Coffee just may be the drink that kept many of us going through the pandemic. For people who were forced to work from home and whose daily habits were broken, coffee serves as that one little habit that, for some people, provides a tinge of sustainable normality.
There are many different ways people consume coffee. If you landed on this article, chances are, you’re looking for ways to change and elevate your morning mud. You might be looking to spice things up a bit, maybe a change of flavors, or you might want to switch up your creamer for a healthier alternative, then you’re in the right place.
We’ll share with you some homemade coffee creamer recipes and how to make your own creamer with non-dairy alternatives.
Read more to learn about coffee creamers and healthier alternatives you can make yourself elevate your drink.
What is a coffee creamer?
Coffee creamer is a commercially distributed product that’s often a combination of hydrogenated ingredients, sequestrants, emulsifiers, sugar, fats, and often contains milk or cream. Creamers are sold in either powder or liquid form.
Creamer vs. Milk
Creamer is usually made from chemicals and is known to be dairy-free, but some brands include milk solids in their formula. On the other hand, milk is made from cow’s milk usually generated by machines.
Creamer vs. Half and Half
Half and half is a dairy product made with equal parts whole milk and cream. This makes it lower in fat than full cream and thicker than milk. Half and half often contain other ingredients that help enhance its texture.
What is the bad ingredient in coffee creamers?
Some people can’t handle the bitter taste of black coffee, but they do enjoy it with milk or creamer. However, store-bought creamers aren’t usually made with real milk or cream. They’re meant to enhance the taste of coffee and they get their characteristics by combining different ingredients and chemicals. Some of which can have negative effects on your health.
Here are some ingredients that you need to keep an eye out for.
If coffee creamers aren’t made with cream or milk, then where do they get that rich velvety texture? The answer would be through thickeners and emulsifiers.
Thickeners like carrageenan, cellulose gum, and gellan gum are added into creamers to make them denser. However, stabilizers like carrageenan are known to cause digestive problems, inflammation, and can even be cancerous.
Artificial flavors give your morning coffee that irresistible aroma that makes waking up early in the morning seem like it’s worth it. However, that hazelnut, mocha, or caramel flavor can be fake when it comes to coffee creamers.
These flavors are made by mixing chemicals made from various ingredients, usually paper pulp or petroleum. These are inedible and some medical experts believe that they could cause health problems like allergic reactions and food hypersensitivity.
Store-bought food mostly contains preservatives to keep out mold, fungi, yeast, and bacteria, however, there are natural preservatives and then there are ones that are lab-made.
As much as possible, you should avoid products containing these preservatives:
- Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrate
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Bromic acid and other names like potassium bromate or enriched flour
Preservatives like BHA and BHT could cause health problems such as reproductive disorders or endocrine disruptors. They’re not prohibited in the U.S but some countries like New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and Australia banned them.
Hydrogenated oil such as palm oil or vegetable oil is a type of trans fat used by some food manufacturers to keep their products fresher for longer.
But you don’t need the added fat in your diet, especially if it’s trans fat. Black coffee contains little to no calories, but adding in creamer and sugar will make it a calorie-loaded drink. Trans fat also increases your bad cholesterol and can boost the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
Are coffee creamers unhealthy?
Too much of anything is unhealthy, especially if the product contains unhealthy ingredients to begin with.
A tablespoon of non-dairy creamer can contain 1 gram of trans fat, and as a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t consume more than 2 grams of trans fat in a day.
Coffee creamers can be bad for you if they contain lots of chemical ingredients, however, if you absolutely can’t cut off coffee creamers, there are healthier versions available in the market.
You could buy the “light” or “less-fat” version or you can choose half and half. Below is a list of non-dairy creamer and other creamer alternatives that you can choose from.
Elevate your coffee with these coffee creamer alternatives
If you don’t like your coffee black and you also don’t want to use store-bought creamers then you can try these non-dairy creamer alternatives instead.
Soy Milk. The go-to milk for most vegetarians as, although low in calcium, it’s high in protein and has zero cholesterol.
