Koko Dairy Free Milk (from coconuts)

by Aly Hazlewood on February 17, 2013

Every so often I write about something that interests me from a health perspective, and my new discovery is Koko Dairy Free Milk, which is made not from soya, or almonds, but from delicious coconuts.

This has made a very big difference to my life. I don’t get on well with cow’s milk for several reasons; it gives me a tummy ache, encourages mucus production, contains 400 million pus cells per litre (which grosses me out beyond measure) and hormones that are meant for a baby cow’s growth. The PETA website has a lot of information about the terrible conditions that dairy cows have to produce under, and that’s enough to put anyone off.

Poor little cows :(

A recent Huffington Post article wrote “Although its effects are probably still pretty small, according to Buka, some dairy products may contribute to skin problems. In some people with rosacea, dairy products can trigger the condition’s tell-tale redness, Schultz says.

A 2005 study linked higher milk consumption to presence of acne. While the study had certain flaws, including the fact that participants were asked simply to recall how much milk they drank rather than record it in real time, more recent research, including a 2012 study in Italy, found a connection specifically between skim milk and acne. This is likely because of “a higher amount of bioavailable hormones in skim milk, since they cannot be absorbed in surrounding fat,” explains Buka, which can then overstimulate the group of glands that produce our skin’s natural oily secretions, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.”

Other non-dairy alternatives also leave me cold. I find goat’s milk a bit too, well, goaty, I’m allergic to almonds and I can’t bear the taste of rice or soya milk. Additionally, I’m slightly concerned about the various health concerns surrounding too much soya in one’s diet.

This makes breakfast a difficult proposition, especially as I try to limit my bread intake. Cereal or porridge made with water is frankly gross. The many upsides of Koko Coconut Milk are as follows:

  • I LOVE the taste of it, it’s really subtle and fresh tasting (and not at all like Vita Coco if that’s what you might be imagining, it’s much more like normal milk, with a coconut twist)
  • It contains the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk, a big bonus for someone like me who constantly forgets to take their supplements
  • It’s low fat, around the same percentage as in skimmed cow’s milk

And according to the website, “The fat in Koko Dairy Free is 60% Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCT fat. Breast milk contains some MCT fat, but coconut is one of the very few natural sources of MCT fat in our diets. MCT fats are used in a different way in the body compared to long chain triglycerides (LCTs) and to other saturated fats. They are very efficiently converted into fuel by the body. They do not require bile salts for absorption and may be useful in people with malabsorptive conditions. The MCT fats in Koko Dairy Free (Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid) are also thought to have antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties and naturally occur in human breast milk. Koko Dairy Free is lower in energy or kilo calories than skimmed and semi-skimmed milk, so is a useful alternative milk for those watching their weight.”

I also really love it in smoothies, custard, and milkshakes. The only thing I haven’t used it in is baking, and that’s because I’m absolutely rubbish at it, I’ve never yet turned out an edible cake. Oh, and tea, because I don’t drink it. But I’d love to hear from anyone who has used it in place of cow’s milk in baking and their morning cuppa.

What’s more, they’re stocked in Tesco (and Waitrose I recently discovered), and whilst I’m NEVER one to extoll the virtues of a company like Tesco, I have to admit that this is extremely convenient for me. Give it a try if you’re looking for an alternative to cow’s milk.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimann February 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I haven’t drunk cow’s milk in years and recently discovered this milk too, it’s lovely.

I can’t get over the pus cells in cow’s milk though – SO GROSS!!!!!!

Aly Hazlewood February 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

I know, it’s a pretty horrible thought.

Do you make tea with the Koko milk? If so, is it good?

Janet February 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

I tried this milk recently too and it’s delicious. I was worried it might be like Vita Coco because I find that a bit sour tasting, but it’s not at all. Like you said it’s sort of fresh, clean tasting. Yum.

sp February 26, 2013 at 7:57 am

Thanks for this article! I have used it in place of cow’s milk in baking. It has different taste but I like the taste of coconut milk.

Gracie March 2, 2013 at 1:55 am

Thank you for this article! For some reason I have never given coconut milk a thought, but when you mentioned the tummy ache after drinking cow juice reminded me that that is exactly what happens to me. I am going to give this a try.

John O'Sullivan March 2, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Trying it right now! I too spotted it in Tesco, on offer. Agree with your views on other alternatives. Works great with cereal, tea and coffee!

