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Coffee and dairy are natural partners

Sharon Gerdes

January 18, 2021

A 2015 study by Auburn University found that by consuming 155 milligrams of caffeine, college athletes shaved an average of two strokes off their golf scores. Could a Starbucks Tripleshot help me break 100?

All joking aside, coffee is the most popular beverage worldwide, with more than 400 billion cups consumed annually ( And much of that coffee is accompanied by a dairy or dairy-alternative product.

What’s hot

Specialty coffees are the fastest-growing trend in nondairy beverages, and the hottest among them is cold brew, according to Bret Buhler, commercial group leader of KanPak.

“Cold Brew is more fitting to the taste profile of the younger coffee drinkers, who typically drink cold coffee instead of hot,” said Buhler.

Cold-brew coffee is steeped in cool water for 12 to 24 hours, resulting in a less-acidic beverage that requires less sugar. Stepping it up a notch, there’s nitro coffee, which is cold-brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas through a pressurized valve. Nitro adds a frothy milky layer, which may be an alternative to dairy.

Coffee is often consumed to boost energy levels. Starbucks Tripleshot Energy beverage adds extra caffeine for a total of 225 milligrams of caffeine, plus guarana, B-vitamins and ginseng. Guarana helps reduce fatigue, boost energy and improve memory, and it might help boost the immune system. Ginseng has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and can improve brain functions such as memory, behavior and mood.

In contrast, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 75 milligrams of caffeine. Sensitive individuals might experience headaches at levels above 400 milligrams; spacing caffeine through the day can help.

Dairy delights

Dairy rounds out the flavor of coffee and also provides a nutritional boost. High Brew’s Cold Brew Creamy Cappuccino +Protein adds milk protein isolate and calcium caseinate to yield 12 grams of protein in only 120 calories. SlimFast Cappuccino Delight boasts 10 grams of protein from skim milk and milk protein concentrate, plus 24 vitamins and minerals.

“The two most common creamers for coffee are half & half and French vanilla-flavored creamers,” says Buhler. “The most prevalent plant-based product being used in RTD coffee is almond ‘milk,’ but oat is the fastest-growing among plant-based coffee drinks. There is also a trend for ‘cow-less’ milk, which is milk made from dairy proteins not produced by cows.”



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