Coffee Hack: Is Buttermilk The Secret Ingredient?

Jan 02, 2023 • Shirnyl Dorothy Magos

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Can you use buttermilk instead of regular milk, cream, or even butter when making coffee?
If you're interested in learning more about enjoying coffee with the additions like buttermilk, just read on!

Cup of milk and a bottle of milk

What is Buttermilk?

The milky liquid produced as a by product of butter is referred to as buttermilk.  In other words, this refers to the leftover after butter has been churned from cream. It works wonderfully in culinary applications. 

Buttermilk, which some may find surprising, is a common component of many delectable dishes in regions of the world. It's a staple of the American morning, but it has many other uses besides biscuits and gravy, including as a coffee additive and dairy milk substitute. 

Furthermore, buttermilk is a type of fermented milk. These days, you're more likely to get cultured buttermilk, which means it's been loaded with good bacteria. It differs from traditional buttermilk, which is rarely encountered in Western countries today.

Bottle of milk with a bouquet of white peonies

How does buttermilk taste?

Not to put you off too much, buttermilk has a flavor similar to sour milk. This flavor is produced naturally as a byproduct of bacterial fermentation. Buttermilk tastes less sweet and sourer than regular milk because the sugar in the milk has been converted to lactic acid.

Unlike traditional buttermilk, buttermilk produced using current methods is smooth and creamy. However, the flavor will be identical, despite the traditional buttermilk's watery and thin consistency.

A drop of milk splashing with a black background

Can You Put Buttermilk In Coffee?

You can give it a try, actually. The idea of buttermilk in coffee may sound appealing. You may be hoping for a coffee rich in flavor and velvety, sweet aftertaste.

In truth, when you put the two together for the first time, you may find that the flavor isn't quite what you were expecting. You’ll most likely get disappointed. 

A hand pouring milk into a cup of coffee

Does Buttermilk Taste Good In Coffee?

Even though buttermilk is somewhat watery, it can add a velvety smoothness to your coffee. However, from a taste perspective, buttermilk with coffee is not a worthwhile mix. Coffee isn't particularly complimentary to the taste of buttermilk. Taste-wise, if you combine the two, you get something that tastes a lot like awful Greek or natural yogurt: sour and gritty.

Is Buttermilk Good In Coffee?

The Pro

Other people use buttermilk for their coffee as a milk alternative. They would use buttermilk for a creamy-textured coffee. 

Regarding nutrition, buttermilk is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, which helps build muscle and protects against osteoporosis, among other benefits. Buttermilk is also naturally low in sugar and carbohydrates, derived entirely from milk, which contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar.

Moreover, buttermilk has a longer shelf life than fresh whole milk, so it's a good alternative for people who don't consume a lot of milk but have a hard time finishing a gallon before it goes bad.

The Con

It's been said that buttermilk tastes similar to eggnog because of its bitter aftertaste. Putting it into an acidic drink like coffee will just make things worse. The pH of buttermilk ranges from  4.4 and 4.8, whereas that of coffee is between 4.85 and 5.10. Mixing them together produces neither of you would want to drink an acidic brew.

The combination of buttermilk and coffee is probably not appealing to your taste buds. In spite of this, many individuals are looking for alternatives to milk in coffee, and their motivations often have little to do with taste.

Does Buttermilk Curdle In Coffee?

Adding buttermilk to hot coffee will cause the buttermilk to curdle and become sour. 

Buttermilk Alternatives for Coffee

So, what can you use in its place besides buttermilk? Which ingredient should you use if you want to enhance the coffee's flavor without changing the drink's texture?


If you want a buttery flavor in your coffee, skip the buttermilk and use real butter instead. To top it all off, butter won't curdle when combined with coffee. By exchanging buttermilk for butter, you can give your coffee a mellow, mellow, and even slightly sweet taste.

bulletproof coffee with coffee beans and butter
Source: Cooked and Love

Other types of milk 

It's essential to keep in mind that every type of milk comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so you should try out a few before settling on the one that works best for you. If you’re tired of cow’s milk, you can give these milk alternatives a try for your coffee:

Condensed milk

Since a portion of the milk's water has been removed, the resulting beverage is much more concentrated, and the sugar boosts the milk's already rich texture.

It's worth noting that you can use condensed milk instead of coffee creamer and heavy cream with wonderful results. Reasonably priced, especially in comparison to coffee shop beverages. Moreover, you can store condensed milk for a very long period.

Condensed milk being poured in a jar
Source: 4sonrus

Oat milk

Morning is the most fantastic time to drink oat milk, especially when mixed with coffee. The consistency of oat milk is unique and smooth. It's also frequently sweetened, so it adds another dimension to your coffee. Furthermore, it is vegan-friendly and a good source of minerals like fiber, which aids digestion, and calcium, which supports healthy bones and teeth. 

Oat milk with a boal of oats

Almond milk

Almond milk has become a staple at many cafés. This product is an excellent alternative for those who must avoid dairy due to their diet. This non-dairy milk replacement tastes almost exactly like milk, just sweeter. This adds a nutty aftertaste that goes well with the harshness of the coffee.

Almond milk with almonds

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a fantastic alternative to dairy milk for coffee drinkers as it makes the coffee smooth and creamy. Thus, you won't need any additional sweeteners because it already has a natural sweetness! In terms of coffee, it pairs best with darker roasts, which have less acidity. However, soy milk's unstable pH causes it to curdle in the coffee after only a few minutes. 

a cup of soy milk and soy beans
Source: Our Plant Based World

Take Away

The simple fact that milk alters the flavor and texture of coffee is why so many of us enjoy it with milk and other dairy products. Can you put buttermilk in coffee? Although buttermilk adds a creamy texture to your coffee, its mild sourness will ruin the taste. 

To be clear, it is possible to mix buttermilk with coffee, but there are better ideas. However, buttermilk has more beneficial elements and fewer calories than ordinary milk. There are better alternatives to having a nice cup of creamy coffee. You can add butter, oat milk, almond milk, or even sweetened condensed milk.


Dorothy is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RND) and teaches food and nutrition at a university. She is also a freelance writer and a fitness enthusiast. As a coffee lover, she appreciates the taste of a well-pressed cup of coffee and the beautiful complexity of each brewing method.

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