Coffee Creamer vs. Milk – Which Is Best for Your Morning Cup of Coffee?
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For many coffee enthusiasts, adding milk or coffee creamer to their cup of joe isn’t something you should do. For others, adding dairy to a cup of coffee helps improve the taste, smoothness, and texture of the drink.
Anyone who drinks coffee does so because they love its taste and the aroma it gives off. Of course, like anything, they will enjoy drinking it in a particular way, whether it is black or with a touch of milk.
For some people, the debate between creamer and milk is taken seriously. In this post, we will be exploring coffee creamer vs. milk by looking at the differences between them and which tastes better.
All About Coffee Creamer and Milk
Since the 17th century, many different types of coffee creamers and milk have been developed to add to black coffee. This is why when you walk into your local store, they have such a wide range of products for you to choose from that can be used as additions to coffee.
Although milk is still the addition of choice for many when visiting their local coffee shops, the use of coffee creamer has become popular at home.
What Is Coffee Creamer?
The phrase coffee creamer can apply to a number of dairy and non-dairy additives. In some cases, you may find that some people refer to these food products as a coffee whitener.
All of these products help enhance the texture or flavor of your cup of daily coffee.
Some may include emulsifiers to prevent the coffee oils in your drink from rising to the top of the cup after water is poured onto the ground or instant coffee.
There are many different kinds of creamers you can buy to add to your morning coffee. Some come in powder forms, others as liquids. You may find that some are full of artificial ingredients, while others may include more expensive ones that contain high-quality ingredients made from a dairy product.
Be aware that when buying such products, their taste and expiration date can vary.
How Long Does Creamer Last?
If you choose to go for coffee creamers in a powder form, as long as you keep them in an air-tight container after opening, they will last for anywhere from 12 months to 2 years.
However, if you go for ones that come in a liquid form, generally, these will only last for around two weeks to 6 months. Plus, with any kind of liquid coffee creamer, this will need to be stored in the fridge.
Can You Use Creamer Instead of Milk?
Yes, it is perfectly okay to use any kind of creamer for coffee rather than milk as an addition to your morning coffee.
However, before you start using creamer, there are certain things you need to be aware of, such as how many calories it contains and how it can affect the texture and flavor of your daily coffee.
In this next section about coffee creamer vs. milk, we will examine the differences and what they have in common, which is better, and why.
What Are the Differences Between Coffee Creamer and Milk?
As you will soon see, there are several differences between milk and coffee creamer for use as coffee additions.
Of course, the most significant difference is in the taste. You will find that good-quality natural coffee creamers add a much creamier and richer flavor to your coffee. This is something that milk simply cannot replicate on its own.
The most significant difference in flavor is the option to buy creamers that have added flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, and more. Common ingredients used in making such products include oils and fats, which may not be ideal for some people.
However, milk traditionally includes a much more subtle flavor and doesn’t contain any kind of artificial flavors or ingredients.
Additionally, you can make homemade coffee creamer if you have the time, tools, and desire to do so. Doing this allows you to use only natural ingredients in it. This is the ideal choice for people who lead a more healthy lifestyle.
Amount of Calories
Even non-dairy coffee creamers made from natural ingredients contain more calories than milk. In general, all types of coffee creamer make use of sugar additives, causing coffee creamer to be the less healthy option.
But the difference in calories, of course, will depend on how much creamer you add to your cup of joe. This also goes for milk, as whole milk contains more calories than low-fat milk.
If you’re interested in healthier alternatives, rather than using cow milk in your coffee, replace it with unsweetened nut milk. One type of nut milk that is very popular with some coffee enthusiasts today is made with almonds, as it provides a more creamy and natural flavor to their daily coffee.
Below, we show you the calorie differences for the health-conscious among us regarding coffee creamer vs. milk.
- A teaspoon of Coffee-Mate creamer contains 22 calories
- In just one teaspoon of whole milk, you will find nine calories
- As for a teaspoon of low-fat dairy milk, this has just four calories
As you can see above, there is quite a difference in the number of calories in coffee creamer vs. milk.
However, if you’re trying to lose weight and reduce your calorie intake further, it is worth considering using almond milk. In just a single teaspoon of nut milk, you will find it contains less than two calories.
What Do They Have in Common?
You will find that both milk and coffee creamer go well with a good cup of black coffee, producing very similar results.
However, the fat content in coffee creamers, like Coffee-Mate powder or Coffee-Mate liquid creamer, alters the texture of your cup of joe. You will find that it has a much denser, velvety texture.
For many people, adding cow milk or water buffalo milk to your daily cup of coffee helps soften the coffee’s bitter taste. In complex terms, this occurs as the milk you add helps bind the bitterness into polyphenolic elements.
Of course, you need to be aware that both have relatively high-fat content to them. How much fat they contain depends on the heaviness of the milk. Each drop of milk or creamer you add to your daily coffee will increase the number of calories in it.
Luckily, as we’ve already discussed above, plenty of healthy options are available, especially for those who follow a low-carb diet.
