Coffee Conundrum: Which milk is best for your brew?

It’s needless to say that the humble cup of coffee is deeply entrenched into the culture and daily routines of many Aussies. For me, it’s a necessity.

However, I often find myself in a constant predicament when locking down my order. Which version of cow’s milk ticks all the boxes? Y’know the taste, health benefits and steam-ability boxes? So, as a self-professed Melbourne coffee snob I thought I’d lay down some facts and comparisons for my fellow struggling java drinkers.

Instagram; @c_bass_netball

Low-fat dairy has been touted as the darling of the dairy world for as long as I’ve been drinking it. For me, ‘skinny’ milk is like the ex-boyfriend I keep going back to. I remember someone once telling me that when companies take the lipids (fats) out of milk they actually add more sugar in the process to cover up the horrid taste left after the removal. And what a load of bullocks that was! Lucky Sydney Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist, Robbie Clarke spoke to Huffington Post to clear up mine and maybe your misconceptions.

Although “you’ll absorb less of the nutrients in milk without the fat, particularly the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, A and E, the skim option contains less fat and by extension, calories — and works to keep your daily calorie count in check.” Clarke said. “On the plus side, the removal of fat means that skim milk is (also) slightly higher in protein.

And as for my little tale about the added sugar?
“This is not the case — it actually contains less sugars in total (most of which come from lactose) than full cream milk,” Clarke said.

Unfortunately when we move onto the barista’s poll, our ‘trim’ milk comes in second best or not at all. Fleur Studd, of Market Lane Coffee, was initially nervous about not offering customers skinny milk but says it hasn’t been a problem. “We have found that lower-fat milk is just not as delicious and the flavour, body and sweetness of the drink are compromised.”

Full Cream
If you haven’t been living under a rock you’d know that “full-fat” anything has had itself a bad name in the food game for quite sometime and according to health aficionado and I Quit Sugar writer Sarah Wilson, it hasn’t deserved it.

“Saturated fats (the type that makes up 62% of the fat in milk) are crucial for absorbing vitamins, calcium uptake, immune function, and cell membrane structure. Eating the right saturated fats leads to increased tolerance to the sun, skin issues like acne or eczema clear up, drastically increased energy, the absence of food cravings, and peaceful sleep.” Moreover, Wilson adds that fat is an incredibly satiating nutrient helping us to feel fuller for longer.

Move onto the steam-ability box and full cream milk gets the accolades. If you are talking to Jeremy Hulsdunk of Five Senses Coffee there is no contest. “You need to use full cream milk for a top quality cup of coffee. This is due in part to that other important ingredient in milk — the fat, or lipids, as they are known. Lipids add to the texture and mouthfeel of the resulting product, they also add a glossy, creamy appeal to the surface of the coffee.”

“The answer is very simple; you need to use full cream milk for a top quality cup of coffee.”
– Jeremy Hulsdunk, Five Senses Coffee.

kelsey coffee

As for all the others I haven’t addressed – Soy, Almond, Coconut, Macadamia and all the others – that’s a whole different ball game. One that I’d love to delve into next time with a bag of popcorn! So, if you’d like to hear more from me about nut and bean juices/mylks or if you have another topic you’d be keen for me to discuss please feel free to hit me up in the comments!

For the time being, I know you’re all DYING to know what kind of caffeinated brew I like to drink…

I’m complex and indecisive so it changes between a skinny flat white, a fat latte, a soy cap or a skinny mocha if I’m feeling extra cheeky!

Tell me, what’s your order?



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