Coffee milk

Last updated
Coffee Milk
TypeFlavored milk
Place of origin United States
Region or state New England
Associated national cuisine Rhode Island
Main ingredientsMilk, Coffee Syrup
Similar dishes Chocolate Milk
Prepared coffee milk in a supermarket dairy case Coffee milk in a supermarket dairy case.jpg
Prepared coffee milk in a supermarket dairy case

Coffee milk is a drink made by mixing coffee syrup or coffee extract and milk together in a manner similar to chocolate milk. [1] It is the official state drink in Rhode Island. [2]


Coffee syrup

Coffee syrup is a sweetened coffee concentrate and key ingredient in coffee milk. The syrup is prepared by straining water and sugar through coffee grounds.



While the precise origin of coffee milk is unclear, several sources trace it back to the 19th century Italian immigrant population in Providence, Rhode Island. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, approximately 55,000 Italian immigrants traveled to Providence. [3] The large influx of immigrants, of which Italians were the largest group, led to an introduction of their traditions and customs to Rhode Island. One of their culinary traditions was drinking sweetened coffee with milk. Eventually, it is believed that this led to the creation of coffee milk in these immigrant households. [4] The development of diners and soda fountains brought coffee milk to the greater public. The first coffee syrup is thought to have been produced by a soda fountain operator who sweetened leftover coffee grounds with milk and sugar. This syrup was mixed into glasses of milk to create coffee milk. [3] [5]

Manufacturing of coffee syrup

Coffee syrup is produced by straining hot water and sugar through coffee grounds, and is also prepared by preparing a large amount of hot coffee and then adding sugar to it afterward. A cold-process method for coffee syrup involves soaking pulverized coffee beans for some time and then adding sugar. It was originally produced in the 1930s in corner drug stores and was targeted towards children, while their parents drank hot coffee. [5]

Due to the popularity of the product, coffee syrup was eventually bottled and sold by merchants. The first mass-produced coffee syrup was introduced by the Silmo Packing Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1932. In 1938, Warwick, Rhode Island-based Eclipse Food Products began heavily promoting its own coffee syrup product, with Lincoln, Rhode Island's Autocrat Coffee coming to market in the 1940s. Autocrat purchased long-time competitor Eclipse in 1991 and today produces both brands of syrup. Autocrat is claimed to be the most popular brand of coffee syrup in Rhode Island. [6] More recently, brands such as Dave's Coffee and Morning Glory have begun to offer coffee syrups with desired customer qualities including no high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. Some people brew their own in a saucepan using coffee and sugar.

Rise in popularity

The public loved the idea of coffee milk and, especially due to the large population of Italian immigrants, the popularity of coffee milk began to rise over the course of the 20th century. In 1993, state politicians took notice. After having a competition between coffee milk and Del's Lemonade, the Rhode Island Legislature voted to change the state drink. On July 29, 1993, Rhode Island named coffee milk their official state drink. [5] As coffee milk took off in Rhode Island, neighboring states also took notice of it. Additionally, local businesses in Rhode Island took advantage of this growth of popularity. In December 2013, the Narragansett Brewing Company partnered with Autocrat Coffee to market a limited edition "coffee milk stout". [7] In the summer of 2015, Warwick Ice Cream worked with Autocrat to begin producing coffee milk ice cream. [8]

Use in other beverages

Coffee milk and coffee syrup have been used as ingredients in other beverages.

A coffee cabinet is an ice cream-based milkshake-style beverage found almost exclusively in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, consisting of coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, and milk. [9]

In December 2013, the Narragansett Brewing Company partnered with Autocrat Coffee to market a limited edition "coffee milk stout." [7] [10] [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cuisine of New England Overview of the cuisine of New England

New England cuisine is an American cuisine which originated in the New England region of the United States, and traces its roots to English cuisine. It is characterized by extensive use of seafood and dairy products, resulting from its historical reliance on its seaports and fishing industry, as well as extensive dairy farming in inland regions.

Soft drink Sweetened non-alcoholic drink, often carbonated

A soft drink is a drink that usually contains water, a sweetener, and a natural and/or artificial flavoring. The sweetener may be a sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, a sugar substitute, or some combination of these. Soft drinks may also contain caffeine, colorings, preservatives, and/or other ingredients.

Cappuccino Drink made with espresso coffee and steamed milk

A cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee drink that originated in Italy, and is traditionally prepared with steamed milk foam (microfoam).

Milkshake Cold dairy beverage

A milkshake is a sweet drink made by blending milk, ice cream, and flavorings or sweeteners such as butterscotch, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, fruit syrup, or whole fruit into a thick, sweet, cold mixture. It may also be made using other types of milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.

Frappuccino A Starbucks iced coffee drink

Frappuccino is a trademarked brand of the Starbucks Corporation for a line of highly-sweetened iced, blended coffee drinks. It consists of coffee or crème base, blended with ice and other various ingredients like flavored syrups, usually topped with whipped cream and or spices. Frappuccinos are also sold as bottled coffee beverages in grocery stores, convenience stores and from vending machines.

Autocrat, LLC

Autocrat, LLC is a coffee and tea extracts manufacturing company based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, United States. The company's coffee syrups are often used to make coffee milk, which was made the official state drink of Rhode Island in 1993. The company's name change occurred in 2015, and its retail products remain marketed under the Autocrat brand name.

