Brewing Coffee With Milk Instead of Water – Yay or Nay?

If you’re not a fan of black coffee, then I can say with confidence that you like adding milk to your cup of joe. You brew your coffee and then add some milk to it to smoothen your coffee and make it less bitter. But almost everyone who adds milk to coffee has asked this question.

Can you brew coffee with milk instead of water? You can brew your coffee with milk instead of water using a french press or as a cold brew. These two brewing methods give you a smooth, nuttier drink with lower coffee strength. Try not to over-extract as it can make your coffee more bitter. You should avoid the drip coffee machine, Moka pot, and percolator as the result is not that impressive.

Can You Brew Coffee With Milk in a Coffee Maker?

You don’t want to make coffee with milk using a coffee maker. If you’re adding milk to your coffee maker instead of water, you will notice bacteria development in its carafe over time. This can end up destroying your coffee machine.

Milk contains a lot of stuff when you compare it with water. It comes with proteins, fats, and minerals like calcium.

When you use milk in your coffee machine, the risk of proteins breaking up and developing bacteria is pretty high. Thanks to the calcium in milk, you also might have to clean calcium deposits in the carafe now and then.

If you have a pretty good coffee machine at home and want to add the goodness of milk to your coffee, there is an easier way. Make coffee the usual way and simply add milk to your cup of coffee. Yep, it’s that simple.

Can You Make Cold Brew Coffee With Milk Instead of Water?

Cold brew is the best way to brew your coffee with milk instead of water. Just add milk instead of water and your cold brew milk coffee should be ready. The cold brew concentrate can be a bit heavy so diluting it with more milk before you drink is highly recommended.

As one would expect, there is a little more to making a good cup of coffee with milk using the cold brewing method.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind before making a cold brew coffee directly with milk.

Brewing Time

With water, the cold brew process can go on for up to 12 to 24 hours. But with milk, giving the same amount of time can result in a super bitter drink.

You might want to restrict the brewing time to a maximum of 8 hours or 12 hours in case you forgot about it. Any more time, there is a good chance you’ll end up with a bitter cold brew concentrate that needs to be worked upon.

Even with the right brewing time, you will have to dilute the cold brew coffee concentrate. When you’re making your first batch of cold brew milk coffee, be sure to keep the brewing time in mind.

Grind Size

For cold brew, it is important to have coarsely ground coffee. Some even prefer extra coarse coffee grounds.

With a coarse grind, you will get the extraction part right with the right amount of brewing time (8 to 10 hours). I recommend this as it can make or break your cold brew milk coffee.

A medium grind is also okay but you should not go with a fine grind in any case. A fine or superfine grind will not help in any way when it comes to the cold brew method. 

A fine grind will result in over-extraction giving you a super bitter drink that is very hard to consume. It’s just a bad cup of coffee.

So make sure to use coarse or even extra-coarse coffee grounds in the cold brew process to get the best results.

This is Not Iced Latte (or Latte)

It is very common for people to confuse cold brew coffee with iced coffee. They are not the same and it holds true here as well.

Yes, the resulting drink is going to look like a latte. But it is not an iced latte. 

The cold brew milk coffee is not as smooth as a latte when it comes to taste. A latte is a lot smoother and carries more coffee flavor.

Brewing Coffee With Milk Using a French Press

A French press is another way to brew coffee with milk instead of water.

There are many reasons why I prefer the French press over other brewing methods with specialized equipment. When it comes to brewed regular coffee, most coffee lovers are going to have a French press or an Aeropress at their disposal.

Even with the French press, you have to careful when it comes to cleaning and maintaining it. Since milk comes with good amounts of calcium, you don’t want to leave your used French press without cleaning for a long time.

How to brew coffee with milk using the French press?

You can start by heating your milk in a pan. Heat it at a low temperature and giving it a constant stir (very similar to making a coffee ice cream). Once the milk has reached the right temperature, add it to the French press.

Do note that milk will cool a lot faster, so it is smart to add some extra coffee grounds during the extraction process. You don’t want to both under-extract or over-extract coffee, so do fine-tune the process to see what works best for you.

Can You Make Instant Coffee With Milk Instead of Water?

You can make instant coffee with milk. 

To make instant coffee with milk instead of water, you have to heat your milk in a kettle. Add instant coffee granules to your coffee cup and some sugar (if you must). Once the milk is hot enough, pour it into that mug and stir well until coffee and sugar are completely dissolved. Your instant milk coffee is ready.

How well does instant coffee with milk taste?

It is not going to win any awards, that’s for sure. If you’re going to compare this with brewed coffee, then the latter would win on any day. 

Since milk is involved, people might also want to compare the taste of instant milk coffee with that of a latte. It’s not even a competition. A latte is much better in terms of both taste and texture.

Brewing Methods That Don’t Work For Brewing Coffee With Milk

While the French press and the cold brew are great ways to brew coffee with milk, other methods are not good any time of the day.

Pour Over

You can use a pour-over if it comes with a reusable mesh filter. It can be cleaned and reused. Do note that cleaning can become a laborious process when milk is involved.

But if your pour-over setup comes with a paper filter, then brewing coffee with milk is not a good idea. Since milk is full of fat, it can get clogged in the filter.

If your coffee brewing depends on using a pour-over setup, then stick with water. You can add milk to your coffee once it is made which is better with this brewing technique.

Moka Pot

A Moka pot does not do well with milk.

If you love milk in your coffee, you can add it later. But adding milk to brew your coffee can damage the pot and you might end up buying a new one.

Drip Machine

I have already touched on this. Never add milk to your coffee machine. 

A coffee machine is designed for mixing water and coffee. When you add milk, you are trying to reinvent the wheel and with that, you might even break the wheel (yay for the Game of Thrones reference).


Adding milk for brewing coffee in your percolator is a bad idea.

A percolator heats the liquid to a high temperature. Since milk comes with a ton of calcium in it, there is a good chance your percolator will have calcium deposits on it over time.

If you’re looking to make your percolator cleaning process more difficult, then add milk to your brewing process.

Why Use Milk for Coffee Instead of Water?

Black coffee isn’t for everyone.

Some people can’t stand the taste of black coffee and for them, adding something to bring down the harshness is a godsend.

You guessed it, milk is perfect for that job.

Milk comes with natural sugar in it. Adding milk adds some natural sweetness to your cup of coffee. It reduces the bitterness by a good deal and also makes drinking more coffee possible.

If you’re calorie conscious, then you might want to stay away from milk as it can increase your caloric intake easily. But if you don’t care about that, then milk is a very good additive for your coffee.

You can also add other things to sweeten your coffee. I have written a post on it, be sure to read it if you’re interested.

You can find it here: Healthy Ways to Sweeten Your Coffee

Brewing Coffee With Milk Instead of Water – Closing Thoughts

Milk is a great addition to coffee. It improves the taste, texture and gives you a creamier drink.

But brewing coffee with milk is a different business altogether. Yes, the methods I discussed above are fine for brewing coffee with milk. That doesn’t mean you should do it.

If you want milk in your coffee drink, then the best way is to add milk to your brewed coffee. Make a cup of black coffee using the brewing method of your choice and then add milk to make the drink suit your taste.

If you have any questions, do get in touch and I’ll get back to you as soon as humanely possible.

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