Being vegan is hard. No cheese, no milk, and you may well have friends and family cast quizzical glances your way during Thanksgiving dinner. Maintaining a vegan lifestyle means taking extra care when eating out, or when traveling, or when visiting friends. It can be tricky enough to navigate the highwire of life in 21st century America without having to worry about whether that Starburst contains gelatine (spoiler alert: it does).
There are similar sacrifices to be made when it comes to coffee. Alternative milks are delicious, sure, but they don’t steam quite the same as cow’s milk. Instead of a smooth, silky flat white, much of the time you’re left gazing at a watery, bubbly, almond-flavored mess with a sad attempt at latte art staring apologetically back.
So what is a vegan coffee lover to do?
Sticking to black coffee is a good place to start. The quality of coffee is increasing all the time, with coffee companies tripping over each other to roast and brew the tastiest Panama Gesha or Ethiopia Yirgacheffe micro-lot. Even if you’re a coffee-and-creamer type, as long as you can muster the courage to take that first sip, you might be surprised by what you find. Surprising flavors you never thought could be found in a coffee will make themselves known, from cardamom to plum to caramelized orange.
When you factor cold brew into the mix, and especially nitro cold brew, then black coffee starts to become even more appealing. Nitrogen-infused cold brew is smooth, creamy and delicious, no milk needed. The tiny nitrogen bubbles add texture and lightness to the coffee so that, fresh from the fridge, it cascades from the can like a stout. Best of all, you get all the intricate flavors and aromas of a cold latte, but with none of the dairy-induced complications.
But what if you want some nitro cold brew, but you also want (non dairy) milk? In that case, you need oat milk. There are myriad different alternative milk options these days, with everything from cashew to pea milks vying for your attention. Oat milk, however, is simultaneously one of the most environmentally friendly alt milk options and also very mild, allowing the flavor of the coffee to shine through unimpeded.
Cold brew also handles alternative milks better than regular coffee, as there is no chance of the hot coffee curdling the milk. Oat milk plus nitro cold brew equals a delicious, refreshing, completely vegan way to caffeinate and perk up—or try a can of RISE Nitro Brewing Co. Oat Milk Mocha for a decadent treat.