4 Zero Waste Alternatives to Cream in your Coffee


At the present moment I've managed to wander down to St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands.  I'm working a turtle conservation job where we have supplied housing and meals. This means a few things:

  1. I only generally get to a grocery store about 1 / 2 weeks
  2. When I do get a chance to buy food, it all needs to fit in a tiny mini-fridge that I share with my roommate
  3. If I get anything in cartons, it can't be recycled

Therefore, I have not been getting cream to put in my coffee, which is normally how I take it.

These are the simple fixes I've done with the limited means I have here:

1. Dark Chocolate

I've started putting about 1/2 a square of dark chocolate, I like Alter-Eco's Brown Butter, in my to-go mug so that it melts when I pour in the hot coffee. This gives an amazing flavor, slightly sweetens it, and can cut the acidity of the coffee just enough!

2. Coconut Milk

I'm not talking about the coconut milk sold in cartons for drinking, I'm talking straight out of the can with some congealed oil at the top. Dump this into a jar and mix it up, then pour it into coffee and enjoy! This keeps better than dairy milk, takes up less room, and comes in aluminum cans! This will also more closely resemble the creamy texture of coffee with dairy cream.

3. Vanilla Extract

I especially love to add vanilla extract to my cold brew coffee. It has just enough of another flavor to take the edge off the coffee alone. Though I do just use this instead of cream, admittedly, it also tastes freaking amazing in addition to cream! Almond extract is excellent as well, if you like that flavor!

4. Drink it Black

I know this sounds obvious, or like something to totally write off. But, if you get good quality coffee from a local roaster (if you have one near you) black coffee can taste pretty darn good. If you haven't given it a solid effort in a while, maybe try just a cup or two and see how you like it!