You are signed out
Know Your Coffee


3 minutes

Non-dairy alternatives have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years. Where a lot of this interest is generated by those that are lactose intolerant, have health concerns or certain allergies, the world has also become more ethically aware which has led to a rise in veganism. These factors have seen many choosing to switch out the dairy for plant or nut-based alternatives, but there’s often the worry that many of these types have overpowering flavours which doesn’t always bode well when paired with coffee.

If you’re setting out on the path of veganism or just looking to make healthier choices, it’s likely that you’ll be wondering what the best non-dairy alternative for coffee is, that’s why we’ve created this guide to tell you everything you need to know.

dairy alternatives for coffee

What makes the best non-dairy alternative for coffee?

When choosing the ultimate non-dairy alternative for your coffee there are a few factors you’ll need to consider. Firstly, is the taste, each of the drinks in our list have a very distinct taste, some are sweet, others are bitter and a few possess strong flavours. Secondly, is the texture, each plant or nut-based drink has their own unique texture. Finally, you’ll also need to consider whether you like your drink steamed in your coffee too, as some will froth up wonderfully and others won’t at all!

Picture of table full of non dairy milks

1. Oat drink

Oat drinks are quickly stealing the show and are frequently hailed as the best non-dairy alternative for coffee on the market. Many have suggested that it’s pretty much a doppelganger for the original, albeit with a slightly oat-y tang to it. Rich and full-bodied, oat drinks are also relatively low in fat and don’t sacrifice too much protein which is often a concern with plant-based drinks. Additionally, it possesses a rich and smooth texture and can create a substantial foam, making it perfect for cappuccino and latte enthusiasts.

dairy free coffee

When choosing a non-dairy alternative for your coffee, remember that some are sweet, others are bitter or have other strong flavours. Also, each plant or nut-based drink has its own unique texture.

Coffee fact quote

2. Soy drink

Soy drinks have quite a substantial following and are probably one of the most known plant-based drinks on this list. It’s a great choice for those with nut allergies and it’s also more widely available than other alternatives, so it’s likely you’ll find it in almost every coffee shop or supermarket. It’s often considered one of the best non-dairy alternatives for coffee due to its neutral taste, high protein and low sugar and fat content. With that being said, it’s prone to splitting or curdling in coffee that’s of a high acidity or is very hot, therefore we suggest letting it cool slightly first to get the best result.

Dairy free coffee

3. Almond drink

This type on non-dairy drink is also extremely popular but many will find it an acquired taste due to its slight bitterness. It is low in calories, but it’s also low in protein and fibre, so it doesn’t hold as much nutritional value as other nut-based drinks. Almond drinks are best suited to lighter roasts with less acidity as it can be a touch too bitter otherwise, and it’s also prone to curdling (similar to soy) when paired with blends of a higher acidity. For those that love frothy coffees it’s also worth noting that the standard versions don’t froth too well, but there are barista specific types which have been developed for this reason.

Dairy free coffee

4. Coconut drink

Coconut drinks are an ideal choice for those looking for a slightly more exotic taste from their coffee. If you love the taste of coconut it’s likely you’ll find this one of the best non-dairy alternatives for coffee, but the flavour can be quite dominating so it’s not for everyone. The consistency is wonderfully thick and creamy so it won’t water your brew down and it can also be frothed, but it’ll produce larger bubbles than your standard options.

Dairy free coffee

5. Cashew drink

Cashew is one of the least nutty of all the nut-based drinks and is often favoured for its more neutral taste. Possessing a creamy texture, this non-dairy alternative won’t overpower certain blends and froths relatively well and produces larger bubbles, but if steamed too much it can become a bit soapy in texture!

dairy free coffee

6. Rice drink

Rice drinks are another great alternative, particularly for those with nut or soy allergies. Thought to be one of the best non-dairy alternatives for coffee, as it’s very light in flavour and quite neutral, allowing the taste of the blend to shine through. However, it’s also waterier than others so it’s likely to dilute coffee and due to this it also doesn’t foam, making it unsuitable for frothy coffees. A few choose to avoid rice drinks due to the lack of protein in comparison to other types.

Dairy free coffee

Today’s community favourites

Discover some of the most enjoyed articles from across the site
Explore Coffee Culture

Explore more articles on …