What To Consider Before Adding Rice Milk To Your Coffee

Long gone are the days when milk just meant dairy. The tie that binds milk with cows has been losing grip strength for quite a while. Every coffee shop seems to offer at least one non-dairy alternative at this point, with many offering several options as well as specific fancy drinks attached to just that one substitute (via The New York Times).

While the first of the lactose-less bunch may have been made from soybeans, rice milk is anything but new to the market (via Viva). Soy- and nut-free, it's a more inclusive option for those with multiple food allergies or sensitivities. Some milk substitutes are pretty versatile and hold their weight against cow's milk in everything from a bowl of cereal to a bechamel sauce to a latte. However, when undertaking dairy's many duties, others only excel at a task or two. So how does milked rice comes into play when tackling creamer's assignment in that cup of joe?

Three things to consider

Taste is probably the first and arguably most important factor that comes to mind when you think about swapping in something made from rice. Made from milled and boiled brown or white rice, rice milk is innately sweet to the tongue. In addition, it's touted for having a mild flavor, which makes it an innocuous dairy substitute if sweetened is how you take your coffee (via Healthline).

If a creamy texture is what you're after or your latte order comes with extra foam, you probably won't get very far with rice milk due to its low protein content. Given its minimal ingredients — typically just rice, water, and maybe a thickener — rice milk's mouthfeel leans less lush and more thin and watery (via WebstaurantStore).

Finally, another facet to consider if making the swap is the added stuff. Unless you're making your own rice milk at home, it's hard to know what other ingredients may be in the carton as opposed to cow's milk, which usually only contains, well, just cow's milk. Many brands contain added sugar and thickening agents. According to FitDay, some varieties contain vanilla to mimic the dairy taste.