Coffee creamer is served as additive for coffee or tea and intended to substitute for cream and milk (evaporated or fresh) in food and beverages
The first kind of coffee creamer product has appeared in early 19th century in France in the form of condensed milk. By 1860 it was already a major product and was produced worldwide for civilian and military use; however coffee creamer in its present form was not invented before 1950s.
The first commercial powdered coffee creamer was “Pream,” which was marketed in 1952 and made from dehydrated cream and sugar.
Types of coffee creamers
Basically, all coffee creamers can be divided into two main types, those are dairy and non-dairy.
Dairy coffee creamer
The first dairy coffee creamer, which came in existence, contained milk, either in liquid or granular form, as well sugar and other supplements.
While coffee creamer’s content is generally regulated by food control industry, it may vary from country to country since food regulations are not the same everywhere.
One particular feature of dairy creamer is that it does not dissolve easily in hot or cold liquid because of milk proteins. This was on the main reasons dairy manufacturers have started to look for other ways to replace traditional dairy coffee creamer. The research for dairy creamer’s alternative was successful and resulted in appearance of the product under the Carnation label with the brand name “Coffee-Mate” in 1958.
The present day dairy coffee creamers are few, because of high production costs and existence of cheaper non-dairy alternatives.
Non-dairy coffee creamer
The most common type of today’s coffee creamer is called non-dairy creamer or coffee whitener i.e. the one which does not contain lactose.
Instead it’s packed with:
- Hydrogenated vegetable-based fats to replace the milk (mostly coconut or palm kernel oil) and to give it a creamy rich look
- Corn syrup, glucose or sugar are commonly used to replenish the taste lost because of absence of milk
- Various flavourings (vanilla, coconut and hazelnut are the most common ones)
- Sodium Caseinate – a Milk Protein, which does not contain lactose and gives a product milky flavour, opacity and heat stability
- Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Monoglycerides and Diglycerides that create oil-in-water emulsion. They are usually synthetically produced or derived from animal or vegetable sources. Lecithin is used in powdered versions of coffee creamer to promote solubility even in warm drinks or beverages.
Any common non-dairy coffee creamer is the mix of vegetable oil, sweeteners, casein and flavourings and can pack quite a caloric punch when added to coffee or tea. While plain coffee has almost zero calories, adding up liquid or powdered coffee creamer may quickly raise calories and therefore to negate any beneficial effect of tea or coffee.
The caloric value might be decreased by using low-fat or zero-calorie coffee creamers that have less fat, sugar and calories and therefore might be more beneficial for health.
Pros and cons of using coffee creamer
- usually comes in small handy packages that are neat and easy to use
- all of the ingredients of single dose of coffee creamer are well balanced and adjusted to taste
- can provide any food with full-bodied milk taste and long-lasting flavor
- there are many varieties and kinds of coffee creamer available, so even people with milk intolerance can enjoy certain kinds of coffee creamers without the risk of health damage
- long shelf-life and ease of storage
- lower production cost
- can contain Trans fats, which increase cholesterol levels and can have harmful effects
- not all the coffee creamers are security safe, meaning that certain powdered coffee creamers are flammable. Even though the risk of catching fire with coffee creamer is minimal, there is still a possibility for misfortune to occur.
- can add up to caloric daily input if their use is not properly monitored, however this may apply to any food
- not a part of healthy diet and therefore cannot be used extensively without making negative impact on health
- it should be noted that coffee creamer is mostly industrially produced product which contains little benefit for health and those main function is to whiten and/or sweeten warm and hot beverages.
Use of creamers
The main use of coffee creamer is to add to coffee or tea in order to make it less plain or to give it a better taste, however it does not stop there.
Non-dairy coffee creamers are used for many other purposes apart from whitening coffee or tea. For example coffee creamers used in ice cream production, in seasoning’s, in instant cereals and powder drinks, also soups, instant noodles and bakery products. The extensive use of coffee creamer in baking industry is stipulated by intense flavour and taste.
Apart from the culinary use, powder version of coffee creamer is potentially explosive when thickly dusted in the air, therefore it is often used in film making industry for explosion purpose. When on action film set, coffee creamer might provide film makers with cheap and reliable explosive agent.
Another use of coffee creamer might lie in its ability to whiten clothes, which is frequently used by mixing coffee creamer with water to make a soaking liquid.
Coffee creamer is also known to be used in extensively fishing industry, in de-foaming fish tanks in particular.=
Another interesting use of coffee creamer is making fake snow for televisions shows and movies.
Home made or industrial?
There have been so many debates about potentially harmful effects that may occur by continuous use of industrially fabricated coffee creamers that large number of people felt obliged to propose healthier and cheaper alternative to coffee creamer.
Many talented people were posting recipes of their own on the internet and those home-made coffee creamer recipes have gained enormous popularity on blogosphere and on specialized culinary web sites.
Nowadays, anyone internet user or a blog writer can post their coffee creamers’ recipes accompanied by photo and description by simply making use of existing web technology.