Allow me to introduce you to Coffee Milk

Having gone to school in Rhode Island, I was exposed to the somewhat odd beverage of Coffee milk. Exactly as Wikipedia describes, it is a syrup-flavored milk similar in consistency to chocolate or strawberry milk. I knew it originated in Rhode Island and was common there, but didn’t realize it was so popular to be dubbed, “The official state drink of Rhode Island”.1

In my college cafeteria next to the regular, skim, and chocolate milk dispensers, they also had one for coffee milk. I tried drinking it for a while but it was too sickly sweet for my taste (which is funny, because that’s exactly how I like my coffee). I’ve asked many friends and coworkers from all different parts of the country if they’d ever heard of coffee milk and not a single one had.

It’s common to find highly regional foods and drinks all over the place, but coffee milk strikes me as particularly odd. Why did it never catch on like other flavored milk? It combines three things that almost everyone in this country loves: coffee + milk + sugar. I guess the closest we’ve gotten are the other coffee-syrup-based drinks you now find in Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, like the coolatta or frappuccino. I guess the rest of the country needs a fancily-marketed, masquerading-as-real-coffee beverage instead of a plain ‘ol ice cold coffee milk.

1I didn’t even realize that states had official drinks until now. Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have plain milk as their state drink. Here’s a list of all U.S. state beverages. The only alcoholic beverages represented are (not surprisingly): wine in California, beer in Wisconsin, and Conecuh Ridge Whiskey (moonshine) in Alabama. Though I would have expected bourbon out of Kentucky. Slackers.

2 thoughts on “Allow me to introduce you to Coffee Milk

  1. jed

    my dad grew up in rhode island, so as a kid we always had coffee milk syrup in the cabinet (which you just mix with milk to get coffee milk). weird thing is, i don’t think i’ve ever talked about it before, i just assumed people knew what it was. and then about a year ago a coworker mentioned it to me, and no one else (in the room at the time) knew what it was. i started asking around only to find out no one had heard of it.

    so, i guess coffee milk really is rare (which is odd for us connecticut folk, seeing as we’re right next door.)


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