Things You Should Know Regarding Non-Dairy Creamers for Your Coffee
Before you think about adding liquid or powder non-dairy creamer to your coffee, you should consider the following things.
Calling It Non-dairy Isn’t Always the Truth
If you’re trying to avoid dairy products, you may believe that using a non-dairy creamer is the perfect solution. If this has been your mindset, you may need to reconsider. Non-dairy creamer may not contain lactose, but it may still have a milk protein called casein.
Like lactose, casein is a protein found in milk that can cause an allergic reaction in certain groups of people. This makes it crucial for you to closely look at the label, as this milk protein is often added to creamers to give them a more milky texture and flavor.
These days all creamers must identify on the label if they contain the milk by-product casein in them.
They Shouldn’t Always Be Called Creamers
The use of the term “non-dairy creamer” is an oxymoron. How is it possible that a creamer doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients? Instead, they’ve used vegetables such as palm kernel or coconut oil in them, so that when added to coffee, they give it a much creamier look and taste.
Extra Ingredients Are Added to Mimic Milk or Cream
Often as you look at the list of ingredients used to help balance sweetness and bitterness in a cup of coffee, they contain sodium, sugar, and corn syrup. These have been added to provide extra flavor into the coffee, which you would typically get from milk or cream.
Also, you often find food colorings and artificial sweeteners included in the making of specialty creamers. The reason for adding food coloring is to help imitate how milk changes the color of coffee when added.
Nowadays, rather than being labeled as non-dairy coffee creamers, many are being labeled as coffee whiteners. Again, if you have any allergies to food coloring, make sure that you read the ingredients label first. There are some varieties of these creamers that don’t contain any coloring.
Can Boost Your Calorie Intake
As soon as you add 1-2 teaspoons of non-dairy creamer into your coffee, the number of calories and fat you consume will go up. It is best to look carefully at how much you should be using and restrict yourself.
However, be aware that if you were to increase from 1-2 teaspoons up to 2-3 teaspoons of creamer in your morning coffee, you would now need to reduce your fat and calorie intake elsewhere.
Luckily, some companies that produce such products have developed low-fat and low-calorie options. These tend to be plain without any additional flavoring added to them.
Some May Contain Trans Fats
You need to be careful, as this type of fat is detrimental to your health and can cause bad cholesterol levels in your body to increase. At the same time, it can reduce the amount of good cholesterol in your body.
As a result of this, your risk of being susceptible to diabetes, strokes, or heart disease increases. To avoid such situations from arising, you shouldn’t be consuming more than 2 g of trans fat each day.
So, before you buy any coffee creamer, check the label to see if it contains any kind of trans fat. You can use some that have up to 1 g of trans fat per one tablespoon of creamer.
Non-Dairy Creamers Can Go Bad
One of the benefits of using products like Coffee-Mate coffee creamer is that they last longer than cream or milk. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t expire at some point. So make sure that you check the label to see when the best-by or use-by date is.
Just like milk, both liquid and powdered coffee creamers used by coffee drinkers will produce an odor that smells sour. As soon as you notice this or begin to notice it doesn’t taste as nice or isn’t mixing properly with the coffee, then discard it.
Powdered Non-Dairy Creamer Contains Flammable Ingredients
This fact may come as somewhat of a surprise to you.
You will find sodium aluminosilicate in this type of creamer used to make coffee creamer. This ingredient is commonly used to produce coffee creamer powder to prevent it from caking together. However, once dispersed, it can become flammable.
But you need not worry, as just stirring 2-3 teaspoons into your morning cup of coffee won’t cause such a situation.
Is Including Creamer a Good Idea for Leading a Healthy Lifestyle?
It all depends. Most creamers come with added sugar content and saturated fat, such as those made using corn syrup. So, unfortunately, adding these types of coffee creamers to your morning cup of joe isn’t suitable if you are trying to lose weight.
All types of coffee creamers, even non-dairy creamers, can be healthy or harmful.
It all comes down to the kinds of ingredients used in making them and the amount added to your beverage.
Those with an ingredient list that includes plant-based fats and natural sugars will help boost your energy levels throughout the day.
Whereas those with high levels of saturated fatty acids in them will make you start to feel tired as the day goes on. So it is best to avoid any creamers that contain palm oil in them when possible.
If you are going to use such food products in your coffee, choose ones made with natural ingredients. These contain no harmful chemicals but will provide your body with additional minerals and vitamins that it needs to stay in good condition.
Why Is Coffee Creamer Better?
Coffee creamers have become very popular among coffee enthusiasts in the USA. Not only does it help add sweetness to their coffee, but there is no need to add additional sugar to it. Many people also find it makes for a genuinely thick, rich texture and richer flavor in the morning cup of coffee.
Plus, if you are someone who only uses dairy-free products because you suffer from lactose intolerance, then there are dairy-free creamers you can use.
Pros and Cons of Using Coffee Creamer
Suitable for Those Who Suffer From Food Allergies
Coffee creamer is an excellent choice for people who are allergic to milk because of its lactose source or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet regime.
