The Impact Of Milk In Your Coffee

Nothing quite beats waking up to the strong, delectable aroma of freshly brewed java. You may not be ready for the day but that first cup of coffee will get your mind revved up and your energy kicking. Most adults rely on the caffeine fix in the morning while they rally the kids for school and prepare for their work day. Every coffee drinker has a special concoction they rely on to enhance the flavor of their personal brew.

There’s sugar, different flavored creamers, and the overlooked use of milk. Many are unaware of the impact that milk can have on coffee. Milk can be one of the strongest staples to add to your morning routine. There are a few cons to using dairy but there’s also an enormous list of fantastic benefits in the taste bud arena.

Benefits Of Milk

We’ve all heard the major benefits of drinking coffee black from lowering your risk of certain cancers to being in the low range of about two calories per cup. However, most don’t enjoy the bitterness or intensity of plain, black coffee. Flavored creamers are high in transfats and sugar is full of calories that add no nutritional value.


That’s where milk can come in. Milk is made mostly of fats and proteins that can amplify a cup of coffee and also provide a sweetened taste to your day. These specific fats in milk are commonly referred to as “milk fat globules.” They create bonds that counteract the bitterness that we’ve come to expect from coffee.

So, for those of you that don’t enjoy the bitter taste, milk may be the perfect ingredient to add to your caffeine boost. The fats are what make the coffee smoother going down, making it a thicker texture to savor. They also create a coating that protects your throat and stomach from the acidity of the coffee.

The two biggest proteins in milk are casein and whey. The higher the protein, the more amazing the foam becomes—and who doesn’t love a bit of foam on their morning coffee? When the milk is heated, the proteins fuse to the coffee. This is what creates the silky taste that’s adored in cappuccino and lattes.

The Downside

There are, of course, a few negatives to using milk in your coffee. Milk tends to be healthier than most choices but it still isn’t necessarily good for you. If you are looking to cut calories and lose weight, milk isn’t the best to use for this. A cup of whole milk is 146 calories alone.


If you use only a tablespoon or two of milk with your coffee, you have no need to be worried but using generous amounts of milk in several cups of coffee a day isn’t the greatest considering the saturated fat in milk. Saturated fat has a high amount of bad fatty acids that can raise your cholesterol.

Certain grades of milk—whole milk especially—have lactose sugar that is difficult for many to digest due to an allergy or lactose intolerance. You can substitute whole milk with skim milk, which has fairly fewer calories and unsaturated fat. However, skim milk is known to make the texture of coffee watery.

You should also pay close attention to permeates. Using milk that has too many added permeates has less of a sweet taste and flimsy foam. Permeate is considered to be the lactose, the vitamins, and the minerals that make fresh milk tasty. By adding more permeates and standardizing it through a filtration system, it keeps the fats and proteins at their best composition to sell but not the best to add to coffee. 

Best Types Of Milk To Use

There are many different types of milk to try, such as goat’s milk and coconut milk. However, in this article, we will concentrate on dairy milk. Whole milk is the go-to milk in most coffee shops unless a different type of milk is asked for. This is because whole milk contains about 4% milk fat, which delivers a delicious treat of foam, smoothness, and overall sweetness.

coconut milk

It has an even distribution of fats and proteins to improve your cup of coffee.  Low fat milk has more protein than whole milk and only about 2% milk fat. Skim milk has zero fat. This scarcity of fat creates a sweeter taste but doesn’t cover the bitterness as well as whole milk. The reason for the sweeter taste is that more often, artificial flavors are being added resulting in skim milk having more carbohydrates than the other grades.

It also has less volume, which is what makes your coffee watery. Organic milk is considered the healthiest of all cow produced milk. It’s free of hormones and antibiotics which is always a plus. Organic milk is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your heath. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower inflammation in your body and are heart healthy.


Don’t fear if you’re lactose intolerant or vegetarian—you have a couple of choices as well! Soy milk is the most common alternative to dairy since it is less expensive. It has much less sugar than conventional milk but more protein. It can become watery and curdle when added to coffee so many coffee shops have special barista-style soy milk that keeps the smooth taste without a loss of density.

Soy milk

Almond milk is growing more popular as a dairy substitute. Unfortunately, it has less protein than normal diary but it has less calories. It foams wonderfully and comes in a variety of flavors. It’s also heart healthy and, as an added bonus, it’s great for your skin.


There are almost too many options for coffee lovers and it can get overwhelming. The dairy aisle is filled with a ridiculous amount of flavored creamers advertising that your cup of coffee just won’t be the same without them. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes and can cause an unexpected crash. 

Milk will always be an underrated classic staple for its complementary attributes with the coffee bean so try shaking up your coffee combo to see what really lights up your tongue.