This is a question we get all the time when out in the field conducting demos or during coffee service. “Should I add milk to my drip coffee?” or “Is it bad to add milk to my drip coffee?”. Our simple answer is it’s your beverage and you should enjoy it the way you like it. I’m writing this to briefly touch on the stigma behind adding milk to your drip coffee.
Let’s take a trip back to when specialty coffee first started gaining popularity. As the general coffee consumer started venturing out to specialty coffee shops where it looked more like a science lab than the coffee houses we were used to, we saw a change in service and price. The focus was put more on the purity of coffee, the roast, trade transparency and the origin of the bean. There weren't a lot of milk or cream options at the condiment bar and it was definitely a back to basics approach. Consumers were discouraged to put milk in their coffee, they were either told No! or looked down upon, as if adding milk to coffee was this shameful act.
The reality is, milk or cream is widely used by coffee drinkers throughout the world so the idea of not adding milk was new to a lot of consumers and with the emergence of specialty coffee breed a new wave of coffee drinkers that frowned on adding milk. The new wave encouraged others to drink coffee black. Drinking the coffee black would give you the consumer the opportunity to taste the roast profile, the level of acidity, the origin and the processing the coffee went through before export. In short, drinking the coffee black would highlight the labor of the farmers and the artistry behind the roasting process.
We have come a long way from the scarce milk options found at the condiment bar and have actually seen a surge of milk alternatives offered at our local coffee shops. Remember Taste is subjective and if adding milk to your coffee betters your coffee experience then, by all means, add your milk. Milk is a classic enhancer in some of the coffees traditional flavor notes such as chocolate, honey and nutty. Adding milk or cream to coffee enhances textures to the beverage and can tailor off or mask some bitterness you may not care for in your coffee.
Please be on the lookout for a blog coming to our site soon that will discuss steamed milk and the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.