Coffee is my ride-or-die. I average about two cups daily, and if the mood is right, I get a post-work oat milk latte from the bakery around the block.
I fear and respect my co-worker for quitting coffee for a week to test out caffeine alternatives. It’s my personal nightmare. It’s something I could never do. I need that morning jolt of energy that only Sweet Lady Caffeine can deliver. And I love the toasty flavor and aroma of a cup of joe that fills my apartment during the brewing stage. Special Agent Dale Cooper, I get you.
But unlike the coffee-fanatic Twin Peaks protagonist, I rarely take my coffee black. It always needs a splash (or two) of creamer to transform it from bold to a creamy, pleasant drink that warrants immediately downing a second cup. Usually, I just use good ol’ oat milk as a creamer. But as I browsed the milk aisle at the local supermarket, I noticed that there were a lot more dairy-free creamer options than I remember there being.
As someone who used to love 7-Eleven coffee with a generous helping of flavored Coffee-Mate, I asked: Can dairy-free creamer do it better? I tried eight different options, and here’s what I liked:
Califia Farms Half-and-Half
This tasted exactly how I remember dairy half-and-half: rich, creamy, and just a little bit sweet, and it blended smoothly into my coffee. Califia Farms makes this dairy-free version from a blend of almond and coconut milk.
Táche Pistachio Milk
This “barista-friendly” dairy milk imbued my coffee with a pleasant nuttiness that wasn’t overly sweet. Bonus: it doesn’t contain any added oils. (I expected it to be green, but it’s a pleasant tan, the color of lightened-up coffee.)Credit: Táche/Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY
Elmhurst Caramel Macchiato Oat Creamer
Made from oats and hemp cream, Elmhurst’s caramel macchiato creamer has a creamy texture and sweet flavor that isn’t cloying like some caramel-flavored dairy-free creamers can be. It channels the popular Starbucks drink, but it contains just one gram of sugar.
Oatly Barista Edition
Baristas love Oatly’s Barista Edition for its froth-ability in lattes and cappuccinos, but it also brings a smooth and creamy texture to a cup of joe, too. As for flavor, it has a slightly nutty and oat-y taste, but not so much that it doesn’t overpower the coffee.Credit: Oatly/Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY
Natural Bliss Sweet Crème Coconut Milk
If you take your coffee light, then this dairy-free creamer from Coffee-Mate is for you. Compared to other dairy-free options, you need only two splashes of this coconut-milk based creamer to take your coffee from black to a creamy, light tan.
Nutpods Cinnamon Swirl
Loved flavored creamers? Nutpods has you covered with unique options like Toasted Marshmallow and my personal favorite, Cinnamon Swirl. This coconut and almond-based creamer tastes sweet and spicy, just like its namesake. The downside to it tasting so good is that the carton is so small.Credit: Nutpods/Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY
Ripple Half & Half
This decadent half-and-half gives coffee a rich flavor and creamy texture, like what you would expect from dairy. It’s made from pea protein, so it’s a good option if you need a creamer that’s nut- or soy-free.
Made from coconut milk and coconut oil, this powdered vegan creamer has the consistency of cornstarch while dry, but it blends into coffee like it’s half-and-half, delivering a creamy texture with a slightly sweet and coconutty flavor. Fun fact, this brand was founded by a surfer.Credit: Laird Superfoods/Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY