Friday, November 6, 2009

Coconut Milk Latte

Here's an easy way to Paleo-ify yourself - try coconut milk in your coffee instead of cow's milk!

Paleo people have their reasons for not eating dairy. For me, I discovered I was lactose intolerant at an early age... that is, until I stopped eating grains! It was just shy of miraculous that I could eat dairy products again. However, now that I am paying more attention to my diet, I have decided that I can live without milk (maybe not the occasional ooey-gooey slice of Brie or a nice Roquefort or California ripe chevre, but most of the time, yes).

So, if you're not eating dairy and you still want something creamy in your coffee, what do you do?

Well, for Paleo folks, bean-milk (soy) is out. So is rice and oat milk (grains!). Hemp milk would probably be OK, because it's a seed, but I have noticed that most of these milk-substitute products that come in Tetra-Paks also have added sweeteners (bleh), and sometimes weird ingredients in them, to boot!

Hence the coconut milk.

Now, I did experiment - I tried first using full-fat, canned coconut milk in my coffee one morning. It turned to a syrupy sludge (all the fat in the milk, I suspect). It would be amazing poured over a snow-cone, but not for me as a morning beverage. Seriously. I could have scooped it out of my mug with a spoon.

So the next day, after work, I stopped in at Whole Foods and bought a half gallon of So Delicious Unsweetened coconut milk (in the refrigerated case). It ain't cheap - here in Seattle, it set me back $4.69, but I think that is on par with some of the more exotic milk-substitutes (or raw milk, which is highly delicious, lasts about 3 days before curdling, and runs about $5-6 a quart in these parts).

The flavor is... great! It's a very subtle coconut flavor that is just barely noticeable, which I suspect that the manufacturer's removed some of the coconut's natural fat and replaced it with some stabilizers. I don't entirely agree with that, but they did maintain a pretty good profile of fats in this product. They also added a bunch of vitamins, which... whatever. I'm neutral on that.

The texture is slightly viscous, and it gives a mouth feel of having used half-and-half. I am sure the Original or Vanilla flavors are much more tasty, since they both have added cane sugar, but I am pretty happy with the Unsweetened. Plus, the Unsweetened has the best (i.e. no sugar!) nutritional profile out of the three (check the website for yourself).

I have a Starbucks Barista espresso machine in my condo, and I steamed the coconut milk in preparation for a latte a couple of days ago, and it was great! I took the coconut milk to 150 deg F, my standard temp for cow's milk, and nothing happened - it didn't curdle or separate or do anything weird.

So now I can enjoy my latte and be Paleo, too!

* I even went so far as to dump the remaining quart of organic, pasture-fed cow's milk down the drain... that is saying something!


  1. I love So Delicious Coconut Milk. I use the original, and it's great not only in coffee, but also in chai tea! And they have a new coconut milk creamer out now, too. It's incredible!

  2. Oo; thanks for the heads-up about the creamer - I'll have to check that out! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I am going to introduce coconut milk to my little espresso stand (for the gym members next door), appreciate the light you have shed on the subject