Coconut Milk. Coconut milk is famous in Asia and is made by squeezing the juice out of coconut meat. It’s used in many Asian cuisines as a thickener as it’s rich and creamy. It has healthy fats, vitamin C, and is easy to digest. It works perfectly as a creamer alternative as it has a naturally sweet taste.
Almond Milk. Almond milk is a low-fat and low-calories creamer replacement that adds a nutty rich flavor to your morning brew. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, assuming that you’re not allergic to nuts, this is one of the best tasting coffee creamer replacements. To avoid curdling it and have the milk froth separate, don’t add it to overly hot coffee and don’t add cold almond milk to hot coffee.
Cashew Milk. Cashew is high in good fats which makes it have that creamier texture compared to other nut-based milk. It also has the least nutty taste of all nut-based milk alternatives. It’s high in vitamin E and most coffee drinkers prefer it as its texture is closest to cow’s milk.
Rice Milk. If you’re allergic to nuts but don’t want to consume dairy products, then rice milk is an excellent choice. Do keep in mind that rice milk doesn’t froth as it doesn’t have much protein in it.
Non-dairy milk has become popular lately because consumers are now becoming more informed about the health benefits of non-dairy alternatives. Many are now getting into healthier lifestyles that include different types of diets, not to mention, there are many who are lactose intolerant.
More than 60 percent of the world’s population experience lactose malabsorption. This is why many manufacturers are now actively pursuing the production of non-dairy milk.
DIY Creamer: How to Make Your Own Creamer?
Basic Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer Recipe
Let’s start with a simple non-dairy creamer that you can whip up every week. It’s easy and all the ingredients can be found in your local supermarket.
- 2 cups or 16 oz non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp Maple syrup, coconut sugar, or honey
- Heat your pot on a stove
- Combine all ingredients and bring it until warm
- Remove it from the heat before it boils (make sure that the creamer doesn’t reach boiling point.)
Coffee Creamer with Condensed Milk
Many are curious about how to make coffee creamer with condensed milk. Unlike store-bought creamers, condensed milk is cow’s milk without much water and with added sugar to give it its thick texture.
Most people love to include it in their coffee as they won’t have to add in sugar since condensed milk is super thick. If you’re looking for a homemade coffee creamer with only three ingredients, then this is for you.
- 1.8 cups or 15 oz sweetened condensed milk or sweetened condensed coconut milk (for vegans)
- 1.8 cups of your favorite milk
- Coconut sugar or maple syrup for added sweetness
- Combine the 3 ingredients in a bowl
- Whisk together until thoroughly mixed
- Put in an airtight container and refrigerate
Hazelnut Coffee Creamer
This dairy-free coffee creamer is a quick go-to if you want to incorporate something tasty and sweet into your morning coffee.
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- Vanilla pods or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pure hazelnut extract
- Mix all the ingredients in a blender and blend
- Transfer the mixture to your chosen container and refrigerate
- Mix the desired amount into your coffee and enjoy.
*You can store this recipe for a week.
Homemade Italian Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer Recipe
If you’re a fan of Italian coffee or even just Cofeemate’s Italian Sweet Creme, then you’ll love this recipe as well. The best part is that it won’t even cost you that much.
- 2 cups of heavy cream or full-fat coconut cream
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract (or paste)
- Put a pot on a stove and pour in the cream and sweetened condensed milk
- Place on low to med-low heat and whisk until it simmers
- Remove from heat
- Once it cools down, place it in your chosen air-tight container
Even some people who take their coffee black can’t drink their cup without adding a little sweetener.
Here are some sugar alternatives that are much healthier for you.
Honey. Readily available anywhere, honey is tasty and very simple. Just make sure that you’re buying natural honey and not the kind where manufacturers add sugar to the list of ingredients.
Agave Syrup. Also known as agave nectar, this is a vegan option and a lot sweeter than honey.
Molasses. A much healthier alternative to sugar and won’t cause your blood pressure to spike.
Maple Syrup. Another vegan substitute, some people prefer this over honey, but be careful as it has higher sugar content.