Many people believe that adding milk to coffee can help reduce the caffeine content, but is this actually true?
Whether it is brewed coffee with milk, or any espresso based drinks like a latte or cappuccino, what does adding milk to your coffee actually do?
Despite what some people may believe, adding milk to your coffee does not change the caffeine content of the coffee. The caffeine content remains the same, regardless of whether or not you add milk. While milk may dilute the coffee, it does not actually reduce the caffeine content.
How Does Milk Affect Coffee?
Coffee and milk have been popular for ages. Most coffee drinkers do it for the taste, but how does it affect the coffee? Other than taste, there are actually some advantages and disadvantages to adding milk to your coffee.
Does Milk Affect Caffeine Absorption in Coffee?
First, let’s tackle the question of whether milk affects caffeine absorption in coffee.
Caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, and it reaches its peak level in your blood within 30 to 60 minutes after consumption. Adding milk to your coffee can slow down the absorption of caffeine, which means that you may not feel the effects of caffeine as quickly as you would if you drank black coffee.
So while milk does not reduce the caffeine content of coffee, it does slow down its absorption.
Other Effects of Adding Milk to Coffee
Adding milk to coffee is popular because of how it affects the taste and strength of the coffee, here are some benefits when it comes to coffee taste:
- Reducing bitterness: Milk can help to reduce the bitterness of coffee, making it more palatable for some people.
- Altering texture: Milk changes the texture of coffee, making it creamier and smoother.
- Adding sweetness: Milk contains lactose, a type of sugar that can add natural sweetness to coffee.
Overall, while adding milk to your coffee won’t reduce the caffeine content, it can change the way caffeine affects your body. It can also alter the taste and texture of your coffee and add calories, so it’s worth considering these factors when deciding whether to add milk to your coffee.
Advantages of Adding Milk to Coffee
Adding milk to your coffee can have several advantages. Here are a few:
1. Reduced Acidity
Coffee is naturally acidic, which can cause stomach discomfort for some people. Adding milk to your coffee can help neutralize the acidity, making it easier on your stomach.
2. Creamier Taste
Milk adds a creamy texture and taste to your coffee, making it more enjoyable to drink. This can be especially helpful if you find black coffee too bitter.
3. Nutritional Benefits
Milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Adding milk to your coffee can help increase your daily intake of these important nutrients.
4. Energy Boost
Adding milk to your coffee can help supply your body with the carbohydrates it needs to sustain energy throughout the day. This can be especially helpful if you drink coffee in the morning and need a boost to get through the day.
5. Weight Management
While adding whole milk or cream to your coffee can increase the calorie count, adding skim or low-fat milk can help you manage your weight. Skim milk has fewer calories and less fat than whole milk or cream.
Disadvantages of Adding Milk to Coffee
While adding milk to coffee can make it creamier and more enjoyable for some people, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of.
Reduced Antioxidant Capacity
One study found that adding milk to coffee can reduce the antioxidant capacity of the beverage. The capacity decreased in proportion to how much milk was added. This is because a protein called casein in milk can block the antioxidants in coffee from being absorbed by the body. Antioxidants are important for fighting off free radicals that can cause damage to your cells, so reducing their capacity is not ideal for your health.
Increased Calorie Content
Adding milk to coffee can increase the calorie content of your beverage. For example, adding one tablespoon of whole milk to your coffee adds approximately 9 calories. If you add more than that, the calorie count can quickly add up. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake, adding milk to your coffee may not be the best idea. Or you might want to switch from whole milk to skimmed, or low caloric plant based milks like Almond milk.
Not all milk based coffees are created equal, though. For example, comparing a latte vs coffee with milk, a latte can have up to 200 calories, while a cup of coffee with a splash of milk accounts for less than 60 calories. So it’s always about making smart choices instead of cutting out something you like.
Potential for Lactose Intolerance
If you are lactose intolerant, adding milk to your coffee can cause digestive discomfort. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that some people have difficulty digesting. Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. If you experience these symptoms after adding milk to your coffee, you may want to consider using a non-dairy alternative like almond milk or soy milk.
How To Reduce the Caffeine in Coffee
If you’re looking to reduce the caffeine content in your coffee, there are several methods you can try. Adding milk to coffee for the sake of cutting caffeine is not one of them.
1. Choose the Right Coffee
The type of coffee you choose can affect the caffeine content. Dark roast coffee has less caffeine than light roast coffee. Also, espresso based drinks like Americano or Latte (using a single shot) have less caffeine than a brewed cup of coffee or cold brew.
My suggestion for a low caffeine coffee is:
- Americano, or Long Black.
- White Americano (Americano with Milk).
- Use Instant Coffee instead of ground coffee, which has less caffeine, even if you pick a strong blend.
2. Use Decaf Grounds
If you still prefer to drink brewed coffee instead of espresso based drinks or instant coffee, your best pick would be to use decaf coffee beans. This type of coffee, which has been processed to remove most caffeine content is perfect for the caffeine sensitive person. It only has insignificant traces of caffeine while keeping the taste of coffee as is.
3. Use Fewer Coffee Grounds
Using fewer coffee grounds can also reduce the caffeine content in your coffee. If you typically use two tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water, try using one tablespoon instead.
4. Combine Coffee Beans
Combining regular coffee beans with decaf coffee beans can reduce the caffeine content in your coffee. You can experiment with different ratios to find the right balance for your taste.
5. Reduce the Brewing Time
Reducing the brewing time can also reduce the caffeine content in your coffee. If you typically brew your coffee for four minutes, try brewing it for three minutes instead.
6. Reduce the Serving Size
Reducing the serving size of your coffee can also reduce the caffeine content. If you typically drink a large cup of coffee, try switching to a smaller cup instead.
By using one or more of these methods, you can reduce the caffeine content in your coffee and enjoy a less stimulating cup of joe.