There is more to coffee than Coffee Beans

20 February 2020

There is more to coffee than the coffee beans. Why are we even talking about coffee on a tea blog site? Because sometimes even the most ardent tea lover feels like something a little different. For me that is a nice cup of coffee with a special milk which makes it different. It also fits the “healthy” tag.

I never dreamt I would be a coffee a day person. Nor did I think the type of milk in my coffee would be such a big discussion point.   Finding the right milk can add huge value and pleasure to the coffee beans

 It was well on in my life before I even started to drink coffee. Not that I didn’t like the flavour of coffee. I have always loved a good coffee sponge roll.

I preferred a baby chino

When I went out for coffee with friends I used to ask for a cappuccino with plenty of froth and chocolate. Some baristas would ask if I wanted a child’s “fluffy” or baby chino as they are known these days.  I would say “yes, that’s it as I don’t really like coffee. I am just being sociable.”

On top of that the words latte, flat white, long black terrified me. I had no idea what they were.  I also needed milk well disguised to be able to stomach it.

Once I realized my body and my mind had minor intolerance to cow’s milk I started experimenting with other milks.

As I was trying to find a way to join the coffee brigade my milk discovery journey was purely about my taste preferences.  Occasionally I would consider health benefits. Rarely did I consider the type of coffee beans being served. However key priority was to figure out a way to drink coffee. It seemed like the sociable thing to do.

So many different ways to take your coffee

I had grown up with a mother who drunk tea only. My father also drunk strong black tea but liked very strong black coffee with a good shake of salt. Admittedly this was in the 1960s where instant coffee was the main way to take your coffee!  Apparently the salt neutralizes the bitterness and acidity. It may have needed it more then.  I digress.

Now I know there are so many different ways to have your coffee.  Cappuccino, mochaccino, latte, flat white, macchiato, long black are some. You can add flavours like vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate.  I counted out straight black as it was just too strong to stomach.

I am a sucker for chocolate. Therefore, it seemed something with chocolate added was going to help disguise the coffee and milk. At last I had some options. Next, we had to sort out the milk.

I tried skim milk, lactose free milk, soy milk………

Maybe the fat/ cream on top of full cream was the issue. Therefore I tried skim milk. So I would ask for a skim milk cappucino with chocolate rather than cinnamon and if possible some marshmallows. I would have to say this quietly as it seemed weird having skim/skinny milk but having chocolate and marshmallow. Not exactly a good diet tactic. Anyway, I found I was leaving half the cup of coffee. That was a waste and I was dissatisfied. What could I try next?

Next, I tried SOY Milk.  I found the different brands were quite different in taste. One café I would like it, just, then another café it would taste foul. It depended on the brand of milk. So that didn’t work for me. I didn’t persevere.

The thought of lactose free milk didn’t appeal to me as it still seemed like milk.  No further discussion (in the mind that is) on that.

Special dispensation for milk

I had never liked milk from childhood. Furthermore, I don’t recall ever having it at home as a child.  We were forced to drink milo in the school hall at lunch time during the winter.  Also had to try and drink warm bottles of milk in the summer. When I went to boarding school I had to get special dispensation not to eat the many milky desserts on offer. I used to sit at the table dry reaching as the spoon approached my mouth. Call it a mind thing but that’s how it goes.

I fell upon Coconut milk while running our own café and used it in baking as well as coffee. It is very acceptable in a coffee and very tasty in an iced chocolate or milkshake.  It can be difficult to froth up. That’s my second choice just now for coffee and first choice for smoothies.

Is it gluten free

Oat milk is a vegan alternative to dairy and suitable for those with nut allergies.

Most Oats are gluten free but not always processed in a gluten free environment so I steer clear of oat milk despite its other apparent health benefits. I ordered one for my partner recently and between us we decided we could manage that if no other milks were available.  It certainly didn’t spoil the coffee.

Nut milks with coffee beans

Nut milks are so popular you are unlikely to find a café without at least one type.

The most common one they reel off is almond.

Even though I like to eat almonds the smell of almond milk puts me off my coffee.  The flavor detracts from the coffee itself. 

We had several people buying almond coffees in our café. We would ask them their reason for having it. I don’t recall anyone saying it was because of the flavor. They generally had it because of a dairy allergy or intolerance.

Macadamia – the Queen of Nuts

Our first taste of Macadamia Milk was at a tea and coffee festival expo in Melbourne. It was very pleasant to drink even on its own. Soon after this we had enquiries from regular customers for this milk in their coffees. So, we started recommending Macadamia Milk. I am yet to come across anyone who has not liked it once they tried it. You would expect it to be the younger generations to go for newer trends but we even had an 85 year old regular who made the change from lactose free milk.

Macadamia nuts are a popular treat here in Australia.  Macadamia milk is smooth and no strong flavor so the coffee which I am now quite fond of, and chocolate if having a mocha, are able to come through.  I have become a very big fan of Macadamia milk.  Although a Macadamia coffee is usually a little more expensive than others it is well worth it.

It is slightly creamy. An experienced barista is able to froth it and make a delicious mochaccino easy to drink.

I add a marshmallow as a treat and to slightly sweeten it although it doesn’t need that.

Now I may be addicted to coffee……….

Finally, I have found the perfect milk for my coffee.

We walk to our favourite café every day and I have a small maca mocha.

However, after 3 years running our own cafe  and making my own maca mocha each day I am fussy. Well, I can identify places I prefer to buy my coffee from. It could be the coffee beans they use or it could be the way they steam the milk.   Believe it or not a lot of things go into making a good coffee.

It has to be made with love to the individual drinker’s liking. An exceptional barista discovers what that is!  That will get them repeat business. Don’t be afraid to give your barista feedback about the coffees you have from them.

What’s your preference for milk, coffee beans?

What type of milk do you like in your coffee? What impact do coffee beans being served have on your choice?

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