Many people use milk in their coffee, hot or cold. It softens the bitterness, adds a new taste, and changes the texture. If you have ever run out of milk, you know that black coffee just is not the same.
Have you ever seen a can of evaporated milk at the store and wondered what it can be used for? The answer: a lot. It is good for baking, cooking, and drink making.
Most importantly, evaporated milk can even be used as a substitute for milk or cream in your coffee. It may seem strange at first to use evaporated milk, but they’re more similar than you would think.
What Is Evaporated Milk?
Basically, evaporated milk is canned milk, making it shelf-stable. A well-known brand in the US is Carnation evaporated milk. It has an average year-long shelf life, making it a good option for camping or traveling, or even just as a good backup option if nothing else is available.
After opening, it needs to be refrigerated and lasts there for about 3-5 days. The reason it is called ‘evaporated’ milk is because it’s just milk that has had 60% of the water removed, or evaporated.
This makes it basically a thicker and creamier whole milk product; the texture resembles the texture of cream. Evaporated milk has about double the lactose content of regular whole milk.
It is usually sold with options of either whole, skim, or low-fat. During this evaporation process, the lactose in the milk caramelizes, causing evaporated milk to be darker.
It has the same nutritional value as of fresh milk but sometimes can have a slight canned taste. You can even complete this evaporation process at home, so do not think you have to go to the store for this.
Is Evaporated Milk the Same as Condensed Milk?
You might wonder what the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk is. When in a store, they are usually near each other. The cans look similar, and, actually, so does the milk inside.
They are pretty similar; both are concentrated milk with 60% of the water removed. However, they have different tastes.
Sweetened Condensed Milk vs Evaporated Milk
The key difference between the two is that evaporated milk has no added sugar, while sweetened condensed milk is about 40-50% sugar. Condensed milk is full of added sugars, making it very sweet. This is added to inoculate the condensed milk so that it will last longer.
Therefore, evaporated milk is basically just sugar-free condensed milk. If you need your cup of coffee to be sweet, you should either go with condensed milk, or you can add flavors, syrups, and sweeteners to your coffee with evaporated milk just like you would normally.
In terms of texture, condensed milk is thicker and gooier, while evaporated milk, although also thick, is more fluid. If using condensed milk, make sure to only use a little at a time, since the sweetness may be too much and overpower the other flavors.
To simplify, evaporated milk is best used as a replacement for regular milk or cream, while condensed milk is probably better used as just an addition to your coffee to increase its sweetness.
How is Evaporated Milk Made?
As previously stated, it is basically made by evaporating 60% of the water out of it. But the detailed steps to this process are more complicated. As a first step, the regular milk is treated with heat to stabilize it and reduce the bacteria in it. This milk is then piped into an evaporator that concentrates it.
After it evaporates in this, it is homogenized, cooled, further stabilized by the addition of stabilization salts, and fortified with vitamin D from UV lights.
For the final step, it is piped into cans which are vacuum sealed. These cans themselves are then sterilized in an autoclave, being moved in a continuous motion while being heated. During this step, the cans experience temperatures of 110-120 degrees Celsius; this is the step that creates the light brown color and the slight caramel taste.
This sounds really complicated, but it is actually a little simpler if you are doing it at home. The extra steps in the above process are mainly added because the evaporated milk is being created as a product, but a lot of them aren’t necessary to make evaporated milk that will do the same job.
You should put a pot over medium-low heat, and then add any type of regular milk that you have available. Let it simmer for about 25 minutes; it needs time to evaporate the excess water. Make sure that the milk does not start to boil, though.
If you need evaporated milk and don’t have any or have no time to make it, there’s another option. You can combine 1/4 cup of cream with 3/4 cup of milk. It will not taste the same, but it will have a similar enough texture and richness to work as an alternative.
Using Evaporated Milk
When using it, you will probably have to use less evaporated milk than you would regular milk, since it is thicker. It is recommended to start with 3tbsp of evaporated milk per 240mL of coffee to start, then add more slowly until you reach the desired amount.
