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Keurig coffee is already delicious, but a splash of milk can really bring out the flavor. You could add the milk to your mug, but there has to be a better way, right? Why not just put milk directly in the Keurig?
Unfortunately, putting milk in a Keurig’s water tank won’t work. You’ll likely break your machine and may end up with spoiled milk and dangerous bacteria in your machine. There are better ways to add milk to your Keurig coffee.
In this article, I’ll show you how to safely and conveniently add milk to your favorite Keurig drinks and even create delicious Keurig lattes and cappuccinos.
The Wide World of Milky Coffee Drinks
Milk-infused coffee drinks are staples on any cafe menu. They also usually end up as one of the shop’s best sellers, so it is no secret that milk is a powerful weapon in the home barista’s arsenal.
Different coffee brewing processes and slight tweaks to the ingredients allow the creation of all kinds of coffee drinks. The most common milk-containing drinks include espresso-based lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and mochas, drip coffee-based café au lait, and the 2020 internet favorite—Dalgona coffee.
Can You Put Milk Into a Keurig?
Unless the milk is in a Keurig Standalone Milk Frother, the answer is a straightforward NO. Milk, or any fluid besides water, has no place inside your Keurig coffee maker. Its compartment serves as a water reservoir, and its only purpose is to hold water, nothing else.
Filling the chamber with a different fluid may cause damages or even irreparable issues to your unit. For one, your Keurig applies pressure to the water inside the tank. If a Keurig pressurizes milk, a fluid heavier than water, excess pressure builds up in the pipes and mechanisms of the machine. This can easily wreck the internal parts of your Keurig.
You also risk milk residue spoiling and developing bacteria in your pipes. Not only can this residue build-up clog your machine, but it is also a serious health hazard.
Keurigs last longer if you use them as intended. Besides, we have better ways of making our favorite milky Keurig drinks.
How Can I Have Milk in My Keurig Coffee?
Just because you can’t pour milk into your Keurig does not mean you can’t have milk in your coffee. You can try any of the following methods to enjoy a rich, creamy cup of joe.
- Prepare your coffee and milk separately. Brew your usual cup of coffee using a Keurig k-cup. For the milk, you can either use it cold, heat it on the stove or in the microwave, or use a milk frother. Then, combine the two by pouring milk into your coffee mug.
- Purchase k-cups with froth packets and place them in the k-cup holder. These airtight coffee pods contain milk which allows your Keurig model to make creamy, flavorful coffee. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the milk breaking your machine since it is a product designed for your Keurig.
- Acquire a Keurig specialty coffee drink model (like the ones below) with built-in features for milk-infused coffee. These models do not have milk compartments, but they can make lattes and cappuccinos with just a few button presses.
Which Keurigs Can Make Lattes?
Filling your Keurig coffee maker with milk is a sure way to diminish its lifespan. Fortunately, the brand released two Keurig models designed specifically for this purpose, the K-Cafe and K-Latte, both of which can brew our favorite milky espresso drinks.
Between the two, Keurig K-Cafe is by far the more versatile coffee maker. It has a larger water capacity, a strong button, an easy-to-clean removable milk frother, and multiple froth settings for your brew. Whether you want coffee with cold milk, a cappuccino, or a latte, your drink is ready in minutes with this easy-to-use model.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Keurig K-Latte is the model for you. It works well with any k-cup, so you can still try different brews for your coffee. However, the downside of this model is the lower water capacity, absence of the strong button, non-stick plastic frother, and single froth setting.
The Keurig strong button is a must-have feature on these machines, so I’d highly recommend the K-Cafe instead. In a pinch, though, this budget pick will do the job.
Tips for Adding Milk to Coffee
Every step in making your coffee changes the resulting aroma, body, texture, and flavor of the drink. That is why it is crucial to know the proper way of adding milk. Here are some of the basics you need to know.
1. Match your milk with the brew
Milk balances the strong, bitter taste of brewed coffee. This additive can also overpower your coffee base, resulting in milk with a bit of caffeine rather than the other way around. Balancing these two to your preference is not easy but is definitely worth the trial and error.
A great place to start is matching the amount of milk to the roast level of your coffee. Dark roast gives heavier flavors, so this coffee goes well with the sweetness of the milk. Meanwhile, a light roast rarely needs additional milk.
Another factor to consider is the species of coffee bean to use, namely Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Arabica beans tend to give a bright, delicate flavor, so some coffee connoisseurs believe adding milk is not the best move for these beans. On the other hand, Robusta’s strong and harsh flavor is well complemented by milk.
You can find more details about these varieties in my comprehensive guide to the many types of coffee beans.
2. Discover what milk upgrades your coffee
Have you ever wondered why the flavor of coffee changes when paired with different types of milk? It’s because the richness and creaminess of the drink greatly depend on the fat and protein content of milk. This is especially true for frothed milk drinks as some milk froths better than other kinds.
Milk fat acts as a natural sweetener in coffee. It adds density to the drink and coats the tongue which changes the texture and reduces the bitterness of your coffee. Milk proteins, meanwhile, react with coffee and form a rich flavor profile. That is why whole milk (3.25% fat) creates a heavier and sweeter taste than low-fat milk (1% or 2% fat).
While baristas favor whole milk over others, this is not the go-to option for some. Some people prefer low-fat dairy milk, while others choose low-calorie, non-dairy milk like soy or almond. Whichever you prefer, it’s best to adjust your lattes and cappuccinos depending on the content of your milk.
3. Explore milk preparation methods
Just as there are several coffee brewing methods, preparing milk can be done in several ways. You can add milk to your coffee cold, warm, steamed, scalded, or frothed.
You can manually prepare milk with a saucepan, stove, and whisk. If you want an easier path, try semi-manual equipment like a microwave, steam wand, steamer, milk frother, or electric hand mixer.
Of course, the ultimate convenience comes in fully automatic methods. Automatic espresso machines that can prepare your entire latte at a touch of a button are becoming increasingly popular. Some of this automation is even making its way into budget espresso machines or more sophisticated pod coffee makers (like the higher-end DeLonghi and Breville Nespresso machines)
Can You Put Milk in a Regular Coffee Maker?
Unlike Keurig, Most coffee makers don’t use high pressures in their brewing processes. If you’ve got a regular old drip coffee maker, you might be wondering if these same rules apply. Well, they do.
You should never use milk in a coffee maker’s water reservoir. Even if it won’t break the machine (and it often will), it still introduces bacteria and spoiled milk residue that will impact the safety and flavor of your coffee.
Some brands claim to allow milk in their coffee makers, but it’s not what you’re thinking. These machines either have built-in milk frothers (like in some Nespresso OriginalLine machines) or they use milk pods similar to the ones we discussed above.
Get Milky Coffee the Way You Want It
Milk can do wonders in bringing out the flavor of your favorite coffee. If you follow the advice here, you can get delicious lattes and macchiatos in the comfort of your own home from your favorite Keurig. Just remember the do’s and don’ts when brewing, and you’re good to go!
If you’re really looking to spruce up your milky Keurig drinks, might I recommend trying some espresso k-cups? Their strong flavors are perfect for a Keurig latte. And if you really want to see everything that Keurig has to offer, be sure to check out my review of the new Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart. Their new BrewIQ system has me more excited for Keurig than I’ve ever been.