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Milk is an important ingredient in coffee and espresso-based beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes or your everyday morning coffee. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA) National Coffee Drinking Trends 2018 report, half (50%) of past-day espresso-based drinkers drank coffee yesterday that was both whitened and sweetened. Keeping a pulse on the latest milk trends will help you deliver the beverages your customers want and may create Instagram-worthy photos that create excitement around your beverage offerings.
Here are the top 3 trends in milk for coffee and espresso-based beverages that you can implement today:
1. Offer Milk Alternatives
Oat, soy, coconut and almond milk
There are a variety of reasons customers want alternatives to milk (dairy) including allergies, intolerances, dietary restrictions, and a desire to customize beverages and try new options.
According to a recent article in USA today, the FDA may soon require milk alternatives (i.e. plant based “milks” such as soy and coconut) to change the way they label their products because they do not comply with the definition of milk. The FDA defines milk as coming from “the milking of one or more healthy cows”. Before any enforcement can occur, the FDA will need to develop guidance to notify companies of the change and ask for public feedback which may take a year or more. (Source: USAToday.com, “FDA May force soy and almond ’milk’ companies to change labeling”, July 19, 2018).
When offering alternative options, it is important to note that milk alternatives can curdle due to coffee’s high temperature and acidity. One idea to try: Warm the milk alternative prior to adding to hot coffee.
Here’s a list of the most popular milk alternatives and their key features when adding to hot coffee or steaming for espresso-based beverages:
- Oat Milk– A new alternative that is gaining attention in coffee shops in the US. Rich, creamy texture when steamed that doesn’t overpower the coffee
- Goat Milk – Fewer people are allergic to goat’s milk and it is easier to digest than diary. Not available on a wide scale yet
- Hemp Milk – Steams well, but the foam dissipates quickly. Not available in all areas
- Cashew Milk – Produces a loose foam with lots of bubbles
- Rice Milk – Foam is thin and watery
- Soy Milk– Foams well and adds a nutty flavor to the beverage
- Almond Milk – Easy to foam, but it can separate. Environmental concern: One almond requires one gallon of water to grow so some are looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives
- Coconut Milk – Strong flavor that may overpower coffee with foam that dissipates quickly
2. Create Visually Stunning Latte Art
Millenials and Gen Z assign more importance to personal experiences than they do materials items. It is more important than ever to make sure that your offerings provide a new, exciting experience to keep them coming back.
Trends to watch: Adding color to lattes and cappuccinos, 3D latte art or glitter to make your signature drinks more memorable.
Add Some Color:
By adding drops food coloring to steamed milk, the possibilities are endless to create striking, Instagram worthy lattes and cappuccinos.
Latte with 3D foam
A Whole New Dimension in Latte Art:
Using a spoon, scoop foamed milk on top of a cappuccino or latte to create a 3D character. Shape art with the back of the spoon or a toothpick. Decorate by dipping the end of a toothpick into food coloring or espresso to add color (and personality) to the creation.
Cappuccino with purple edible glitter
Add glitter to an espresso shot in a cup and then add steamed or foamed milk to make a sparkly creation that looks as good as it tastes.
IMPORTANT: Before using glitter on cappuccinos, lattes, read the label to confirm the glitter is edible. According to the FDA web site: “Common ingredients in edible glitter or dust include sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin, cornstarch, and color additives specifically approved for food use, including mica-based pearlescent pigments and FD&C colors such as FD&C Blue No. 1. Most edible glitters and dusts also state “edible” on the label. If the label simply says “non-toxic” or “for decorative purposes only” and does not include an ingredients list, the product should not be used directly on foods.”
3. Top Iced Beverages with Cold Foam
Iced cold brew coffee with cold foam
Cold foam is created by blend or whipping cold milk or a milk alternative until it is smooth and creamy. Cold foam is used to top iced or frozen beverages such as an iced latte, iced cappuccino or iced cold brew coffee.