After that, you can add whatever sweeteners or flavorings that you want to. Although creamy, it is still a good option if you want frothed milk in your coffee. The fact that it is shelf-stable allows you to just put it warm in hot coffee, or keep it in the fridge and put it in your cold coffee.
It is a great option when you want to add a creamy texture without adding any unnecessary sugar or sweetness. It can also add a somewhat caramel taste, which can help to soften the bitterness of the coffee. Because of this, you might not need to add extra sugar if you only used a little in the first place.
If you are looking to turn evaporated milk into regular milk, just use 1/2 cup of evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup of water. Then just use however much milk from this cup that you want in your coffee.
Or, you can use the same amount of evaporated milk as you would regular milk for a very creamy and rich cup.
Evaporated Milk versus Other Milk
One addition to your coffee you might be thinking about is cream. Evaporated milk and cream have a similar texture and creaminess.
As for nutrition, evaporated milk seems to be the better option. The fat content of cream is much higher than that of evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is also better if you’re watching your calories.
Another popular option is coffee creamer. Compared to coffee creamer, evaporated milk is much thicker, so you will have to use less of it than you would coffee creamer.
A key difference that may be important to you is that coffee creamers are usually dairy-free, while evaporated milk is definitely not. There is also no sugar in evaporated milk. Coffee creamers, on the other hand, generally have high sugar content.
Evaporated Milk vs Heavy Cream
Evaporated milk also proves to be better in some parts than heavy cream. Evaporated milk mixes better with coffee than heavy cream does since heavy cream is thicker than evaporated milk.
Heavy cream has a fat content of about 36%, while evaporated milk’s fat content is about 12%. In 100mL, heavy cream usually has about 350 calories and evaporated milk usually has around 145.
Heavy cream, however, has no lactose, while evaporated milk obviously has a lot. Evaporated milk can whip, but it takes some time, while heavy cream whips easily.
Evaporated Milk vs Half-and-Half
Evaporated milk and half-and-half are similar, but evaporated milk has the advantage of longer shelf life. Evaporated milk also has more lactose and usually more vitamin D. Other than that, they have a very similar consistency and texture. They also have similar fat content, and both whip/froth the same way.
Compared to regular milk, evaporated milk is basically the same if you add the same amount of water as evaporated milk. Overall, evaporated milk usually has fewer ingredients, preservatives, emulsifiers, and simple refined sugars than other coffee additives. It is a good option if you want to cut out or lessen calories or sugar in your coffee.
Frothing Evaporated Milk for Cappuccino and Latte
If you want to froth the evaporated milk, it is pretty easy. For the smoothest product, you can use both a frothing machine and a mixer, but using just one will still be successful.
In a frothing machine, it will be pretty easy to use the evaporated milk. You just need to follow the instructions for the machine as you normally would.
If using a mixer, the process is still easy but has a few more steps. First, you should pour the evaporated milk into a small mixing bowl. Next, freeze this bowl with the evaporated milk in it for about 30 minutes, or until small ice crystals start to form around the edge.
Once this happens, take the bowl out and start to beat the evaporated milk on high speed for about one minute, or until it becomes frothy. Slowly start to add sugar and beat the milk again for 2 minutes, or until it becomes stiff. Now it is ready for you to enjoy over your coffee.
Is Evaporated Milk good for Iced Coffee?
You certainly can make iced coffee and mix it with evaporated milk. You simply brew coffee extra strong the way you always do for iced coffee.
Once your coffee has cooled and is ready to serve you add the evaporated milk as you would add creamer otherwise. You can certainly also brew espresso and use that as your iced coffee base.
A tip though – use condensed milk instead of evaporated one. It’s sweeter and makes the iced coffee delicious. It’s the perfect combination for a delicious iced coffee drink that you most likely will absolutely love!
You certainly can replace the iced coffee that you brew hot with a drip coffee maker or a french press and use cold brew instead. Add condensed milk to make your sweet tooth happy and enjoy! It might end up being your favorite coffee beverage!