Does Coffee Need Milk? (Milk or No Milk?)

Adding or not adding milk in coffee depends on individual preference.

You will not be surprised to know that about  166.63 million 60 kilogram bags of coffee are consumed worldwide. That’s a huge number!

So if many people around the globe are addicted to this energy drink, it makes sense that there are thousands of ways coffee gets brewed or made every day worldwide. 

Some people love to add milk, while others hate the idea of it. In the coffee world, a negative stigma for some reason surrounds people who insist on adding milk to coffee. But in short, it’s really all about personal preference and perhaps underlying health conditions that determine whether you need milk in your coffee or not.

But let’s be genuine, certain types of coffee get enriched with flavor and nutrients by adding milk. On the flip side, there are types of coffee that get an odd taste if you add milk to it.

How do you prefer your coffee, with milk or without milk? Keep reading to know whether coffee does need milk. 

Is Coffee Better Without Milk?

People who can handle the naturally bitter taste of coffee and enjoys it can safely say coffee is better without milk. People who are lactose intolerant will do better with coffee without milk.

However, people whose taste buds are sensitive to the bitterness of coffee would probably be better off with milk in their coffee.

You also must have experienced that milk products are flat-out refused or were unavailable while ordering coffee from a coffee shop. 

Well! Not every coffee tastes good with adding milk. There are times when you take coffee without milk and you can still experience delectable and natural sweetness. 

If we consider the amount of work and effort in making a cup of coffee, from harvesting to roasting to brewing and making it delicious and even a latte art on the cup of coffee, it is quite time-consuming.

This is the reason some people and coffee professionals get frustrated by the idea of even adding milk into their coffee.

You see, buying an expensive and delicious coffee and then adding milk or creamer is the same as ordering a costly meat dish from an expensive hotel and adding ketchup all over it. (I don’t have anything personal with those who love ketchup on their meat). 

So what I want to say is you can add milk if you’re going to, but it really isn’t a must. 

Can I Drink Coffee Without Milk?

Milk in a jar-like glass with a bunch of cookies

You can drink coffee without milk, especially if you can handle coffee’s originally bitter taste.

The answer to this question depends on a personal approach. You don’t need to add milk if you enjoy your coffee without it just because everyone drinks it with milk around you.

However, some coffee beans are intense in bitter flavor that requires milk to taste better. Milk contents like fat and protein enhance the brew flavor even more. 

If we are talking about espresso or coffee americano, their beans are perfect for brewing without any milk or sweetener. The natural bitter taste makes them unique, so you can’t kill their natural flavor by adding milk.

Also, it is recommended that people who want to lose weight should drink coffee without milk, cream, or sugar. All of these additives contain a lot of calories.

Espresso has 3 calories, and brewed has 5 calories in total. However, adding sugar to your coffee can add 16 extra calories per tablespoon to your cup of coffee. 

Does Milk Reduce Caffeine in Coffee?

Milk doesn’t reduce the caffeine in coffee. However, it does the following things when adding to coffee:

  • Prevent coffee from staining your teeth
  • Add carbohydrates
  • Neutralize the coffee acids
  • Boost nutrient content of coffee
  • Lower the coffee temperature

Some types of coffee are suited better with milk. The roast level determines the intensity. For example, a light roast’s taste will be drowned out by adding milk. But if you add milk to dark roast, it will taste much better and a little sweeter. 

Here is a table of types of coffee that blends well with milk or not:

Types of coffeeBlend with Milk or Not
DecafGood. medium-dark roast bend with milk well 
Light RoastNot really. The only way you can enjoy milk with a light roast is when it is cortado or macchiato
ColombianGreat. Blend with milk well and taste excellent
Espresso Blend Perfect. Much creamier and smoother when mixing with milk, same as a dark roast.
Indian Excellent a little milk can enhance earthiness and spice flavor in Indian coffee
Intense RoastGood. Intense roast blends well, but I recommend taking it as black espresso.
Half CaffPerfect. Blend with milk and create rich fruit and sweet syrup taste 
HonduranPerfect heavy chocolate gets the blend and creates an excellent taste.
Type of coffee that goes well with milk

Is It Bad To Drink Coffee With Milk?

different types of coffee with milk in it

Unless you’re lactose intolerant, milk isn’t bad for coffee.

Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants such as polyphenols. Antioxidants keep the body healthy. 

Nestle conducted a study on whether milk affects this antioxidant in coffee or not. The result shows that milk doesn’t affect these components in any way. They found an equal amount of polyphenols in black coffee and coffee with milk.

However, you need to know that there is a right and wrong way to add milk into your cup of coffee. 

Let’s discuss how to make milk suitable for your coffee.

The three main components of milk are protein, fat, and sugar—these components impact our cup of joe by improving the texture and flavor of the coffee.

Protein 

Protein can be found in milk bonding. Milk that contains higher protein content tastes much better in flavor than those with more minor protein compounds. Isn’t it interesting to know that protein in milk helps make the better form in cappuccinos and lattes? 

Coffee professionals create milk form by heating protein molecules that add air into the milk. Heating helps bind the parts of milk to gives coffee a nice texture and shape.

Fat

The thick and silky texture of milk comes from its fat content. Professional barista’s always opted for whole milk because it produces the richest texture and flavor. 

Sugar

Lactose or sugar, when breaking down while heating, creates sweeter compounds. If you try hot milk without any sugar, you will experience a better and scorched taste.

Keep the temperature of the milk or milk sugar below 140 °F (60 °C). This way, coffee sweetness gets enhanced subsequently. When you overheat (above 140), the milk gives a scalding sweetness, which alters coffee itself. 

You need to look at other factors before you add milk into your cup of coffee so that it doesn’t ruin the coffee.

Temperature

Never add cold milk into a hot cup of coffee. You will ruin the flavor of the coffee. Keep the temperature of milk the same as coffee when you mix both. 

Takeaway

Some people feel more comfortable with the addition of milk to their coffee.

Whether it is for health reasons or simply because they enjoy the sweet taste of milk combined with the bitterness of coffee, it really is no place for me to judge.

People add things to coffee all the time, sometimes even weird things we don’t consider normal! (Click here to find out!) But at the end of the day, it’s just a cup of coffee with a little something in it to spice the flavor.

Nothing to go crazy about.  

Coffee with milk can also affect people’s health. Watch the video below to know more!

To conclude, there are two types of coffee lovers: those who add milk and those who don’t. But, I would suggest that they should still try both to experience a new way of enjoying coffee!

Some people enjoy milk with coffee out of habit, and if they’re open to try a new coffee, they should start by reducing milk and sugar intake in their cup of coffee. On the flip side, those who like their coffee brewed without milk should know that some roasts taste much better when adding milk to them. 

It’s actually more about personal preference. Although, trying something new can take your coffee experience to the next level!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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