Healthy Coffee Creamer without the Side Effects of Cream
Coffee is a virtual obsession; a raging locomotive with no sign of decelerating. According to the National Coffee Association, two-thirds of US adults drink it, of which 80% take cream, sugar, or milk. Quantitatively, this means the coffee creamer market has cast its net over nearly half the US adult population – approximately 327 million people!
Not all growth can be attributed to an increase in coffee consumers, however. We are living a century of customization, wherein we expect options – and a lot of them. Within the realm of coffee creamers, there are a plethora of offerings with regard to the:
- Sweetness level (e.g., unsweetened, lightly sweetened, sweetened)
- Source (e.g., dairy, almond, soy, coconut, a recent addition which we cannot disclose except by this hyperlink owing to outmoded restrictions on the mere mention of its identity)
- Flavor (e.g., vanilla, hazelnut, Irish crème, salted caramel; some brands are even partnering with iconic sweets brands like Reese's, Hershey's, Oreo, Snickers, Cinnabon, and Girl Scout Cookies)
Within these choices, we find the most diversity among the plant-based coffee creamers as they model wider societal trends – breathing new life into the antiquated little pods and half & half cartons typically accompanying morning Joe.
Coffee Creamer Nutrition
From such heterogeneity, it comes as no surprise that the nutrient density of all the coffee creamers is equally diverse as well. To compare nutrition, we've taken a wide sampling of the popular commercial varieties and compared them to Elmhurst's creamer.
- 1-3.5g fat (Elmhurst: 2.5g)
- Unsweetened: 0g (Elmhurst Unsweetened: 0g)
- Sweetened: 1-5g carbs, due to up to 5g added sugars (Elmhurst Lightly Sweetened: 1g)
- 0-1g protein (Elmhurst: 0g)
Problems with Commercial Dairy-based Creamers
We’ve said before, and now we’ll stress it again: dairy does not jive with our digestive tracts. Principally, the key problems with dairy are rooted in:
- Induction of leaky gut: Dairy contains molecules that inhibit our bodies’ digestive enzymes, preventing the full degradation of proteins in our food. Incompletely digested proteins can transit our intestinal barrier and enter our bloodstream, stimulating the immune system to mount an antibody attack that results in increased intestinal inflammation.
- Presence of allergenic proteins: Casein and whey, allergenic proteins in cow’s milk, can often be mistaken by our immune system as gluten, causing digestive distress in individuals with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.
- Intolerance to lactose: For the majority of the population, production of the enzyme lactase decreases after weaning. When undigested lactose arrives in the colon, gut bacteria feed on it, leading to the production of excessive gas, bloating, and diarrhea. It is estimated that worldwide, more than two-thirds of all adults are lactose intolerant!
Further magnifying the dairy deception, we would be remiss not to mention that many dairy-based creamers do not even contain cream as their foundational ingredient, but instead are made from blends of nonfat milk, cream, sugar, flavorings, and questionable thickeners.
Problems with Commercial Dairy-based Creamers
While most plant-based creamers don't contain lactose, many "non-dairy" creamers still have casein – a dairy byproduct – in order to impart milky flavor and texture. Additionally, it can be sensorially challenging to mimic the flavor and textural characteristics of dairy-based creamers, so you will find many brands adding vegetable oils, sugar, salt, gums or emulsifiers, and corn syrup in attempt to triumph over their competitors and best cater to consumer preferences.
What Is on Your "Best Coffee Creamer" Checklist?
Here are the qualities we desire:
- Naturally creamy with no added gums or emulsifiers
- Free of added oils
- Paleo and keto-friendly
- Flavor and nutrition derived from the source ingredient
We don’t believe this is too idealistic, yet few coffee creamers meet all of these criteria. Two exceptions come from Elmhurst: plant-based creamers made from a certain (entirely safe) ingredient; and a barista series, which includes an oat milk that performs like dairy in lattes and cappuccinos. Oat and Almond Barista Editions, joined by their cousin Milked Cashews, are unique in achieving a luxurious microfoam and satiny texture without the addition of any oils.
Coffee Creamer Flavors
Well-tuned taste buds will discern as many flavors are there are creamers. Yet over time, all creamers may start to blur into one big blah. Sensory fatigue or boredom is a real thing, until one finds that perfect something against which all else ceases to matter. Elmhurst may, in fact, have this something.
- Coffee Creamer Original Unsweetened. Hints of nuttiness that work beautifully with any roast.
- Coffee Creamer Lightly Sweetened Hazelnut. Mildly earthy and slightly smoky, thanks to the matcha and cocoa undertones that marry beautifully with the inherent bitterness of coffee.
- Coffee Creamer Lightly Sweetened French Vanilla. With just one gram of sugar, this creamer kisses a favorite childhood indulgence – soft serve vanilla ice cream basking in sugar cones – to bring you some nostalgia (without the sugar crash) for enjoyment at any hour of the day.
Coffee Creamer Recipes
Did you know coffee creamer isn't just for your morning coffee? This is especially the case when your creamer is simple enough (say, four ingredients) to function as an ingredient itself! Here are some ideas you can try today. All are courtesy of Elmhurst's resident chef, Tristan Hall. Have fun!
Elmhurst Irish Cream
(Serves 2 Cups)
- 1 ¾ Cups Elmhurst Original Unsweetened Creamer
- ¼ Cup Coffee, Chilled
- ⅓ Cup Irish Whiskey, Jameson’s
- 4 Tbsp Agave Syrup
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract, Pure
- In a blender combine, Elmhurst creamer, coffee, whiskey, agave syrup and vanilla extract. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Place in refrigerator until ready to use for your favorite beverages. Shake well before use and enjoy!
- 3 ½ Cups Elmhurst Original Unsweetened Creamer
- 2 ½ Cups Banana, Frozen and Sliced
- 1 ½ Cups Mango, Frozen and Diced
- 1 ½ Tsp Turmeric
- ¼ Tsp Cinnamon
- Place Elmhurst creamer, frozen banana and mango in a blender. Pulse until slightly combined. Add turmeric and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into desired serving vessels. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
Lemon Pesto Sauce
- 1 ½ - 2 Cups Elmhurst Original Unsweetened Creamer
- 3 Cups Spinach
- 5 Cups Basil, Fresh
- 3 Cups Hemp Seeds
- 3 Tbsp Garlic, Chopped
- ½ Cup Lemon Juice, Fresh
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- In a food processor, blender or high-speed blender add spinach, basil, hemp seeds and garlic until well combined. Add Elmhurst creamer and lemon juice to bring the pesto to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.
- Toss with desired choice of pasta and place into desired serving vessels.
- Garnish with shaved vegan Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Why Choose Elmhurst?
For all that's "new" in coffee creamers, much of it merely rehashes the old. Unwanted "bonus" ingredients, dairy, excessive amounts of sugar, lack of flavor, imitations upon imitations: it's all part of the game creamers play. However, you need no longer feel tied to this ship. The coffee train is rolling to ever more enchanting destinations; and so too is Elmhurst, having introduced not only a dairy alternative, but a powerful response to every redundant and ultimately hollow plant-based creamer out here. It can't be named in this article without getting in trouble, but you're just a quick click away from the future of coffee creamers, actualized far ahead of its time.