Which Non-Dairy Milk Tastes Best in Iced Coffee? We Tested & Tasted

August  8, 2017

The milk station at your local coffee shop is getting crowded. Where there used to be a few options—whole, half-and-half, and soy, if you were in a certain neighborhood—there's now a gang of beaked metal birds holding anything from coconut milk to almond milk to rice milk to oat milk to hemp milk to pea milk.

While you may have a specific attraction to one type—almond if you're allergic to soy, rice if you're allergic to nuts, oats if you're concerned about water usage—how do the non-dairy milks stack-up in terms of flavor and texture when stirred into your coffee?

We sampled cold brew mixed with four types of milk—soy, almond, rice, and coconut—to see how they compared. Here are our tasting notes:

We couldn't quite reach a consensus on the non-dairy milk of preference: Almond milk (especially since we used a vanilla-flavored version) made the coffee sweet and drinkable, while rice milk was less overpowering, allowing the coffee's flavor to come through. Soy milk made the coffee rich and thick, to the point of being "mouth-coaty," while coconut milk was more watery and did not interfere with the acidity of the coffee.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“On the rare occasion I want to add something creamy to my coffee, I will reach for either Califa brand coconut/almond creamers, or straight for full-fat canned coconut milk.”
— Jamie

So what about you: Which non-dairy milk sub do you prefer in your coffee and why? Tell us in the comments below.

P.S. If you're weirded out by the way soy milk separates when you add it to hot coffee (me too!), blame science: It's a product of the acidity and temperature of the coffee, which coagulates the proteins in the soy milk. To avoid the curdling, soy milk-drinkers recommend...

  • Choosing a less acidic coffee
  • Allowing your coffee to cool slightly
  • Warming your soy milk gently, but not above 140° F
  • Shaking up your soy milk container (and trying a different brand)
  • Adding the soy milk to your mug and then gradually adding the coffee
  • Dropping in the tiniest pinch of baking soda to the coffee before you add the soy milk (we haven't tried this one—let us know if it works for you!)

No Dairy? No Problem

How do you doctor your morning coffee? Tell us in the comments below!

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Natalie G. October 28, 2017
I love oat milk. Most coffee shops near me don't have it, but one does, and it's my favorite way to have a coffee. I've also found coconut milk lattes to be my favorite non dairy latte.
Rosa September 4, 2017
My favorite with coffee is hazelnut-rice milk!
Elan F. September 3, 2017
I think (homemade) macadamia nut milk is delicious in lattes.
Elan F. September 3, 2017
I think (homemade) macadamia nut milk is delicious in lattes.
Steven W. August 20, 2017
Do the coffee mate/international delight creamers count? I cut each quart with non-dairy creamer otherwise they are too sweet....
Ronda K. August 20, 2017
Silk Soy Milk - plain/unsweetened.
Jeannie S. August 19, 2017
Vanilla almond milk
Charlotte O. August 16, 2017
Total Oat Milk addict - particularly Oatly Barista Edition which is soooo good
FrugalCat August 15, 2017
Coconut milk (not canned, from the refrigerated section)
Michael L. August 15, 2017
Homemade Almond Milk with a tiny splash of pure maple syrup in a Iced Coffee is pretty close to perfection.
Lara August 15, 2017
Oat milk or macadamia nut milk!
Jen T. August 11, 2017
I just discovered Ripple pea milk, it's great! No sugar/carbs + good fats and 8g of protein per cup. Homemade cashew is a close second.
Lauren C. August 10, 2017
Either hazelnut milk or home made almond milk!
Emily August 10, 2017
Ripple Pea Milk is my fave in coffee if I really need something in it. Also my first choice for making dairy-free ice cream. It's creamy but doesn't overwhelm with it's own flavor the way soy, cashew and almond do (in my opinion), and I can actually find it at my grocery store.
Jack A. August 10, 2017
Hemp milk and hazelnut milk are the ones I like. Haven't tried cashew milk. From the comments your test was much too limited. Hope you try again with a broader range.
Medora V. August 10, 2017
My preference in non-dairy milks for nearly all purposes is cashew, preferably homemade. But since Starbucks hasn't gotten there yet, almond milk is acceptable.
krista B. August 10, 2017
Cashew milk is the bestest!!!! So so creamy.
Jamie August 9, 2017
Straight up black. I found any and all of the non-dairy milk alternatives make the coffee taste over-roasted. I spend good money on good quality coffee, and would much rather allow its full flavor profile to shine through.
On the rare occasion I want to add something creamy to my coffee, I will reach for either Califa brand coconut/almond creamers, or straight for full-fat canned coconut milk.
Yana A. August 9, 2017
Definitely oat milk. It adds a really nice nuttiness to the coffee, which I much prefer over the sweetness that dairy milk adds.
emkat August 9, 2017
CANNED COCONUT MILK. I know that isn't an option that would be found at a a coffee shop but at home it is so worth it. Takes a bit of stirring for cold coffee but it adds so much richness and the perfect hint of coconut flavor.