Pampered Prince March 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

I suspected milk was the biggest contributor to my acne after doing some research. I cut it out completely and my skin has never been better. I actually prefer the taste of almond milk & hazelnut milk to cows milk anyway. I will try the coconut milk too.
If you think about it though, it’s a bit weird humans drinking cows milk anyway. We’re the only mammals to continue to drink milk past infancy plus we drink it from another species!! Not that I would want to drink breast milk of course, I’m quite happy with my almond milk LOL

Alex Buxton March 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I read that milk and dairy products can cause acne and redness due to the body being unable to cope with lactose, so I tried lactose free milk and this made absolutely no difference. I still came out with red skin and rosacea. I am almost certain it is to do with hormone content in cows dairy products. I seem to be all right with ews cheese. I have found that a combination of controlling what I eat, good skin products and also laser treatment from a place called My Body Essentials has vastly improved my complexion.

tintin March 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm

yep it tastes delicious with tea!

Aly Hazlewood March 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I ran out this morning and had cow’s milk for breakfast instead. Big mistake. I had a stomach ache within 20 minutes and bloating for the rest of the day.

kirst April 24, 2013 at 8:57 am

Be careful as you have miscalculated the fat. In 100ml there are 20g of fat. This equates to 180kcals out of the 270kcals found in that amount of milk. As a percentage this is 67% fat, not the 2.4% you find in skimmed cows milk, and not therefore good if you are watching your weight…..dont believe everything on the manufacturers website!

Svava June 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Thank you Kirst! :) I actually need more fat in my diet since I can’t eat much butter or cream due to lactose intolerance. I got a bit sad at first when I thought it was not fatty enough. I so wanna try this milk. Hope it’s not too expensive in Iceland.

Rachael July 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I would just like to add a correction to above post. Koko is 2.0g of fat and 27kcal per 100ml as per the carton. This was also published in a recent magazine for its health and low fat, best for diets. This is how I found Koko. I had concerns over how much soya my toddler needs to drink etc. My son was on Alpro 1 plus, he drinks 600ml per day, Alpro calculated to be 372 kcal per day, by swapping to Koko, his intake is now 210 kcal less per day! He was born with Congenital Lactaze difficiency, so will never be able to have lactose or dairy protein at the moment. My son loves Koko and now I am drinking it. It is so lovely and fresh and I don’t have to worry about the concerns of too much soya.

Aly Hazlewood July 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Thank you Rachael that’s really useful info.

Donna August 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm

I have to say I think its a great alternative to cows milk, but its only about 6% actual coconut milk. It’s mostly water and grape juice according to the carton and for some reason I felt a little disappointed at discovering that…

Casper August 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

I agree this is one of the closest alternatives to cow’s milk. Taste, colour and consistence is similar to fresh semi-skimmed cow’s milk, although with a slight coconut taste (I guess most people will like this). The colour is more white than soy or rice milk.

There is a little disadvantage, coconut has little protein so there is only 0,2 % protein in Koko (against 3,5 % in cow’s milk).

Due to the low protein content, I am not sure there is a point in using it in baking. Adding coconut oil + water to the dough should give the same result. Extra protein could be added with an egg, or some rice/pea protein powder, or chickpea (gram) flour.

I don’t know how much the added grape juice influences the taste. Maybe it’s mostly a sweetener. (Actually cow’s milk is very sweet with 3.5 % sugar).

It should be possible to make this yourself by diluting canned coconut milk with spring water and a pinch of salt, or grinding fresh coconut in a high-grade blender.

Koko has an emulsifier, but the homemade stuff would be likely to separate, like unhomogenised cow’s milk.

I haven’t tried Koko in coffee or tea yet, but am about to do it in a moment. I expect it will be more stable than soy milk. Soy easily separates/curdles. I often use canned coconut milk in tea, though — it’s good for chai and strong black tea, and makes it stomach-friendlier.

Donna: Yes, it’s mostly water, but so many goods are. The emulsifier does the trick, and maybe the perfect mixing ratio of coconut, water, salt and grapejuice extract.

Kirst: you are wrong. In 1000 ml there is 20 g of fat. In 100 ml there is 2 g of fat.

Coconut fat is very healthy – it’s a special sort of fat called medium-long triglycerides, and much research has shown beneficial effects.

Lynne October 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

I was on a cruise around the Med. recently and enjoyed a cheese board and a coffee with fresh cream every evening after dinner, this was a treat as I don’t allow myself such a luxuries on a daily basis in my everyday life. I have also suffered from acid reflux for quite a while and decided to cut down on wheat products a while ago.as I didn’t want to continue taking prescribed medication continuously – this didn’t appear to be the problem, but I still continue to cut down on the amount of wheat products in my diet. While on the cruise my husband and I went to the island of Santorini. We went up to the top of the island by cable car and walked down the 598 steps by foot!!! As I suffer from arthritis the swelling around my right knee joint was painful and stiff, more than usual. I have an allergy to anti inflammatory drugs, therfore I just have to put up with the pain. For the rest of our cruise I put the continuous pain and swelling around my right knee and toe joints down to the descent by foot on Santorini island and continued to have fresh cream in coffee and cheeseboards after dinner. On our return home my acid reflux was also no better and I took the drastic measure to cut out dairy for a while and tried KoKo milk instead of cows milk. This has been the best thing I have ever done as it has not only improved my digestive problem but I am absolutely pain free with my arthritis. This was trial in error and I have since discovered that cows milk may be a contributary factor where arthritis is concerned. I would never tell anybody that they should substitute dairy for non dairy products if they suffer from arthritis as I do but for me it works and I will try to avoid dairy in the future at all costs as I feel it has improved my quality of life and all that in 4 weeks.

