Half and half or non-dairy creamer, which is better for coffee?
Although black coffee is the easiest to taste its unique flavor, there are still many people who like to drink coffee with milk. The silky and rich milk aroma double up a rich taste. A cup of coffee with or without milk, the biggest difference would be in the taste. You can clearly feel the heaviness. Plus the fat contained in it, or the milk foam made by whipping. The coffee with milk will be smoother and upgraded. With so many dairy options on the market, it may be difficult to decide which one is best for your coffee. Let’s take a look at different dairy options for coffee in order to choose the most suitable one for your coffee.
Types of milk
The fat content of milk can greatly affect the taste and texture of coffee.
- Whole milk
The fat content of most milk is about 3.5%. Using whole milk with coffee can make the coffee taste sweeter and smoother than regular coffee. Drinking whole milk can also increase the intake of fat-soluble vitamins. The advantages are strong milky flavor; better retention of many fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, & K. Suitable for the crowd such as children, pregnant women, and adults.
- Reduced fat milk （2%）& low fat milk（1%）
2% fat is equivalent to 2/3 of normal milk fat content. 1% fat is equivalent to 1/3 of normal milk fat content. Using reduced-fat milk with coffee can reduce fat and calorie intake while adding flavor and texture. Vitamins are usually added to the ingredients of reduced-fat milk, because nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A and D) in milk fat will be removed along with the fat during the skim process. The advantages are retaining most of the nutrients in the milk and the taste is smooth and not greasy. Suitable for people who need proper control of blood lipids, and people who want to control fat intake to lose weight.
- Skim milk
Skim milk has most of the milk fat removed, and the fat content is usually between 0% and 0.1%. Because the fat is removed, the milk loses its natural fat-soluble vitamin content. Therefore, vitamins A and D are added to the ingredients. For those who are concerned about calorie intake, they can select skim milk powder. But it cannot provide a strong milky taste and smooth texture.
Types of cream
- Half and half
Half and half is half fresh milk and half fresh cream. The fat content is about 12%. Since it has more fat than milk, it can add a little richness to the coffee. Half and half is the best when you want something richer than milk but not as heavy as whipped cream.
- Light cream
Also known as “coffee cream” or “table cream”, light cream is about 20% fat. If whole milk or even half and half isn’t rich enough for you, you can try light cream. But it contains higher content of fat, which also means adding more calories.
- Whipping or light whipping cream
Whipping cream is 30-35% milk fat. It can be whipped with an electric whisk or whisk to make whipped cream and added to coffee, or used in soups and sauces. When adding light cream to soups or sauces and heating, light cream may become curdled. The good thing is that whipped cream is rich enough in fat to not curdle when heated in soups and sauces.
- Heavy (whipping) cream
Heavy cream is “cream containing not less than 36% butterfat”, it has a very similar texture to whipping cream, and both can be whipped into ice cream, and added to soups and sauces without the risk of curdling. The high fat content also means it’s more stable than whipping cream.
- Coffee creamers
In addition to the milk and cream mentioned above, creamers are also a common choice. They come in powder or liquid form and are used to replace milk or cream in coffee. Most of these products are dairy-free. In fact, they’re often not real cream at all, which is why they’re often called “coffee whiteners”.
- Non-dairy creamer
To achieve a mouthfeel similar to milk or cream, non-dairy creamers often use vegetable fats. Other common ingredients include corn syrup and other sweeteners or flavors. Non-dairy creamers come in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla, coffee, and hazelnut. Adding another flavor to your coffee. While it’s lactose-free, many brands contain milk-derived protein. This is why vegetarians sometimes avoid consuming them. The main difference between liquid and non-dairy creamer powder is how they are stored. Non-dairy creamer powder can be stored in your cupboard without refrigeration. On the other hand, most liquids require refrigeration after opening.
- Dairy-free coffee creamer
Many coffee creamers that are labeled “non-dairy” are not actually dairy-free. Non-dairy creamers often contain casein/caseinate, these products may be fine for many people who are lactose intolerant. But for people with milk allergies or sensitivity (casein is the most allergenic in milk protein) and those seeking dairy-free or vegan products may still be a problem. Common dairy-free creamers on the market are almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and soy milk, etc. As with other non-dairy creamers, you can often find a variety of flavors, including vanilla, hazelnut, natural almond, and coconut milk flavor. These creamers are not the same as milk or non-dairy creamers, but they do add a unique flavor to the coffee.