Be Wary of the Ingredients Used
Unfortunately, most creamers are made in factories without using any kind of natural ingredients.
Instead, they are made up of a lot of oils, sugars, and additives. These have been heavily processed, so they will not prove beneficial to your health.
Why Is Milk Better?
Milk is not only the oldest ingredient used for adding flavor to coffee, it is also the healthiest, regardless of whether you choose to use animal milk or nut milk.
The milk you get from cows and goats contains fewer calories than coconut milk. Plus, be careful if you are thinking of using coconut milk to add a different flavor to your cup of coffee, as it contains high levels of saturated fats.
The main problem you often find if you aren’t careful is that milk doesn’t add another level of flavor to your cup of coffee. That is unless you decide to go down the latte or cappuccino route.
You will often find that to help reduce the bitterness of the coffee, you will need to include some sugar in your cup. This is because there aren’t any natural sugars found in milk.
Suppose you want to enjoy a cup of coffee that has a taste similar to one where you’ve added creamer to it. In this case, you will need to use whole milk in it. The problem, of course, is that whole milk contains more calories than the low-fat varieties of almond milk, which is a major drawback for those looking to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Using Milk in Coffee
Contains Fewer Calories
In milk, you will find that it contains fewer calories than coffee creamer does. In 100 g of whole milk, there is 61 kcal, whereas in 100 g of coffee creamer, there is 136 kcal.
For both of these coffee additions, you will find that most of their calories come from the fat they contain.
Includes More Protein
Compared to Coffee-Mate liquid creamer, the amount of protein found in milk is relatively easy to see.
In 100 g of coffee creamer, you will find it only contains 1 g of protein. Whereas in 100 g of whole milk, it has 3.1 g of protein.
Contains Fewer Carbohydrates
If you follow any kind of low-carb diet plan, then adding milk to your coffee is your best option.
In 100 g of coffee creamer, you will find it contains 11.38 g of carbs. As for 100 g of whole milk, this includes only 4.46 g of carbs.
Is It Better to Use Coffee Creamer or Milk in Your Coffee?
You need to consider several things when deciding whether coffee creamer vs. milk is better for including in your cup of joe.
Milk Contains Important Nutrients and Minerals
Dairy milk is a good option, as it contains high calcium and protein levels. Both of these are two vital nutrients that our bodies need.
However, you also need to be aware that coffee lovers who include milk in their coffee are consuming more fat and cholesterol.
If you want to avoid such a situation but still want milk in your coffee, a healthy alternative would be to use almond or cashew nut milk. Both of these have fewer calories in them than dairy milk.
Coffee Creamers Up Your Calorie Intake
As for various coffee creamer brands, these are a good option for coffee lovers who want to add more flavor or sweetness to their cup of java.
Remember that coffee creamer milk or powder should be added to coffee in moderation. These contain a lot more calories and saturated fat in them. This is critical to understand if you are someone following a low-carb diet or low-fat diet to lose weight.
Milk Will Make the Coffee Weaker
All kinds of dairy and plant-based milk have high water content. So when you add these to your cup of morning coffee, they will dilute it more.
As for coffee creamers, they have more fat and sugar in them. When added to coffee, they make it taste much creamier.
Creamer Helps Boost the Coffee’s Flavor
You will find that coffee creamers have a much stronger flavor than milk because of the sugar substitutes and artificial flavors used to make them.
This is the kind of product added to coffee to create a drink that is similar in taste if you used heavy cream rather than milk.
How to Add Creamer Into Your Coffee
By now, you are probably wondering how you should be adding creamer into your cup of coffee to make sure that it blends well with it.
There is more than one way for you to add creamer to your coffee drink, but below is the easiest and most efficient way we’ve come across.
Add two teaspoons of creamer to your coffee and stir vigorously with a spoon. Ensure that you add the creamer first before stirring it with a spoon.
It is important to note that if you are adding powdered creamer to your coffee rather than in liquid form, you might need to stir it for a little longer. This will help ensure that the powder dissolves completely and you don’t feel any gritty bits of creamer in your coffee.
After adding the creamer, you may want to taste it first before adding any additional sugar. This is because some are sweeter than others.
In most cases, you will find that adding more sugar to make it taste sweeter isn’t needed. This is especially true when using any kind of coffee creamer containing artificial flavorings, such as vanilla or pumpkin spice.
Above, we’ve looked at coffee creamer vs. milk, which tastes better, and which is the healthier option for you.
We hope that this has helped you better understand the differences between adding coffee creamer or milk to your cup of joe.
This way, you can decide which of these you will use to make a delicious cup of fresh coffee.
Which do you prefer? We are the kind who like to start the day by adding a splash of milk to ours. But we also want to use a good quality creamer made of natural ingredients to give our cup of joe a much fuller, creamier taste.
It’s nice to be able to change things up every so often. So why not try out a few different brands of coffee creamer to see what ones you like the most? Let us know how you get on and which, if any, of the other flavored creamers now available you enjoyed the most.