The most effective way to make white coffee is to add milk in different proportions according to the brewing method you use on a daily basis. Knowing how to make white coffee perfectly will depend on the strength of your coffee when it is black and allow you to judge how much milk to add to make it just right.
Making white coffee is not as easy as it sounds because adding the wrong amount of milk will completely ruin the flavour but if you get it right then you will look at coffee in a completely different way.
We will convert your daily coffee drinking from something you don’t give much thought to into something that you actually look forward to every day.
What exactly is white coffee?
If aliens came to visit earth one of the first things we would probably do to help them get settled in is offer them a cup of coffee.
That’s what we humans do right? Someone pops over and one of the first things you ask them is if they fancy a tea or coffee.
The next thing we ask is if they take it black or white. If they respond with white then we go straight to the fridge and add some milk to the black coffee. The coffee does not turn white but it’s good enough to be classified as “white coffee”
So if the Martian asked for a white coffee and we handed him a coffee with milk, they would be perfectly entitled to ask why they requested a white coffee but have been given a brown one.
Black coffee is black in colour but white coffee is black coffee with milk added. The fact that white coffee is brown in colour after the milk is added is a nuance of the English language and something that everyone accepts.
If you just add in a random amount of milk to your coffee then you are seriously missing out.
There are a number of different methods to brew your coffee and they all produce a different type of flavour and some are more suited to white coffee than others.
Then there are all the different coffee drinks that have milk added to them but instead of being called white coffee they are called things like cappuccino or latte.
And just to really throw in a curveball, recent years have seen the introduction of the “flat white”!
It’s not flat and it’s not white but someone came up with flat white and it stuck.
We will discuss all of the most popular brewing methods and how to get the best flavour from a “white coffee” with each of the different brewing methods and drink types.
How to make white coffee taste better
Before we get into the specifics of each drink type and brewing method, there are a few key things you need to do first.
Always use fresh milk. If you buy the regular supermarket milk then you’ll be lucky if it stays fresh for a few days so always give it a quick smell to make sure it hasn’t gone sour.
Use full-fat milk. The words “full fat” tend to put a lot of people off and the correct wording is actually “whole milk”.
Whole milk has approximately 3% fat and semi-skimmed milk about 1.5% so if you are only having a couple of coffees a day it really isn’t going to make much difference at all.
Whole milk tastes much better in coffee. All of the high street coffee shops use whole milk in all of the coffee’s they make because it complements coffee perfectly.
Semi-skimmed is ok as well but if you want a good tasting cup of coffee, stay away from skimmed milk. there is no flavour at all in skimmed milk and if anything, it will make your coffee taste worse than not adding milk at all.
Don’t buy the supermarket bog standard milk. There is nothing wrong at all with the supermarket own-brand milk as long as you drink it within 1 or 2 days. After that, it starts to lose its freshness and that will affect the flavour of your coffee.
Personally, I would recommend Cravendale milk. I have been using it for years and in my opinion, it is miles better than the standard supermarket milk and it doesn’t cost that much more either.
There are several things that make it far superior. Firstly it stays fresher for much longer. Once you open it, it will be good for at least 5 days and sometimes longer.
Secondly, it tastes much better. This is because it gets filtered creating a purer milk with less bacteria. The bacteria in milk turns it sour so with less bacteria it says fresher for much longer and makes it purer.
The amount of milk that you add is also crucial to the flavour of your coffee. Everyone’s taste is different with some people preferring a super strong coffee whilst others prefer something smoother and milder.
If you have always taken your white coffee with lots of milk try reducing the amount of milk you take to bring out more of the coffee flavour.
You may be surprised how much better coffee can taste if you don’t drown it in milk.
How to make instant white coffee
Most people in the UK (70%) still drink instant coffee as their method of choice when it comes to making a cup of white coffee.
If this is how you like to drink your coffee then a few simple tweaks will improve the taste.
Use less coffee. Most people add too much coffee to start with before pouring the water on top.
Instant coffee is highly concentrated coffee that has already been brewed and then frozen and broken down into finely ground granules so you need less than you think.
The standard for one cup of coffee is a heaped teaspoon of instant coffee granules. Using that amount tends to make the coffee really strong and so you have to use a lot more milk to reduce the strength.
Try using a level teaspoon instead of heaped so that you don’t have to use as much milk to get the strength you like.
Use less milk. Adding loads of milk dilutes the coffee and the flavour so that you taste more milk than coffee.
By reducing the amount of coffee, you won’t need to add so much milk and the ratio of water, coffee and milk will be more balanced creating a coffee where you can taste the coffee more than you taste the milk.
Add water just off the boil. Instant coffee tastes best when drunk as soon as possible after its made. Whilst adding boiling water won’t adversely affect the flavour, you won’t be able to drink it straight away
Check the colour of your coffee. A light to medium-dark brown colour is what you are looking for. You will be surprised how much difference it makes to the flavour just by adding or reducing the amount of milk slightly.
Start by adjusting the amount of coffee and milk to get the flavour you like best and then check the colour of the coffee. You can then use that as a guide to get the same thing every time.
Using the above tips will help you get more flavour out of your instant coffee but it’s the least tasty way to drink coffee because the quality of the coffee tends to be poorer and it’s not fresh.
Learn more about how instant coffee is made in this article and why you should consider trying a different way:
How to make white coffee with an espresso machine
These machines produce intense strong coffee called espresso. A double espresso contains about 60ml of coffee which then has milk added to it in order to produce your drink of choice.
Making espresso in the right way is crucial to getting a great flavour when you add milk to create a white coffee.
Learn more about what espresso is in this article:
It’s easier to work out the type of white coffee you like with coffee produced from an espresso machine because they are given specific names.
The most popular are Latte, Cappuccino, Flat white and Cortado.
A Latte is approximately 1 part espresso to 4 parts coffee so a 60ml double espresso should have 240ml of milk added.
Cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk and 1 part froth.
Flat white is 1 part espresso and 2 parts steamed milk.
Cortado is 1 part espresso and 1 part steamed milk
The problem is that when you go to Starbucks, Café Nero or Costa it is very inconsistent with different amounts of milk being added by staff that have no idea about how much milk to add to each drink.
Here are some links to useful guides on how much milk should be added to the most popular white coffee drinks made using an espresso machine.
If you want to produce a great tasting white coffee from an espresso machine consider getting one and making it at home yourself.
It works out about 30p a cup instead of £3 in a coffee shop and you’ll be able to make it just right every time.
They are also a lot cheaper than you might think:
How to make white coffee with a filter coffee machine
Coffee produced with a filter coffee machine tends to be a lot milder than coffee made with an espresso machine so it’s easy to make the mistake of adding too much milk.
You can use the same principle as instant coffee and try adding different amounts of milk until you get the flavour you like the most.
Then check the colour of the coffee and try and replicate that each time.
Here are some great value for money filter coffee machines to consider:
How to make white coffee with a cafetiere
Cafetières tend to produce coffee similar in strength to filter coffee machines so be careful not to use too much milk otherwise your coffee will be weak and flavourless.
The secret is getting the correct shade of brown and sticking to that each time for consistency of flavour.
How to make white coffee with a pod machine
These types of coffee machines make it as easy as possible to produce a decent tasting cup of coffee but there are many different strengths of coffee available.
The key to making a great white coffee with a pod machine is to try out the different types of pod’s on offer to find the strength that suits you best and then add a small amount of milk.
An easy mistake is to get a really strong pod and then add loads of milk to make it milder.
Try a milder coffee pod and add less milk. It will taste better.
No matter what brewing method you use, you are now perfectly equipped to get the best possible flavour from something you drink every single day.