In the UK, coffee sales create £9.6 billion in revenue, a figure that is expected to increase to a huge £13 billion by 20221 and it’s well known that there is a growing market of dairy-free coffee drinkers looking for an alternative to cow’s milk. Expanding the milk offering in your hotel could ensure you are not missing out on this key group of coffee loving guests.

Give your hotel the edge over the competition

plant based lattes

The top three hot drinks for UK consumers are lattes, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate, so milk is a vital ingredient. When it comes to delivering the taste, texture and appearance that guests love, you need to choose a quality plant milk that can complete with the real thing.

Serving a high-quality cup of dairy-free free coffee has the potential to give your hotel the edge over competitors, helping you to capture a small army of loyal drinkers.

What dairy alternatives are available?

Did you know that over the last 6 years, sales of plant-based milk have doubled worldwide1? There are many alternatives to choose from:

Nut Milk: Common varieties include Almond, Hazelnut, Cashew. Usually made from blending nuts, adding water and straining.2

Soy Milk: A natural by-product of tofu production, this is made similarly to nut milk but uses soy beans.2

Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is the liquid from grated coconut flesh (rather than the liquid found inside the coconut, which is coconut water).2

Rice Milk: Rice Milk is usually made from brown rice that is pressed through a mill using diffusion to strain out the processed grains.2

Oat Milk: Production of oat milk is similar to other plant milks, where cereal grains are ground, soaked in water and strained.2

soy milk for coffee

Which dairy-free milk should I use to make coffee?

It can be a challenge to create coffees with plant milk due to the differing natural structure of the proteins in the milk. This can make it difficult to produce microfoam with small bubbles like with cow’s milk. We suggest using a dairy-free milk that is specially formulated for baristas to ensure it has a thick consistency and foams to a texture that is suitable for latte art.

We think that if you are going to try one plant-based milk, oat milk is a good one to start with. It’s a great alternative to dairy as it is suitable for anyone allergic or intolerant to lactose or nuts and appeals to those guests looking to limit saturated fat in their diets. The flavour is pretty neutral, so does not conflict with the flavour of the espresso and also means it is a good choice in tea as well.

Top tips for baristas using plant milk in coffee

Our National Coffee Excellence Trainer, Mark Hodovan, has some tips on how to produce great milk-based coffees using dairy-free milk.


1. Avoid cross-contamination
Make sure you use a separate, designated cloth and milk jug for your dairy-free milk, and always purge the steam arm before you start.

2. Heat to a slightly lower temperature
Heat dairy-free milk to around 55⁰C. Heating it above 60⁰C can break the bonds between the components that make up the milk, which can cause it to split.
It’s also a good idea to keep plant milk in fridge so that it’s cold and therefore slows down the steaming, allowing more time to texture it.

3. Introduce air at an early stage
Start incorporating more air at the beginning of the steaming process to ensure the right texture.

4. Try adding the coffee to the plant milk and steam them together
There are differing levels of acidity between the espresso and dairy-free milk. Adding the espresso to the milk jug and steaming them together (particularly with rice, coconut and nut milk) helps balance the acidity out.


If you’re looking for a dairy-free milk to try in your hotel, Minor Figures Oat M*lk is specially created by baristas for baristas and can be found in our Espresso Warehouse range.



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