Embracing a Non-Dairy Alternative with Coffee

Living in the Bay Area is a blessing in the sense that there is a lack of intolerance. So many different types of people live here that you can’t really help but be open-minded.

And yet, there is still a form of intolerance that exists. The problem is though, it sometimes can’t be helped.

Like that of lactose.

Soy milk has been the default “non-dairy” alternative but lately, cafes in the Bay Area have been replacing soy milk with almond milk. I’m pretty sure it was Four Barrel in San Francisco that started the trend in the Bay Area back in 2012. I could be wrong though so don’t quote me on that.

Since then, more Bay Area cafes have followed suit and most cafes that are part of my Oakland coffee rotation offer almond milk – either in addition to soy or as the only non-dairy alternative.

Alhamdulilah, lactose intolerance isn’t something I have to deal with so I’ve never had, say, an almond milk mocha to replace an actual mocha. However, lately there’s been a reason for me to drink almond milk.

A lot of these cafes that use almond milk get it from Califia Farms, which anyone can get from Whole Foods. Now, Califia Farms has produced iced coffee almond milk products. Even though I don’t have to drink almond milk, these looked intriguing so my coffee buddy at work, who happens to be allergic to dairy, and I tried all the flavors:

-Double Espresso
-Mocha
-Cafe Latte
And in the single serving packaging:
-Cocoa Noir
-Salted Caramel
-XX Espresso

Generally, I liked them all with a few caveats. I found that the coffee taste was too subtle in the mocha and latte, for example. The Cocoa Noir, which contained dark chocolate was pretty good – I think I liked it better than the mocha as the chocolate was more pronounced. And I have to say, Cocoa Noir? How cool does that sound! I love that name and will henceforth use it as my code name, a la Uma Thurman as Black Mamba from Kill Bill, if the need ever arises. As for the Salted Caramel, even though I enjoy salted caramel drinks at certain places (the salted caramel drink at Bittersweet Chocolate cafe in Oakland makes me swoon), the almond milk version wasn’t my cup of tea. Or, um, coffee.

The first one we tried, the Double Espresso, remained my favorite even after we went through all the flavors. (For the life of me, I can’t figure out if XX Espresso is the same as Double Espresso, only in a smaller container. I think it is). Anyways, the Double Espresso now has an official place in the work fridge. Because of the ingredients, I don’t feel bad drinking it almost everyday – sometimes you need a bit of coffee to get you through those moments in the afternoon long after your morning cup ‘o joe has faded away from your system and this is a refreshing way to fill that need. Or maybe my coffee codependency is getting out of hand. Either way, for this lactose tolerant coffee drinker, I’m perfectly content with the Double Espresso Almond Milk Iced Coffee. The only problem I have now is how to stave off the sadness that inevitably comes when I finish up a glass full of this stuff.

califia farms

NOTE: The coffee buddy and I did not drink all of these in one day. The taste testing was pretty spread out.

One thought

  1. Hooray for almond milk that stands up to the consistency of real milk. Nothing like a thick, creamy coffee drink, cold or hot. :D

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