Almond milk and coffee – how to get it right


Almond milk and coffee – how to get it right

Almond milk has become something of a staple on coffee menus in local cafes and restaurants over recent years. As a dairy free, paleo-friendly, low-calorie, gluten-free, high-protein milk option, it’s gained some street cred with the diet-conscious community across Australia. But while almond milk continues to rise in popularity among coffee drinkers alongside its soy and coconut milk counterparts, there are some that say that this nutty milk substitute will never compare to whole milk. The reason: it’s a little tricky to get the foam and the finish just right when combining almond milk and coffee. Here are our tips on getting almond milk right.

almond coffee and milk

What is almond milk?

Before we get into the ways you can make coffee with almond milk, we need to understand what almond milk is made of. Surprise surprise, almond milk is made from almonds, though perhaps not quite as much almond as you might think. The milk making process involves soaking whole almonds for up to 48 hours and then blending them with filtered water. Once blended, the almond pulp (flesh) is strained. Some almond milk brands have as little as 2 per cent almond content. This means that the other 98 per cent of your "milk" is water, emulsifiers, and perhaps some sweetener.

Does almond milk froth?

We’ve all experienced occasions when dairy-free milk simply refuses to foam or when a barista hands over a rather sad looking almond milk cappuccino with little more than a few bubbles resting on top. And while latte art and foam finish is not an essential element to a coffee, it’s certainly one of the most favoured parts of the coffee drinking experience.

Almond milk and other dairy-free alternatives are notoriously difficult to thicken and use for latte art, and this is because of their lower protein content. The low percentage of almonds within many almond milk brands means that quite often you’re trying to foam a milk that’s largely made up of water. But there is a way. Look for good quality almond milk with a higher percentage of almonds and follow the following steps.

How to make coffee with almond milk

  1. Give your milk carton a good shake before you get started.
  2. Pour the correct amount of almond milk into a foaming jug of an appropriate size.
  3. Begin texturising or stretching the milk immediately and stop once you see a creamy texture forming.
  4. Continue to heat the milk while letting as little air through as possible. Too much air creates a bubbly texture and will ruin your foam.
  5. Don’t overheat as this can lead to splitting when your milk hits your espresso shot.
  6. Pour slowly into your coffee to reduce the chances of splitting.

Note: Almond milk is most likely to split when served extra hot or when mixed with a double shot of espresso.

Almond milk is a particularly tricky coffee base and will likely take a few attempts to get right. For the best results you need to familiarise yourself with the milk responds to your individual milk frother, get to know the best type of almond milks on the market, and fine tune your timing. Remember, as with all milk foam, it is practice that makes perfect.

Need a simple solution to milk frothing?

Learn how to use a milk frother with our detailed guide.

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