You’re the Vegan Cream in My Coffee
The following article was written by Leigh-Anne Dennison.
Veganism is largely about getting from point “O” (omnivore) to point “V” (vegan) with minimal disruptions to daily routines and maximum sustainability for this compassionate lifestyle choice.
For some, it is easy to drop ingredients or menu items from their diets, while others may need more time to experiment with alternatives. For example, it was relatively simple for me to substitute agave syrup for honey, raw vegan sugar for the regular white stuff, and vegan cream or milk in my tea (especially in a world where soy chai lattes are now available in many big-name coffeehouses—yum!). Switching out the milk and cream in my coffee has been another story.
Hopefully, my experience and the resulting tips will help you make the switch for life:
- Read labels. Before diving into the suggestions, it is important to note that many manufacturers call products “nondairy creamers,” but they still contain animal ingredients. The use of the word “nondairy” in the following tips, though, refers to vegan substitutes.
- Start with a high-quality coffee. Cream (and/or sugar) is often used to mask the acidic, bitter, or burned flavors of cheap or over-roasted coffee varieties. Also, avoid freeze-dried, crystallized “coffees.” Cold brewing also works well to reduce the acidity that most offends the taste buds. If you’re starting with a better coffee, you may need less “cream.”
- Try light vanilla soymilk as a first step. It is one of the most readily available—and often affordable—types of vegan milk, and it’s carried by the vast majority of grocery stores today. To my palate, the vanilla adds just a hint more sweetness than plain soymilk, making it seem similar to the sweetness of the cow’s milk or cream that most of us are accustomed to tasting in our coffee.
- Variety isn’t just the spice of life! Nondairy creamers are a matter of personal preference, so experimentation is key. There are a variety of other nondairy milks and creamers on the market today—including almond, rice, and coconut milks. Sales or coupons are a good way to try out a variety of brands before settling on the one that makes your cup of Joe a joy.
- If never hurts to ask! If you frequent local coffeehouses, you may find that they stock one or more nondairy options now that there is greater awareness of lactose intolerance, gluten allergies, etc. Even if they don’t now, asking them may prompt some—especially small local businesses—to begin carrying a small supply to meet (your demonstrated) demand.
- Speaking of asking—ask others for recommendations. At the top of my list is So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. For me, it hits the mark on both flavor and texture, and I know I’m not alone in favoring it.
- Finally, flavored coffees are your friends. While not a huge fan of strongly flavored coffees, I have found that it is helpful in initially adjusting to vegan cream options. Choose a subtly flavored variety such as cinnamon, vanilla, or mocha. If full-on flavor-infused varieties are too strong for you, mix half a regular cup with the flavored variety to keep it from overpowering your beverage.
Hopefully these tips will help other aspiring vegans or newbies on their journey to veganism. So far, chocolate vegan milks for café mochas are my favorite, but I’m always on the lookout for other delicious alternatives. Do you have other tips for making the switch? Tell me about them!