After reading some wonderful suggestions from readers, I decided to pick up some hazelnut milk Pacific Natural Foods as my first coffee experiment. (Thank you, Veggie Girl!) Initial impressions: Nice nutritional information, although I’m not crazy about all of the sugars and some of the additives. An initial taste sip reveals it to be very nutty and tasty.
Now for the plunge: into the coffee it goes. The result was very subtle and unexpected. If I hadn’t made the cup myself, I don’t think I would have known that I wasn’t drinking black coffee. The nutty taste blended right in and didn’t taste overly sweet at all. However, the taste was smoother and less bitter than black coffee…the hazelnut milk seemed to mellow the cup without watering it down or adding competing flavors, which was quite nice. This wouldn’t be a substitute if I truly had a craving for rich, cream spiked coffee, but this was a perfectly acceptable way to get my morning cup of French Roast.
Nutritionally and taste-wise, this seems like a great everyday alternative to my cream habit. However, I forgot one pesky detail. Food allergies run pretty strongly in my family. I was lucky and escaped the worst of them: I’m only allergic to a few things and my allergic reactions are never severe or dangerous. However, I do have a tendency to be allergic to tree nuts. I get mild allergic reactions to most tree nuts if I eat them too often, and eating a nut every day is a recipe for becoming completely unable to tolerate it. (No more almonds or macadamia nuts for me.) At the moment, I can still tolerate hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans in moderate doses, but I am concerned that if I start using a nut-based product in my coffee every morning, I will aggravate my allergies and have to give them up entirely. That would make me very sad. Today is about the third time I’ve used hazelnut milk in something this week, and while I didn’t get a full blown reaction, I started to get that warning itchy-tight feeling in my throat that tells me to cool it with the nuts. So I guess the bottom line is that I know now that hazelnut milk tastes delicious in coffee, but that I probably shouldn’t be drinking it every morning.
Regardless, my coffee was delicious. To go with it, I had half of an English Muffin with peanut butter and some leftover raspberry sauce.