How To Choose The Best Type Of Milk For Your Cappuccino

Whether you're savoring a frothy coffee from a cafe in Rome — or sipping from a to-go cup on your morning commute — a cappuccino is one of the best ways to start the day. While the Italian coffee surely lets the espresso shine, it also emphasizes the milk. As such, cappuccino lovers should choose their type of milk carefully, as it can make or break a cappuccino's final flavor and consistency. Fortunately, both of those characteristics can help guide you in choosing the right milk for your next coffee. 

Indeed, when it comes to honing in on your preferred milk, it's best to follow your taste buds. You'll want to choose a milk — yes, that includes non-dairy options — that adds your preferred level of richness — and results in your ideal froth. The texture of your cappuccino froth hinges on the amount of fat in your milk, so the dairy you choose will influence that final, picturesque foam. After all, a cappuccino isn't a cappuccino without its spoon-ready topping — and, if you so choose, a dash of cinnamon. 

If that ability to choose feels overwhelming, you can stick with a few safe bets. Some milks froth better than others and will result in the most traditional and pillowy of cappuccinos. 

Whole milk adds richness -- and the quintessential cappuccino foam

When in doubt, pour some whole milk and start frothing. In general, milks with higher levels of fat yield a more classic and fluffy cappuccino foam. Whole milk also offers a creamy richness that other kinds of milk — we're looking at you, skim milk — don't fully mirror. However, this richness is, of course, a personal preference. So, if you'd rather a lighter and airier foam, opt for a lower-fat milk. This includes fat-free milks, also known as skim milks. 

Non-dairy milks shouldn't be discounted. Generally, oat milk steams, froths, and foams better than its nut-milk counterparts. It's basically the whole milk of the alternative milk world. Coffee drinkers can experiment with all kinds of milks — not to mention different brands of milk substitutes – to see what works best for their taste. Choosing the ideal milk for a cappuccino is, after all, a choice.