There are a lot of things you can put in coffee, but that doesn't mean you should. Buttermilk is firmly in that category of things you shouldn't put in coffee.
Some coffee drinkers add cream, some add cow's milk, but some like to try new things. There's nothing wrong with that, but you need to know how it's going to impact the taste and texture so you don't ruin your morning cup of coffee.
We've tried and tested buttermilk in various types of coffee drinks and in this guide we'll show you how it affects the taste and texture so you can decide if you want to give it a go.
What Exactly Is Buttermilk?
Traditional buttermilk refers to the liquid that remains after whole milk has been churned into butter.
Nowadays, however, buttermilk is a fermented dairy product that mainly consists of water, lactose, and the milk protein casein. It is also pasteurized, homogenized, and contains lactic-acid producing bacteria.
Buttermilk is typically used for baking and is a common ingredient in biscuits, muffins, and pancakes. It can also be used in batter for fried foods or in soups and salad dressings.
Why Do People Use Buttermilk?
You might be thinking, why drink buttermilk or use it in recipes if it's just a byproduct of milk?
Well, buttermilk comes with plenty of nutrients which include protein, calcium, and riboflavin. In simple terms, buttermilk has everything you need to build healthy muscles, skin, and bones - and most buttermilk products have added vitamin A and D, making it a healthy choice.
Is Buttermilk In Coffee A Good Idea?
No, using buttermilk isn't a good idea in coffee.
It might seem like a good replacement for coffee creamer, cow's milk, or other milk alternatives, but it can ruin your coffee drink. More specifically, it can ruin the taste and texture:
The Taste Of Coffee With buttermilk In It
Buttermilk might look like vanilla ice cream, but it has a bitter taste. The sour taste of buttermilk doesn't work well with coffee and often ruins its overall taste. Since buttermilk has lactic-acid producing bacteria in it, adding buttermilk to coffee is on par with adding plain Greek yogurt into your coffee.
The other issue with buttermilk in coffee is the acidity, which adds to the sour taste. Both coffee and buttermilk are relatively acidic; so when you combine them together, you'll end up getting sour and bitter coffee tastes that aren't palatable at all.
The Texture Of Coffee With Buttermilk In It
Buttermilk has a thicker consistency than regular milk, skim milk, coconut milk, or even heavy cream. Unfortunately, the buttermilk doesn't blend with the black coffee and it makes it very thick and grainy. Buttermilk also has the potential to curdle your coffee.
Uses Of Buttermilk (Popular Recipes)
If you’ve got some leftover buttermilk that you’d like to use, there are plenty of other better ways to use it that are better than adding buttermilk in coffee. Here are some examples:
1. Crispy chicken
Buttermilk tenderizes meat, making it a great marinade. You can use your buttermilk to make tasty, crispy fried chicken.
2. Salad dressing
You can make a simple buttermilk salad dressing with lemon juice, olive oil and salt before tossing it with your favorite greens.
Since it's pretty similar to yogurt, there's nothing wrong with adding some buttermilk to your next smoothie.
4. Mashed potatoes
Not a fan of using whole milk in your mashed potatoes? Feel free to use some buttermilk instead.
Buttermilk and pancakes are practically a match made in heaven. Not only does buttermilk result in fluffy pancakes, but it also adds a subtle tang to its overall flavor.
6. Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Want to combine buttermilk and coffee flavor in a way that works? Simple add buttermilk to your regular coffee cake and it'll give you a delicious twist.
What Can I Use Instead Of Buttermilk? (Best Alternative For Coffee)
There are some other great alternative milks that you can use which work much better than buttermilk in coffee, and here are some examples:
Almond milk is a great low-calorie and low-fat milk replacement that gives coffee a rich and nutty flavor. You can add a splash of almond milk into your regular coffee or even use it to make lattes and flat whites.
You can also use cashew milk in your coffee recipes as it tastes very similar to almond milk.
Soy milk has a smooth, creamy texture that goes well with coffee. Since it also doesn’t have a noticeable aftertaste, it’s typically the milk of choice for most coffee lovers. You’ll just need to be extra careful when using soy milk for hot coffee as there’s a chance of it curdling.
Oat milk is an incredibly popular non-dairy milk alternative that has a creamy taste similar to full-fat dairy milk. It also blends easily and comes with great fiber content. Similar to other alternative kinds of milk, you can use it for lattes, flat whites, and more.
Coconut milk is thicker than regular milk and works as a great alternative. It has a higher fat content which gives a rich and smooth texture for drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Plus, it contains ingredients which support your immune system, so it's a win-win!
Half-and-half is made of equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. It’s a lighter option than regular milk and is a great way to add a touch of sweetness to your overall coffee. They’re a great alternative to coffee creamer as they’re less processed and come with plenty of vitamins and minerals for coffee drinkers.
Frequently Asked Buttermilk Questions
Does buttermilk curdle in coffee?
Yes, buttermilk can curdle when put in coffee. As it has a low fat and high protein content, it can curdle when heated to near-boiling.
What is the taste of buttermilk?
Buttermilk has a tangy taste to it, but it's also rich and creamy. It also has a thicker texture than milk and has a buttery aroma to it.
Can buttermilk be heated?
Yes, you can heat buttermilk, but you'll just need to be extra careful when doing so. Heating or boiling it too quickly can result in the buttermilk curdling. To prevent it from curdling, make sure that you’re heating the buttermilk gently over low-medium heat.
How can you tell if buttermilk is spoiled?
You can tell that your buttermilk has spoiled if it turns into chunks, has visible mold, a strong unpleasant smell, or even discoloration.
Many coffee drinkers are getting adventurous with their morning coffee, but putting buttermilk in coffee is a mistake as it will give a sour and unpleasant taste.
Regular milk, almond milk, oat milk, or even unsalted butter (used in bulletproof coffee) can all work well in the hot drink, but buttermilk is definitely better suited for cooking and baking.