A coffee cabinet is an ice cream-based milkshake found almost exclusively in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, consisting of coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, and milk. The ingredients are mixed in a drink blender or milkshake blender.


Del's is a brand of frozen lemonade typically found in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts during the summer months. Del's lemonade is available in 20 states. Frozen lemonade is a kind of slush. It is made from water, concentrate, and real lemons in an ice cream machine. In Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts "Del's" is synonymous with frozen lemonade.

Iced tea Form of cold tea

Iced tea is a form of cold tea. Though usually served in a glass with ice, it can refer to any tea that has been chilled or cooled. It may be sweetened with sugar, syrup and/or apple slices. Iced tea is also a popular packaged drink and can be mixed with flavored syrup, with multiple common flavors including lemon, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, peach, orange, strawberry, and cherry.

Ice cream float Beverage that consists of ice cream in a soft drink

An ice cream float or ice cream soda, or spider, is a chilled beverage that consists of ice cream in either a soft drink or a mixture of flavored syrup and carbonated water. When root beer and vanilla ice cream are used together to make the beverage, it is typically referred to as a root beer float.

Iced coffee Coffee served chilled

Iced coffee is a coffee beverage served cold. It may be prepared either by brewing coffee in the normal way and then serving it over ice or in cold milk, or by brewing the coffee cold. In hot brewing, sweeteners and flavoring may be added before cooling, as they dissolve faster. Iced coffee can also be sweetened with pre-dissolved sugar in water.

White coffee

White coffee can refer to any of a number of different kinds of coffees or coffee substitutes worldwide.

Cendol Asian iced sweet dessert

Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that contains droplets of green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. It is commonly found in Southeast Asia and is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Myanmar. Next to the green jelly, additional toppings might be added, including diced jackfruit, sweetened red azuki beans, or durian.

Coffee preparation Process of turning coffee beans into a beverage

Coffee preparation is the process of turning coffee beans into a beverage. While the particular steps vary with the type of coffee and with the raw materials, the process includes four basic steps: raw coffee beans must be roasted, the roasted coffee beans must then be ground, the ground coffee must then be mixed with hot water for a certain time (brewed), and finally the liquid coffee must be separated from the used grounds.

Drink mixers are the non-alcoholic ingredients in mixed drinks and cocktails. Mixers dilute the drink, lowering the alcohol by volume in the drink. They change, enhance, or add new flavors to a drink. They may make the drink sweeter, more sour, or more savory. Some mixers change the texture or consistency of the drink, making it thicker or more watery. Drink mixers may also be used strictly for decorative purposes by changing the color or appearance of the drink. They also simply increase the volume of a drink, to make it last longer.

Oliang Thai iced coffee drink

Oliang, commonly known as Thai iced coffee, is a popular Thai beverage. Oliang is prepared from a mixture of Robusta coffee grounds, brown sugar, and various grains and seeds like cardamom, corn, soybeans, rice, and sesame seeds. The drink is noted for its coffee aroma and smoky notes from high-roasted grains and seeds.

Mazagran (drink) Coffee drink made with rum

Mazagran is a cold, sweetened coffee drink that originated in Algeria. Portuguese versions may use espresso, lemon, mint and rum, and Austrian versions are served with an ice cube and include rum. Sometimes a fast version is achieved by pouring a previously sweetened espresso in a cup with ice cubes and a slice of lemon. Mazagran has been described as "the original iced coffee".

Masala chai Flavoured tea beverage made with aromatic spices and herbs

Masala chai is a tea beverage made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. Originating in India the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. Although traditionally prepared as a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves, retail versions include tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixtures, and concentrates.

Coffee sauce

Coffee sauce is a culinary sauce that includes coffee in its preparation. It is sometimes prepared using instant coffee. Coffee sauce has been used in American cuisine since at least 1904. Coffee sauce may be sweet or savory.


  1. Shahidi, F.; Spanier, A.M.; Ho, C.T.; Braggins, T. (2003). Quality of Fresh and Processed Foods. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Springer US. p. 207. ISBN   978-0-306-48071-3 . Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  2. "State of Rhode Island website "Facts and Figures"". Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  3. 1 2 "Autocrat - A Swallow Will Tell You | Rhode Tour". Rhode Tour. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  4. "What's In That Coffee Cabinet? A Delicious Taste Of Rhode Island History". Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  5. 1 2 3 Lukas, Paul (2002-11-13). "The Big Flavors Of Little Rhode Island". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  6. "RIGOV". Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  7. 1 2 Dzen, Gary (December 3, 2013). "Narragansett announces release of Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout". Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  8. Soens, Darren (2015-07-31). "RI companies introduce coffee milk ice cream". WPRI. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  9. Smith, Peter W. (2003). New England Country Store Cookbook. iUniverse. Retrieved 11 January 2014 from .[ self-published source ]
  10. Dietsch, Emily. (2013, December 16). Drunk on Gansett Coffee Milk Archived 2013-12-24 at the Wayback Machine . Providence Monthly . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  11. (2013, October 18). Narragansett Beer Co. Planning Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout. CBS Boston - Local. Retrieved 21 December 2013.

Further reading