set their machines to specific temperatures, and have frothing machines. I have found with tea it does not necessarily curdle but it turns the tea a slightly different colour to a ‘normal’ tea colour, which can be off-putting to start with.
Which are my favourite dairy-free milk’s? By far Alpro Organic Unsweetened Soya, Alpro Unsweetened Almond Milk and Rude Health Almond Milk are my top go-to dairy-free milk’s that do not curdle when making a cup of coffee (I hear the sigh of relief). The Rude Health Almond Milk has slightly more sugar than other almond milk on the market but I like the fact it has a thicker consistency to other almond milk’s. I tend to only drink Almond and Soya unsweetened milk’s when it comes to tea and coffee. My other favourite’s for a yummy drink that I treat as a milkshake are Innocent’s Hazelnut Milk and Alpro’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. It feels like you are having something naughty without the guilt!
What dairy-free milk have you tried, what are your experiences and what are your favourite dairy-free milk? Please sign up for an account to Gut Chat and let me know what your thoughts are on these products. I would love to hear your feedback!
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