Jen December 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Absolutely brilliant! This alternative to milk is what I have been waiting years for. Skimmed milk is like water, and so are rice and almond milks. Goat’s milk and soya not pleasant at all, but this is really good! Excellent in baking and good in your favourite cuppa.

dhillon February 27, 2014 at 12:25 am

Well I ‘ve recently been told that I have an intolerance to yeast, wheat., eggs and cows milk. I really enjoy eating porridge and drinking a coffee for breakfast. I struggled with dairy free milks as rice, oat and soya milks are vile in tea and coffee. So tried koko milk in desperation as I love my porridge. Koko milk really is very nice in tea, coffee and porridge. It is also healthier than cows milk. Spots and rash have disappeared and I now have a really good completion. I would really recommend it if, like me you have problems with cows milk.

Elaine Hudson April 4, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I love koko milk , great alternative to cows milk ! I love it in tea and coffee , and have used it in cooking too ! I changed from cows milk to koko when i read certain items on cows milk , and what they add to it , but my main reason for not drinking cows milk was the cruelty in the dairy industry ! Much happier now that i’m no part of that !

Kayleigh April 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

I LOVE KOKO COCONUT MILK!

Kayleigh April 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

I dont know where the rest of my comment went so ill wrote it again. I stopped having cows milk two years ago (ten years of acne and redness) I first tried almond milk which i thought was pleasant enough. Then i discovered koko coconut milk and being coconurts! See what i did there, im here to say im addicted! Its so delicious i have it in my coffee (wow seriously try it) on my cereal, in smoothies, i add it to my homemade soup right before blending to give it a creamy taste and even as a refreshing drink over ice i adore it. Still i allow myself butter & pizza but just a little, i can honestly say my skin has been better since cutting out cows milk. Defo woth a shot if you suffer with skin conditions. What i also love about koko is the fact its long life i can stiock up so never gave to run out (belive me its not good when i do!) I also love cocofina coconut water much nicer than vita coco. I use lucy bee coconut oil for all my cooking, im clearly coconuts but i love it! X

Alison May 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hi there I’ve been using koko milk for a couple of years my ibs has improved massively,the downside is I’ve been struggling to loose weight and my instinct is telling me it’s the koko milk,wondering if there’s something in there that’s causing me to retain fat. I don’t want to go back to cows milk though,I love my koko milk!!

Richard Early July 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I have been buying Koko from Morrisons. This week they are out of it – hence my looking it up online!

Good to know that Tesco stock it.

Jilly August 8, 2014 at 10:48 am

Have just discovered Koko. I have always loved cows milk but since I went into my sixties my joints have become more stiff and sometimes painful. There are articles that suggest cows milk may aggravate and cause more inflammation in arthritic joints so I have decided to try Koko for the time being. Have read Lynne’s comments which were quite interesting. Love the taste of Koko in tea and coffee, gives it a creamy taste. My friend said she made rice pudding with it and her husband, who is a chef, was surprised at the taste. As I am also on a food plan with a national slimming group I am allowed to consume 425ml per day as opposed to 250ml of cows milk. I also take cod liver oil capsules.

Jilly August 8, 2014 at 10:50 am

P.s. Bought mine from the Co-op.

Jilly August 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

P.p.s. Do they do yogurts.

Tatiana August 21, 2014 at 3:05 am

I just want to add that I’ve done additional research on Vitamin D2 toxicity, and it seems that you need to consume quite a lot in a longer period of time.
Like with everything else I guess. So reading more about it, now I am not so worried about Vitamin D2.

Tatiana August 21, 2014 at 3:09 am

Whoops, my previous comment is missing. Probably because I added a website.
Just wrote that I am avoiding diary due to many of the reasons mentioned in the article. I love Koko on my cereal and in my iced coffee.
Being a latte addict, this is the perfect substitute for me.
Another article writes bad things about Vitamin D2 that is added to Koko, but it seems like the claims are exaggerated.
Will try to make my own coconut milk drink. Thanks for inspiration.

