Can You Brew Coffee With Milk? Useful Tips For Flavorful Coffee

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Most coffeeholic are familiar with strong black coffee as a caffeine kick starts for a whole day. Still, many prefer the use of a little milk in their coffee drinks. But can you brew coffee with milk instead of water?

Indeed, milk helps lessen the bitterness and put in an attractive creamy texture. This habit leads to a controversial question of whether it is possible to brew coffee using milk. Here comes your answer!

Can You Brew Coffee With Milk?

The direct answer is YES, we can do it but under some instructions. Although it is possible for you to brew coffee with milk, it is not always advised. After doing some experiments, we have discovered some problems that can disturb your drinking experience.

Using milk could cause some issues like curdling or over-sweetness. Creamy milk could easily turn into a chunky and thick liquid. Although it is okay to drink, it can be a little unappetizing for some people. These impacts are very marginal, so it’s your choice to decide what to consume. 

There are two ways that you can replace water with milk: Hot Brew and Cold Brew.

Hot Brew

Heat The Milk

Milk is very easy to burn if you set the temperature too high. Make sure it is boiling around 150°F by using a microwave or a saucepan. These two different ways of heating milk will have different processes. 

For microwave users, prepare a cup of cold milk and set the time around 1 minute. Depending on which microwave you are using, the time can alter, but at least 50 seconds is the suggesting time. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature every 20 seconds to ensure it doesn’t burn.

If it is a saucepan, try to heat the milk as slowly as possible. Heating too quickly could cause the sugar to burn and curdle. 

Add Coffee Grounds

Brewing coffee in milk will surely make the taste weaker. Because of that, it is recommended to choose finer coffee grounds to achieve a stronger flavor. Dark roast coffee beans are a good choice that will go very well with milk.

Dip The Coffee Grounds In The Milk

After your heated milk is ready, pour it into a French Press and stir it to make a proper mixture. Doing that for 5 minutes to ensure that ground coffee is fully saturated. 

Press The Coffee Plunger

Press the plunger firmly to extract the grounds, then pour the coffee into your cup and enjoy!

Cold Brew

Grind The Beans

Similar to Hot Brew, you should only choose finer coffee grounds. Select a necessary amount of beans, grind, and put them into the French Press.

Dip The Grounds In The Milk

Pour the milk into the French Press and use a chopstick or a spoon to mix with the grounds. Always ensure that it is fully absorbed in the coffee.

Put Into The Fridge

When brewing using milk, we don’t leave the mixture at room temperature as it will cause the milk to turn sour after a few hours. You will have to do that longer than the traditional way. Put it into the fridge for at least 8 hours.

How Does Milk Brew Coffee Taste?

The resulting coffee still provides a richness in flavor with a creamier texture. Also, milk brewed coffee is smoother and resembles a latte without foam. The dark roast will give you a distinct coffee taste, a bit less strong than the black coffee but still very delicious. 

What Are Some Methods We Can Use To Brew Coffee With Milk?

Not Recommended

Drip Coffee Machine

Adding milk to the drip machine will damage it as there is no water running through the filter. With milk, it will likely stick and cause bacteria development at a high temperature. As a result, the coffee machine will become unhygienic and maybe add some unwanted sour taste to your brew.

The risk is also pretty high as milk contains more proteins and minerals. You don’t want to have to clean all the calcium deposits layer stuck in your filter, right?

Percolator

Another unadvised method is to use a percolator. For your information, a coffee percolator requires you to cycle the boiling brew using gravity until it reaches enough strength. As the water heats, it will pass over the coffee grounds through a tube before dropping back down to the pot’s bottom.

Although this method seems easy to maintain, it is not ideal. If you percolate with milk, you will basically boil the milk and run it through your coffee grounds. This will surely affect the taste of the future brew, sometimes can even produce a bad smell.

Besides the cleaning issue, heated milk could curdle and disrupt the use of the percolator. 

Pour Over

Brewing coffee using a pour-over can be a convenient and easy task until some milk is involved. Since milk is full of fats and sugars, it can easily get clogged in the paper filter of your pour-over setup. You can use a reusable mesh coffee filter to make it work better with thick liquid like milk.

Moka Pot

Using a Moka pot to brew coffee with milk is quite the same as using water. The steam it creates is no different, but the problem is all the sugar left behind. Lactose in milk will leave residue in your filter, and again cleaning it will be a challenge. One more reason not to use this method is that it will leave an unpleasant smell in your coffee.  

Recommended

French Press

This is the optimal method as the French Press it easier to clean the mess after brewing with milk. Using French Press will take you more time as you have to be careful and thorough in every step. 

Instant Coffee

This is the easiest method to brew coffee with milk, though it will not bring you the appealing flavor as expected. Still, if you want to test brewing with milk, this is a good choice and way more straightforward than using coffee grounds and a French Press.

The upside of this method is that you get to control both the flavor and caffeine. The cleaning process will also be a breeze as there are no coffee grounds stuck. 

That said, some coffee enthusiasts will not consider using this method. For them, losing the flavor of the original coffee that they usually drink is unacceptable. The level of bitterness and fresh bean flavor will not be the same at all. Therefore, if you value time rather than taste, feel free to have a try!

What Are Some Tips To Brew Coffee With Milk?

Take Good Care Of The Temperature

It is important to heat the milk at the proper temperature. The ideal point should fall somewhere between 140°F and 160°F. If it is lower than this range, lactose will not get a chance to react with the proteins and cause undesirable flavors. 

Protein will determine the reaction of the milk to the heat. The quick temperature changes can also affect how fast curdling occurs. Staying at the correct temperature will help the coffee maintain its flavor and nutrition.

Choose Coffee And Milk Wisely

A combination of different milk and coffee will give you a different taste. Try to experience as much as you can and find out the best one for yourself. Normally, the taste will vary according to the roast level. Brewing with milk means only the strong darker roast could make for a delicious drink. A lighter roast level surely won’t give you the desired taste.

There are also multiple alternatives to the milk. You can replace it with almond milk, coconut milk, or even oat milk. Soy milk has a slighter creamy flavor that is sweeter than the others. Oat milk also possesses a naturally sweet and creamy profile. Believe it or not, some people actually prefer to use these substitutes rather than whole milk.

Whatever your preference is, we’re sure that there will be one that lives up to your expectations. It is also worth noting that you make sure all these non-dairy kinds of milk don’t react with the coffee you are using.

Use Enough Coffee Grounds

Knowing the number of coffee grounds to add to your milk brew is not an easy feast. Unlike water, you can not use the same ratio “one tablespoon of ground coffee per 3 ounces of water”. Instead, you should increase the ratio to 5 or 6 ounces of water, especially when making the cold brew.

Types of coffee and milk also play a very crucial role in how the coffee turns out. So, choosing the volume of coffee grounds is a tricky task.

People who are sensitive to caffeine should consider using dark roast as it has less caffeine than light roast. You can try adding more coffee grounds than usual to feel the bitterness without worrying much about the caffeine issue. Dark roast brings out the true coffee flavor, especially when adding some lactose with it.

Conclusion

We bet you can answer the question: Can you brew coffee with milk? It’s an absolute YES.

There are various ways to help you perform a coffee brew using milk instead of water. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. Still, it is totally safe to do that without any side effects. Specifically, if you are a fan of sweet milk-based beverages, it is worth trying this kind of brewing once.

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).