Starbucks to offer Coconut Milk for Coffee Beverages

Starting February 17, Starbucks will offer certified vegan coconut milk as an alternative to dairy or soy to add to their beverages. This single-origin coconut milk is exclusive to Starbucks, made with coconuts from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

With this new initiative, what are some of the benefits of coconut milk?

Vegan, nut-free and dairy-free, it poses far fewer allergen challenges. While the coconut looks like a nut, and actually has “nut” in its name, it is actually a drupe. Which is any fruit that consists of an outer skin, fleshy middle layer and hard inner woody shell (such as peaches or cherries).

Coconut milk and coconut water are different. When you crack open a coconut, that clear liquid is the water. Milk is made by soaking the white coconut flesh in water and squeezing the mix through a cheesecloth. Coconut milk tastes much creamier than its viscous, almost sour counterpart.

What about those fats?

Yes, coconut milk has a large amount of saturated fat, but these are from a medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid. Unlike other saturated fats, like say potato chips, medium chain fatty acids absorb quicker in the body, so fat is less likely to be stored in the body. This acid becomes beneficial when it converts to monolaurin, which is known as an antiviral and anti-disease compound.

As for the alphabet of vitamins and minerals, coconuts are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, several B vitamins, iron, selenium and calcium.

So next time you order your Starbucks hot or iced frappe, opt for the coconut milk, which lends itself to creamy consistency and nutty flavor without the fat.

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Credit: Alexa Lampasona