Nowadays nearly everyone has some sort of coffee snack during the working day. We take for granted that we need this fuel to get through the day and milky coffees especially can feel comforting and rewarding. The feeling of a warm take- away coffee in your hand and the oral fixation of constantly sipping on large milky drink is a pleasurable treat any time of the day.
Coffee bars offer a safe relaxed ambience, with comfortable sofas and chilled music: a home away from home. They provide a perfect meeting place, often replacing pubs, or a spot to sit alone, away from the stress of everyday life, allowing you to read a book or connect to free Wi-Fi and work on your laptop.
In the UK we drink 2.5 million cups of coffee a day and 930 million lattes each year, and the biggest growth market is non-dairy milk alternatives. It is interesting to look at how healthy these alternatives actually are.
A recent scan of the milk alternative offerings makes interesting news: milk alternatives such as oat, soya, cashew, almond and coconut milk are a great alternative for vegans and people who are dairy or lactose intolerant, but are not always the healthier option. They still have fats and sugars that can even be higher than in a traditional semi-skimmed latte, and none of them have the amount of naturally occurring micronutrients that are prevalent in milk such as calcium and B-vitamins, B12 in particular. Vitamins and minerals have to be added artificially, i.e. fortified, which is never as easy for the body to absorb.
Producers of these milks add sugars and fat to replicate the texture and taste of milk. People simply do not realise how many calories they are drinking in these drinks, especially when cream and syrup are added on top.
Not to mention the hit to our pockets – the cost of one latte can be as much as an eye watering £8 in one particular Instagram-ready coffee shop in Central London! Also, you pay an extra surcharge every time you have an alternative milk substitute… £1 extra.
It is better to see these café bought milky coffees as an occasional treat rather than a daily given. Or, if you must have a shop-bought coffee every day, try to swap for it for an espresso with a little milk and a smattering of sugar and try avoid having a refined flour and sugar-laden snack with it.