So, you’ve made the decision to switch to soy milk — congratulations! Soy milk is a fantastic alternative to dairy milk products, providing high nutritional content, a great taste and contributing to a reduction in your environmental footprint. What more could you want?
The next step is implementing soy milk into your daily routine, which for many people really only means one thing — coffee. Soy milk and coffee can sometimes be a tricky combination to get right, particularly if you are accustomed to using cow’s milk to provide a certain kind of froth and flavour. So, what is the best soy milk for coffee?
Don’t stress; with a few tips and tricks, before too long you will be wondering how you ever lived without soy!
What is soy milk?
Soy milk is made from — you guessed it; the soybean. Soy beans are soaked before being boiled, ground up and filtered. It can be drunk in a raw form or be sweetened and flavoured.
Soy milk is the only plant-based milk alternative that provides you with all nine essential amino acids, and so is a fantastic choice if you are looking to move away from dairy but are concerned with your nutritional uptake. It contains less saturated fat and calories than regular cow’s milk and so is better for your waistline, heart health and cholesterol levels.
Soy milk is one of the most popular non-dairy milk alternatives, which makes it an excellent choice for coffee drinkers.
The all-important taste
Being one of the oldest plant-based types of dairy milk-alternatives available, soy milk manufacturers have had a lot of time to develop a great tasting product. Soy has a notably neutral flavour, and so is unlikely to comprise the flavour of your coffee beans. It is a relatively creamy product, so can mimic the froth provided by regular cow’s milk.
Soy is also a great non-dairy option if you’re ordering a coffee whilst out and about — baristas tend to have a lot of experience using it and are unlikely to cause it to curdle or burn.
You want that creamy froth, right?
Soy milk has a reputation for being difficult to thicken and froth, due to its chemical makeup. It is particularly sensitive to heat — protein does not mix well with high temperatures as it causes amino acid bonds to degrade. This is a very fancy way of saying that if you heat your soy milk too high, all you are going to get is a curdled mess (also true of cow’s milk).
That’s not to say a soy-milk foam is impossible, quite the contrary! It just takes a little bit of knowledge and practise. Keep reading for some expert tips on crafting the best soy milk for coffee.
Tips and tricks for the perfect foam
- Make sure you refrigerate your soy milk and shake the carton well before use.
- Be gentle and do not introduce too much air too quickly when foaming. Over-aerating soy milk can make it difficult to deal with.
- Temperature is very important. The optimal temperature at which to heat your soy-milk is between 60–65℃.
- Pour your milk into the coffee quickly and smoothly. Too slowly and you risk the hot coffee curdling the soy.
Other plant-based options
If you’re looking to broaden your taste palette, there are plenty of other plant-based milk variations out there. One of the most popular choices for coffee is almond milk. Made from filtered water and almonds, it has a distinct nutty flavour and rich texture, and can come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties.
Similar to soy milk, when used in coffee almond milk has its own preferences concerning temperature and level of aeration. It is an excellent option for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
Soy milk (and other plant-based alternatives, such as almond) are a great choice if you are looking to cut back on your lactose intake, looking for the best soy milk for coffee, concerned about the environment or are simply eager to sample different flavours and textures in your morning cup of coffee.