It’s every non-dairy coffee lover’s wish: to have a smooth, silky cup of coffee made with almond milk at home. Almond milk curdles in coffee, which means you have to choose between lousy coffee or no coffee. It’s the eternal mystery – how to make coffee with almond milk.
There is a way to make it work though and coffee and almond milk can be the best of friends when made the right way. We’ll go through everything you need to know, as well as recommending some of the best almond milk for coffee at the end of this article.
What is Almond Milk?
- Almond milk is a dairy and lactose free milk alternative, which has become popular with the trend towards veganism. Those with dietary needs (such as lactose intolerance) no longer have to miss out and enjoy greater freedom of choice than ever before.
- Rich in vitamin E, low in GI, carbs and calories (when unsweetened), almond milk is available in a range of options to suit different tastes including sweetened, unsweetened and flavoured.
- Almond milk is made using the pulp of ground soaked almonds combined with filtered water and strained.
- It can contain added stabilisers and emulsifiers, with calcium and even protein occasionally used as additives.
- The manufacture of almond milk uses more water than other plant-based alternatives but takes up less space and produces lower emissions.
Why Does Almond Milk Curdle in Coffee?
So, why does almond milk curdle in coffee? And can you make coffee with almond milk without it curdling? To answer these questions, we need to understand the science behind it.
There are several reasons for almond milk and coffee not mixing in the way you’d expect. The main one is heat – almond milk is generally used very cold, and coffee hot. Add to this the difference in acidity (almond milk has low acidity, with coffee being higher). The result is a mixture which by its very nature will curdle – or ‘split’, as it’s sometimes called.
How to Stop Almond Milk Curdling in Coffee
Now that we know why the split happens, it’s possible to understand how to stop almond milk curdling in coffee.
Heat Milk & Cool Coffee
The difference in heat is the main reason for curdling. The solution is amazingly simple – the temperatures of the milk and coffee need to be more even.
To start with, make the coffee – this will allow it to cool a little while you prepare the almond milk.
Next, give the almond milk a good shake (make sure the lid is on!), then stretch and texturise the milk using a milk frother. Stop once the texture is creamy, as too many bubbles mean less foam. Remember not to overheat, then add slowly to the coffee.
Low Acidic Coffee
Acidity is another secret to creating the perfect almond milk coffee. It turns out certain types of coffee have lower acidity than others and are less likely to curdle when combined with almond milk. These include coffee grown at a lower altitude and darker roasts.
Use the Right Brand
Some brands of almond milk are specifically manufactured for use in coffee and therefore processed in a certain way to reduce the chance of curdling.
How to Thicken Almond Milk for Coffee
It’s simple to create a delicious homemade coffee creamer with almond milk – here’s how to turn almond milk into coffee creamer.
All you need to do is to blend coconut cream into the almond milk (start with about 20% by volume of milk used). It adds stability and will give a beautiful creamy foam top to the coffee.
If you don’t like coconut milk, processed coconut oil doesn’t leave a taste – you can even use unrefined extra virgin olive oil.
How to Make Almond Milk Iced Coffee
Almond milk iced coffee is prepared in much the same way as hot coffee, except the coffee needs to be cold, and you don’t need to heat the milk.
For a tasty twist, you could freeze black coffee into ice cubes and add to your drink once it’s ready – delicious!
Best Almond Milk for Frothing & Coffee
The best almond milk for frothing is one that doesn’t split easily. Surprisingly, such a thing does exist. Using the best almond milk for coffee will help prevent splitting and explains how the barista – and now you – can get a great cup every time. There are some great ones out there, as shown below.
This unsweetened milk is used in coffee shops and is formulated to texture and stretch with coffee. It’s specifically marketed as a “barista grade” option, suits all types of coffee, and has no artificial flavours.
It really is the best almond milk for coffee if you want something smooth that won’t curdle. If it’s good enough for top rated coffee shops is good enough for us but it’s widely available online so check the below links.
This almond milk is smoother and creamier than usual. It contains carrageenan as a thickener, is suitable for vegans, and when heated will give you a silky, low sugar coffee.
Again, this brand is specifically formulated for baristas and coffee, so you’re sure to get a great brew.
With added calcium, this milk is available in sweetened, unsweetened and flavoured options. Best for hot coffee (as it has a more watery texture) it still blends well.
This unsweetened milk contains 7% whole organic almonds, which yield a full flavour, pairing well with coffee.