The Surprising Truth About Putting Buttermilk in Coffee

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If you are not a fan of black coffee, coffee can sometimes taste bitter. 

Some drink their coffee with a strong, bitter natural flavor, while others need a kick to make their drink sweeter and creamy. 

People add all sorts of milk to their coffee: regular milk, skim milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk half and half, almond milk, creamer, and even butter (yes, butter).

You might want to try leftover buttermilk in the fridge when you run out of your coffee creamer to make it buttery and creamy.

But can you put buttermilk in your coffee?

It is not recommended to add buttermilk because it has a sour taste that can ruin your cup of coffee. Buttermilk is thick and can add creaminess to your drink. However, it’s made by fermenting churned butter, creating an acidic sour flavor that may be too overwhelming.

It’s not about taste only; what you add to your coffee can change the drink altogether. 

Buttermilk has a distinctive kind of buttery and creamy taste with a hunch of sour. Buttermilk is a good substitute for regular milk for baking treats such as cake and biscuits as it adds fat and texture. But it will not sit well in coffee because coffee is already an acidic product. 

Read on to find more about why it’s not a good idea to use buttermilk in your cup of coffee. 

What Happens When You Put Buttermilk in Coffee?

coffee being dripped into two tiny cups

Buttermilk will kill the taste of coffee and make it too tangy to drink. 

Buttermilk is “leftover” milk after butter is made. In this unpasteurized milk, lactic acid and a compound known as diacetyl fermented some of the sugars of milk that give buttermilk; its trademark is slightly tangy and sour taste. 

So, sour milk in acidic coffee results in a less flavorful product, which I think is a bad idea altogether!

Although compared to regular milk, buttermilk does have a thicker consistency, but it is still not a suitable additive for your cup of coffee because of its sour taste. 

However, you can add butter and regular milk to your coffee. It will give you the required buttery, creamy texture that you are looking for but not buttermilk. 

Unlike buttermilk, regular milk adds a light sweetness that enhances the coffee’s natural flavor. 

There are still other ways to make coffee sweet and creamy, so you don’t need to try buttermilk. 

You may try honey and heavy cream instead of sugar or coffee creamer; it will bring out the creamy texture without overloading the calories in your coffee. You can read my article where I wrote about what I think are the best sweeteners for coffee to know more.

Is Buttermilk in Coffee a Good Idea?


Even though you like to drink buttermilk, adding it into your cup of coffee is not a good idea.

Buttermilk has a bitter taste like eggnog. Adding it into any acidic food or drink will make a bad combination. Buttermilk pH level is 4.4-4.8, whereas coffee has around 4.85 to 5.10. When you brew them together, it will end up in a mess up an acidic drink that you don’t want to taste either.

Buttermilk will not sit subtly either and get curdled after adding to coffee.

If you are confused about what to do with leftover buttermilk in the fridge, then awesome buttermilk cookies. Buttermilk biscuits and cookies are delicious. Buttermilk coffees with an evening coffee sound much tastier.

For coffee, you can try butter instead. Bulletproof coffee is made by adding unsalted butter to black coffee.

Or you can add some other milk if you want to try something different than regular milk.

Here’s a table to show the value of nutrients of all milk-alternative you can use in coffee:

Milk (one cup serving/ 240ml)Protein Calories
Almond MIlk 1g 40
Soy MIlk3.3g131
Oat Milk 4g130
Coconut Milk5g552
Cow Milk8g103
Rice MIlk 1g 140
Cashew 1g50

Four Best Alternatives for Milk in Coffee

Coffee tastes much natural without any additives. However, some types of coffee need milk to taste divine such as cappuccino, latte, chocolate coffee, or white coffee.

 If you don’t have regular milk in your fridge or you want to try something different from regular coffee, try these four best alternatives for milk in coffee for a taste change. 

Here are my top 5 picks:

Almond Milk

Almond milk is one of the famous milk substitutes, it is made with whole almonds and water.

It gives your coffee a nutty flavor. It goes well with coffee, tea, and smoothies. 

People who are lactose intolerant usually opt for almond milk as it has a sweet taste, making it a great addition to a cup of coffee. 

It is poured well and doesn’t curdle up by adding it into the coffee. It is available in sweetened and unsweetened flavors in the market though sweetened taste much better in coffee.

The best thing is that you can make almond milk at home. To make almond milk at home, you may follow these simple steps:

  • Soak the almonds overnight
  • Drain and rinse
  • Combine blender and blend well
  • Strain the almond and then finally press and extract all the almond milk from the mixture. 
  • Add sweetener to taste.

Tada! It’s ready to go in your cup of joy.

Soy Milk

For people looking for a non-dairy substitute for coffee, you should definitely try out soy milk. It adds a silky texture to your cup of coffee. 

Soy milk is the second most popular substitute for milk and covers 15% of non-dairy sales. 

It is naturally sweetened and you don’t need to add extra sugar or any other additives. 

Also, soy milk does not have stable pH, which means it curdles after a few minutes of adding it into the coffee. It will go well with less acidic coffee, such as darker roast coffee. 

Lastly, soy milk is not recommended for people with a FODMAP intolerance made from soybeans.

Oat Milk 

I wrote a separate article on oat milk in coffee and you can read that for a more elaborate explanation.

For vegans or non-vegans, oat milk is one of the most used milk as they are health-conscious coffee drinkers with only 140–170 calories in one cup. Oat milk is a great healthy alternative for cow’s milk or coffee creamer. 

It steams perfectly and doesn’t get curdled in coffee, so it’s an excellent replacement for milk in your latte or cappuccino. Additionally, it contains no gums or stabilizers, enhancing your coffee drink naturally. 

And yes! You can make oat milk at home:

  • Add 1 cup rolled oats in 4 cups water
  • Add in blender and blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds
  • Then strain through a clean cloth

Ready to serve!


Half-and-half is a combination of an equal amount of heavy cream and whole milk. It gives you a similar taste to regular milk in coffee but it has an extra creamy texture. 

Half-and-half is a healthier option compared to adding coffee creamer to coffee. Also, it is incredibly delicious and readily available. 

To make it at home, add equal parts of heavy cream and whole milk in a jar and shake well, and it is ready for your cup of coffee. 

Final Verdict 

What you add or do not add to your coffee is more of a personal preference. I won’t recommend trying buttermilk because you will end up with coffee having a bad tangy taste.

A study on cafe and coffee shops trends and results show the rise of milk alternatives, as coffee lovers want to try out new flavors of coffee by adding different kinds of milk. 

So, if you also want to try out something else than regular milk, then it can be soy, half-and-half, almond, or cow’s milk but not buttermilk!

Watch the video to know what you should not add to your cup of coffee ever!

Do you want to know what else you can add to your coffee, if not buttermilk?

If you run out of your favorite coffee creamer, try cow’s or almond milk, these are excellent alternatives to add consistency and creaminess to coffee. Coconut milk is also an excellent substitute for coffee creamer if you don’t like cow or almond milk.

Also, they are a healthy option compared to heavy coffee creamer that is full of calories.