Champions of third wave coffee get a bad rep for being binary in their approach to coffee. “If it’s ____, it’s bad. Period.” No middle ground, no flexibility, no gray area. But coffee is nothing but flexibility, and it can be coaxed and manipulated into revealing just about any flavor imaginable. We’re here to tackle the milk binarism: “If you have to put milk in it to drink it, it’s a bad coffee.”

This simply isn’t true. Milk can be a masking agent for poor quality coffee, or a legitimate, intentional component of a delicious drink. Yes, it’s a great idea to taste your coffee black to get a sense of the natural flavors before adding cream and sugar, but we all know that coffee loves milk. That’s why lattes exist.

As Todd puts it, some coffees simply BEG for milk. When developing the cornerstone roasts that La Colombe was built on, our founders Todd and JP created darker blends designed specifically to carry a bit of cream and sugar. These are our chocolatey coffees like Corsica, which Todd takes with milk in the mornings. “When you add milk to a chocolatey coffee, you get milk chocolate and who doesn’t love milk chocolate?”

Some coffees, however, do not lend themselves to milk. Lighter roasted single-origins, with tart, fruity notes and higher acidity tend not to carry milk well.

But if you like milk in your coffee, GO FOR IT. If you like a little sugar in your coffee, GO FOR IT. Don’t listen to your coffee snob friend, don’t listen to your favorite coffee company. Listen to your taste buds. Listen to Todd:

“Own your cup of coffee, it’s YOURS. Fix it the way you love it. And if you love it with milk, then it’s better.”

So there you have it. When it comes to coffee, DO YOU. Or rather, brew you.


  1. I don’t know why but I used to like milk in my coffee but ever since I switched to the chemex it’s not an option for me anymore. I love my coffee black. But I will take a latte’ I think milk works well with the espresso ?

  2. Honestly, I can’t drink straight coffee cause sometimes its too sweet sometimes its too bitter. However, cold brew is always good straight. Anyways, Milk is great!

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  4. British drinkers of tea almost always use milk and sugar. To do so other wise would be unsophisticated. Forty years ago in the US coffee to drink was always with milk and sugar. And even if single origin was available, milk and sugar would have been used. Now its a different story..

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