Coconut lovers rejoice! The native plant to University of Miami’s campus, the illusory coconut, is now available in milk form to mix with your daily espresso fix at Starbucks.
Rumor has it that if you get hit by a coconut on campus, you get free tuition. Luckily, the coconuts here are pretty stable, so the best chance of having a coconut hit you in the face would be in a burst of flavor at Starbucks.
Since Feb. 17, Starbucks now offers coconut milk as a dairy alternative for its vegan, nut-free, and dairy-free coffee aficionados. For an additional 60 cents, coconut milk can be added to any beverage, a similar price point to substituting soymilk. The vegan and dairy-free should get excited about coconut milk being offered, since even soymilk is not always digestible by those who are dairy-free, making coconut milk a fantastic option.
According to a press release posted on Starbucks’ website, “Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, generating more than 84,000 votes.” With this additional customization, Starbucks gives you not just any coconut milk, but it is Starbucks Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk. The coconut milk you’ll be drinking is exclusive to Starbucks and is made with coconuts from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Better than almond milk, coconut milk destroys the barrier of allergies since it is vegan, nut-free and dairy-free. But even those without allergies can enjoy the creaminess of coconut milk. “I’m a huge fan of coconut,” said freshman, Hannah Long. “I’m not vegan, nut-free, or dairy-free but it sounds amazing and I’m super excited to try coconut milk with my usual vanilla iced coffee at Starbucks, especially since coconut milk tastes so much better than coconut water.”
Speaking of coconut water, what is the difference between coconut water and milk? Coconut water is stemmed from the liquid in fresh coconuts when they are cracked open; coconut milk is made by soaking the meat of the coconut in water and then squeezing that mixture out with cheesecloth. The result is a much creamier consistency in coconut milk compared to coconut water.
Coconut milk is not only delicious but has many health benefits. In Sanskrit, the coconut is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning tree that gives all that is necessary for living. Coconut oil is known to be a favored product for healthy skin and hair. Therefore, drinking coconut milk has a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for hair and skin such as naturally antiseptic fatty acids. The fatty acids in coconut milk become a natural skin moisturizer and can repair wrinkles and sagging. These fatty acids can also improve heart health. A study in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that Filipino women who consumed more coconut products, including milk, had healthier blood lipid profiles. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut milk can also naturally stimulate metabolism, decrease appetite, and improve weight loss.
University of Miami freshman Laura Thornton is also excited to try the new coconut milk at Starbucks. Although she typically drinks almond milk, she said, “I’m in love with the coco.”
Coconut flavor typically goes well with vanilla and caramel syrups if you’re trying to figure out how to best incorporate it into your new Starbucks order. Starbucks vice president of brewed espresso said, “”Delivering the options our customers want is always the highlight of my day. We have a high bar for anything we pair with our high quality espresso and this coconut milk is smooth and perfectly complements the coffee. I personally love it in an iced vanilla latte. We are excited to hear back what further customer and partner customization coconut milk inspires.” Another delicious option that you can incorporate coconut milk too would be a hot or iced chai tea latte. The creaminess of the coconut milk with the chai spices would go hand-in-hand for a delectable drink.
Try coconut milk in your next latte or iced coffee for a tropical and creamy escape from studying next time you go to Starbucks. Whether Starbucks will keep coconut milk on the menu permanently is unknown, so enjoy the delicious new add-on while you can.
words and photo_ yili wu.