Plant-based milks have become increasingly popular in the workplace due to concerns about sustainability, animal welfare, and health. These alternatives to dairy milk offer a range of options for people who may be lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply looking to try something new.
When it comes to choosing a plant-based milk for the office, there are a few key factors to consider.
What to consider?
- Affordability – Some plant-based milks can be more expensive than cow’s milk. It’s important to consider the budget you have for coffee and refreshments for the office
- Availability – This is another issue for plant-based milks, as they may not all be widely available, so it’s be best to choose a milk that you know is easy to get hold of for the office.
- Sustainability – If you’re a business that’s trying to reduce your carbon footprint or you’re working towards certain sustainability goals, it’s worth considering this when you choose your milk. Some plant-based milks have a smaller environmental footprint than cow’s milk.
- Taste – Not all plant-based milks taste the same, so it’s worth trying a few different types to see which one your office team prefers.
- How well it works in coffee – Some plant-based milks foam better than others and some are prone to curdling in your coffee.
Curdling occurs when proteins in milk react with the acidity of the coffee, causing the milk to separate and form unappealing clumps in your coffee.
Soy milk and oat milk tend to be the most stable in coffee and are less likely to curdle. This is because they have a higher protein content and a thicker consistency so hold up better in the presence of acid.
Almond milk and rice milk are generally less stable in coffee and are more prone to curdling. Coconut milk is also likely to curdle in hot drinks due to its high-fat content and thick consistency.
To help prevent your plant-based milks from curdling, you can try adding the milk to the coffee gradually and stirring constantly. Also, you can heat the milk slightly before adding it to coffee which can also help prevent curdling. This method also gives your coffee a smoother and creamier texture.
Which plant-based milk is right for the office?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular plant-based milks.
Soy milk – Soy milk is widely available and it’s relatively affordable. It has a neutral flavour not too dissimilar to dairy milk. Plus soy milk is high in protein so it’s a good choice for those looking for a protein-rich milk alternative. Soy milk also foams well so it works very nicely in coffee.
Almond milk – Almond milk is relatively low in calories and has a slightly nutty flavour. However, it doesn’t foam as well as soy milk, but it’s still a popular choice for those who prefer its sweeter taste.
Oat milk – Oat milk is the UK’s most popular plant-based milk and is simply made from oats and water. Brits spent a staggering £146 million on oat milk in 2020, which is up from £74 million in 2019. It’s the number one choice due to its creamy texture and delicious slightly sweet flavour. Oat milk foams so well in coffee drinks that it’s hard to tell the difference between oat and cow’s milk.
Coconut milk – Coconut milk is made from the flesh of coconuts and has a creamy, tropical flavour. It’s high in fat and calories, so it’s not the best choice if you’re calorie-counting. It doesn’t foam well and is prone to curdling so we don’t recommend coconut milk.
Rice milk – As the name suggests, rice milk is simply made from rice and water. Like many of the other plant-based milks, it has a slightly sweet flavour and is relatively low in protein. Again, it’s not great in coffee and you’ll likely find it curdles in your hot drinks.
Interestingly, there are more and more plant-based milks coming out all the time. You can now also get more obscure milks made from potato, pea, spelt, hemp, pecan, sesame seed, quinoa and lots more!
We’re here to help
We’ve been in the office coffee business for over forty years so if you need any help choosing your office coffee or milk for the team, get in touch. Ultimately, providing a variety of plant-based milks can be a great perk for employees and can help boost your workplace culture by catering to different dietary needs and preferences.