Carly September 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Koko is the best. I will never go back to regular cow milk especially after just learning about the puss cells. Yuck, gross! I have used Koko in my cup of tea and it really is nice. It gives a nice creamy flavour and I love it.

Susi Cave October 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Oh yum! Just tried this on my nutty granola – so yummy! No claggy aftertaste as with cows milk. Now having a cuppa with it instead of cows milk and guess what – I don’t need any sweetener or sugar in my tea now as the Koko milk makes it sweet enough! Where can I get Koko butter?

Vince October 4, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I’m on the FODMAP diet due to IBS, and have just tried this for the first time as even lactose free milk makes me sick. As a previous long time organic cows milk drinker I was so reluctant to try soya milk, and almond milk isn’t recommended on the diet.
What a discovery! Got mine from Adsa, as they’d sold out of coconut dream (which I’ll also try). Nice to drink, and will work perfectly in custard and porridge to name two.
Would also like to know if they do a yogurt?

Aly Hazlewood October 5, 2014 at 8:25 am

I haven’t seen Koko yoghurt a yet but hopefully they’ll make some soon.

Tee October 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I was advised to go dairy free as my baby appears to have an intolerance which caused reflux at a very young age and I breastfeed. I love koko. I have it in milkshakes and tea, with porridge and now bake & cook with it as baby is weaning, I make pancakes for her breakfast and use it for sauces and custards which she loves. I suffer with asthma and hay fever and so far this year, I’ve had no problems. Who knows if it’s coincidence but I feel great!

Janice October 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I’ve been having the similar issues as you with soya, almond, rice milk etc. I’ve been drinking oat milk for a while but it doesn’t complement everything…i.e. my smoothies taste like cardboard and are gloopy. But after discovering this today I think I will be done with oat milk! Unlike most other milk alternatives, there is no need to acquire the taste either. It tastes good!!

Michaela October 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I discovered this milk a while ago. Thank goodness I did!! as my porridge with water was getting very bland. I can’t drink cows milk for intolerance reasons. Tried Oat Milk that was ok. Hemp Seed was too creamy. I don’t like this milk in tea so I know drink it black, but do use it in my cooking and its no problem at all. They sell it in Tesco and it is surprisingly cheaper than Sainsbury’s.
Its a shame they don’t make any other products like cheese or yoghurts.

Adrienne December 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

After years of being Veggie, I am finally going vegan gradually finding things I can live with and things i can’t. This i can live with, it tastes great, its tastes excellent compared to almond milk and soya in tea and coffee and I had it in my porridge earlier and that was nice too :)

cassandra July 4, 2015 at 9:14 am

Thank you for this info, I am delighted to have found Koko. It really is very yummy.. & healthy :) I have been using soya for years as dairy doesn’t agree with me but almond & hazelnut milk are too watery. I heard that too much soya is not good for you but when I looked into it I discovered this article, I was shocked to hear just how bad it is…

Koko all the way! :)

mark July 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Finally, a real healthy alternative to milk and from everything I have researched these last few weeks, KoKo IS the way forward as a milk replacement.
Thanks Aly for the confirmation:)

Nikki September 25, 2015 at 12:32 am

I think it tastes great too but I’m concerned there’s a bit of sly advertising there as 1stly the picture on the package is of a coconut with milk pouring out of it (milk does not come out of coconuts, you get water) and secondly it keeps boldly highlighting how healthy much healthy acids there are in coconuts but there’s only 8% of coconut milk actually in the box..

Paddy O'Reilly January 1, 2016 at 11:30 am

I’ve been using Koko milk for years and am enjoying better health. Recently, however, I notice a residue in the bottom of my teacup. I continue to shake the
container as usual. Anybody else noticed this?

Anne April 17, 2016 at 7:39 am

I’ve just discovered this milk since becoming vegan. It’s truly delicious.

Shelley August 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

I’ve recently discovered coconut oil/milk. Have had eczema my whole life and someone suggested coconut oil so gave it a go and am amazed with the results. So have been looking into other coconut products and discovered Koko milk. Don’t really have a lot of milk in my diet but found this lovely and really doesn’t taste much different on my cereal or in my coffee. Have yet to try it in cooking but will give it a go. I do have chocolate and the occasion dessert with cream but I don’t think I could give these up!! but its not an everyday occurrence, but if this is one small thing I can change to be a bit healthier then I’m all for it.

jean morrice February 23, 2017 at 11:27 pm

is it benafical useing it in slimfast

Jacy May 2, 2017 at 7:51 am

Hi.I have been drinking this for 2 or more years now.I always suffered chest infections due to cows milk allergy.I like koko coconut milk but recently getting chesty again wondering whats really in this milk?

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