Coffee has a hint of bitterness that many people enjoy but that may be too intense for others. Milk balances coffee perfectly, can improve its taste, and reduces its acidity.

What happens if you use milk instead of water to brew coffee? It’s one thing to add milk to coffee, but it’s another to actually brew coffee with milk instead of water.

Many factors should be considered when using milk with coffee, the most important of which is the nature of milk in hot water.

We’ll explore what happens when you attempt to replace water with milk as you brew your coffee, and what ratio the coffee to milk should be.

We’ll also find out if you should use hot or cold milk, and what methods can be used to brew coffee with milk. Finally, we’ll look at milk alternatives for those who are lactose-intolerant.

Can you Brew Coffee in Milk?

Can you Brew Coffee in Milk?

Of course. But you can’t brew coffee with milk in the same way that you brew it with water. If you use milk to brew your coffee, you’ll have to exercise lots of caution.

Milk breaks down easily under high temperatures, unlike water. For example, when brewing coffee, you need water to reach temperatures of around 200 °F. But if milk reaches those temperatures, it loses most of its properties. 

Milk doesn’t hold very well under hot conditions, so you must be careful when heating it. Brewing coffee with milk requires you not to heat it for very long.

Heat your milk to around 150 °F, this should be enough to brew your coffee. The taste will not be very different from coffee that has had milk added afterward.

If you find it difficult to maintain the temperature of the milk, you can also do a cold brew, that is, use cold milk to brew your coffee. Is that a possibility? Yes, and we’ll explore it in a moment.

You can also simply add instant coffee to warm milk; that is, get your milk to the appropriate temperature (~150 °F) and then add your instant coffee.

Milk-brewed coffee tastes similar to regularly brewed coffee and milk but may actually taste better because of its dominant milk flavor.

Milk to Coffee Ratio

Milk to Coffee Ratio

When brewing coffee with milk, the ratio of coffee will differ from what it is with water. In a normal latte, the standard combination is 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a thin layer of microfoam.

But when you’re brewing coffee with milk, remember that the milk is also replacing the water, so there has to be more.

For hot milk (~150 °F), the ratio is about 1:15, that is, fifteen parts milk for one part coffee. This means that you should use about 300 ml of milk for about 20 g of coffee.

Hot or Cold Brew

Hot or Cold Brew

There are several different methods of brewing coffee in milk. The only problem is that milk breaks down under high temperatures and burns easily—it can also destroy your coffee maker.

So, you need to be careful about how to achieve the perfect temperature.

When making cold brew coffee, you have no such worries. Some experts believe that the best way to brew coffee in milk is with a cold brew.

When making a cold brew, the extraction process is not as fast as when using ordinary water, but it doesn’t take too long—the longer the coffee is brewed, the more bitter it becomes.

Also, it is necessary to refrigerate your milk and coffee when making cold brew. Leaving milk at room temperature for many hours will spoil it.

Cold milk-brewed coffee tastes similar to normal cold brew coffee. However, it has a creamier texture as it has more milk.

Brewing Methods for Brewing Coffee in Milk

Several methods can be used to brew coffee in milk, but the most common are

  • French Press
  • Pour Over
  • Cold Brew
  • Instant Coffee

These methods are the best because they don’t involve any application of heat to the milk during brewing. Other methods can also be used but they can cause problems as heating milk can scald it.

If you add milk to the water tank of a drip machine, this is a sure way of destroying it—burnt milk will destroy the machine. You also shouldn’t use a Moka pot or percolator, as adding milk to an espresso maker will quickly ruin the pot. 

Generally, using a machine to brew coffee with milk will never be a great idea. Milk contains calcium carbonate, which can eventually cause clogs in a machine.

Also, cleaning a machine after brewing coffee with milk is a lot of hard work.

Let’s look at the appropriate methods:

French Press

French Press

A French press provides the most appropriate method of brewing coffee with milk. Start by heating your milk in a pan. Heat it at a very low temperature to prevent it from heating too quickly.

Remember, the temperature shouldn’t exceed 160 °F. Once it has reached the right temperature, add it to your French press. 

To allow for appropriate extraction, you may need to add a few more grounds of coffee. This is because milk cools faster than water. However, you do need to be careful not to add too much coffee.

It’s usually better to use coarse grinds of coffee for a French press, but when using milk, you should go for finer grounds.

The ratio of milk to coffee should be 15:1. Then, press the plunger to remove the grounds and pour your drink to enjoy your cup of French press coffee brewed with milk.

Instant Coffee

To brew instant coffee with milk, heat your milk in a small pot. Remember, it must be heated on low heat. Add your instant coffee granules to a mug with some sweetener (if you want).

Then, once the milk has reached the appropriate temperature, add it to the coffee cup and stir it well. As you do, the coffee will dissolve in the milk, and you will have a delicious cup of instant coffee brewed with milk.

Cold Brew

Cold Brew

Cold brew is an excellent way of brewing coffee in milk. Instead of adding your coffee granules to water, add them to cold milk and let the extraction begin.

Remember that the brewing time should be between 8–10 hours, rather than 18 hours, which is what’s recommended for a normal cold brew.

Add about 30 g of ground coffee to 450 ml of milk and gently stir to allow it to dissolve. While coarse grounds are ideal for regular cold brew, use a finer grind if you’re using milk.

Ensure that you refrigerate the drink while it’s brewing. While this is not compulsory for ordinary cold brew, it is necessary when using milk.

When you’re done, you may need to dilute the drink with more milk before drinking to reduce the bitterness. Cold brew is different from iced coffee, although they share some similarities.


The pour-over method can only be used if you don’t use a paper filter. That’s because the milk, which replaces the water in brewing, can get clogged up in the paper.

Can you Use Milk Alternatives?

Can you Use Milk Alternatives?

If you want to brew your coffee with milk but don’t want to use whole milk, you can use other alternatives.

The most common ones are coconut, soy, and almond milk. Remember, non-dairy milk does not contain as much fat as normal milk.


Brewing coffee in milk is an exciting new way of enjoying your favorite coffee. There are several methods to brew coffee with milk, but the most popular methods are a French press and cold brew.

If you have a regular coffee-making machine, heating milk instead of water will quickly damage the machine, so this is strongly discouraged.


Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Ashok Parmar


My name is Ashok Parmar, and for seven years, I worked as a warehouse manager that strictly dealt with coffee shops all around the United States.

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