A Vegan Perspective: The Best Milk Alternatives for Vegan Coffees

Vegan Plant Based Milk

The popularity of veganism over the past decade has increased drastically with a seven-fold increase in interest in just 2 years.

With many UK consumers more conscious of the health and environmental impact of eating animal products, a wide range of dairy free alternatives have entered the market.

This movement towards a more sustainable, healthier diet has resulted in large-scale change across the food and drink industry and a flux of plant-based drinks can now be found in delis, supermarkets, and coffee shops.

Our post will explore some of the best vegan alternatives available for coffee, with tips and tricks on how to use them.

We will be focusing on plant-based milks in this article, however there are other vegan alternatives to pair with coffee, such as syrups and hot chocolate. Find some of our vegan products available from Adams + Russell later in this post.

What plant-based milks are available and what are the benefits?

Vegan products aim to reduce the environmental and ethical impacts of meat and dairy industries.

By offering an alternative, greenhouse emissions are expected to fall, less animals will be exploited for dairy products and more land will be available for other resources.

There is also an array of health benefits from consuming plant-based milks as they contain less saturated fat, a higher protein content and many nutrients.

Here is a list of the main vegan milk options available:


Soy milk is probably the most popular vegan milk alternative, even before the Vegan boom of 2018.

This delicious alternative is made by adding water to ground soybeans, then filtering out the remaining beans after being heated. Soybeans are also used to make tofu which is why soya milk has such a high protein content.

This also makes it relatively friendly to baristas, which is perhaps why it was the first plant-based milk to be seen in coffee shops.

Due to the high percent of protein, foam is able to be made easily and remains in the pitcher before pouring.

Soy also has a lighter taste, so it does not mask the flavour of the coffee, making it one of the best alternatives to add to your coffee.


Made by soaking sweet almonds in water, almond milk is a great vegan alternative for taste.

The nutty flavour of almond milk can complement some coffees very well and works great in hot chocolates and mochas.

Although low in protein, almond milk can steam very well if a little air is shaken into the carton before being dispensed into the pitcher.

Sweetened almond milk offers a richer taste for those wanting to indulge.


High in fat and electrolytes, coconut milk offers a rich flavour whilst being uber healthy.

As well as lowering cholesterol it can also improve digestion and alertness (which may not be necessary when added to coffee).

However, coconut milk can alter the taste of coffee and does not always cooperate with baristas. Some barista-edition coconut milks are available, which carry a thinner consistency making it easier to foam.


Now the most popular plant-based alternative for coffees.

Oat milk has a delicious sweet and satisfying flavour and makes a lush combination with coffee.

The oats are soaked in water, blended, and then filtered. It is important to note that gluten free oats are used in oat milk production which makes it suitable for coeliacs (always check before you order).

Oat milk is difficult to foam, but with a little shake it can make a good head start – always allow the pitcher to settle for a few extra moments before pouring which should stabilise the milk.

Tips When Using Plant-Based Milks

Many baristas will be used to using dairy and will have to adapt their approach when using some plant-based milk.

Barista edition oat and soy milks often have added stabilisers that prevent it from splitting. Despite this, temperature difference can often still cause this splitting so adding a dash of cold oat/soy milk to the espresso helps incorporate the two together.

Controlling temperature is also important, soy milk which is too hot will denature the proteins and again cause splitting – which is a revolting texture.

To perfect your coffee making skills, have a read of our article on how to make coffee shop beverages at home.

Vegan Products Available at Adams + Russell

Whether you are fully vegan or just a conscious consumer of meat and dairy, be sure to know that you can enjoy a hazelnut cappuccino that contains zero animal products.

However, make sure you always ask if your choice of drink is vegan before ordering. 

Some syrups contain dairy products and/or are made in factories containing dairy. 

Further information about the products listed can be found by following the links.

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