If you avoid dairy due to allergies or lifestyle choices, you might think that a rural place like Lewis County would not be a great place to get a latte made from milk alternatives. But while there are plenty of cows to be seen, including a giant diary off of Highway 12, you will also have no trouble finding dairy-free choices at coffee shops.

A Bit about Milk Options

Many coffee shops offer a few options for milk alternatives. While soy, coconut and almond milk are the most common, some offer hemp as well. Not sure which to choose? Soy and almond milk are pretty subtle and do not change the flavor of the coffee too much compared to cow milk. Although not technically a nut, most people allergic to nuts avoid almond as a safety precaution. Some can drink it just fine. If you are not sure, don’t risk it and ask your doctor at your next visit. No point in going into anaphylactic shock for a cup of coffee.

Coconut milk definitely adds a coconut flavor, so if you don’t like that taste you may want to skip this choice. It also may depend on the type of coffee drink you are getting. For example an Almond Joy mocha would be very tasty with added coconut, but you may not feel the same about a peppermint latte.

Santa Lucia Coffee Co.
Santa Lucia Coffee Co. is a unique coffee shop worth a visit because you can watch them roast the beans right there in the café! It gives the whole place a wonderful aroma and cozy atmosphere. Photo courtesy: Santa Lucia Coffee Co.

Hemp milk is very sweet naturally, so if you like sweet drinks, it’s a great way to add a sweet boost to any drink.

Don’t Forget to Check the Additives

It’s easy to think, “I’m drinking soy milk in my toffee nut latte, I should be safe.” And then later you are left wondering why you are not feeling well – did the barista mess up and use regular milk? Chances are, it’s because the syrup had dairy in it. And while some people may be able to handle a small amount of dairy, those with extreme allergies or sensitives should pay very close attention to every ingredient that goes into their coffee.

This means watching the ingredients of the flavor additives. Some places offer mochas made with dairy-free chocolate, others do not.

Another thing to watch is the syrup flavors. If the shop uses Torani syrups, some of their flavors have dairy. These include, in both regular and sugar free: Almond Roca, Amaretto, Brown Sugar, English Toffee, Hazelnut Signature, Hazelnut, Macadamia Nut, Pumpkin Pie (Sauce and Syrup), Salted Chocolate Caramel, Sauce, Shortbread and Caramel Sauce.

Another really popular brand is Monin. None of their syrups contain dairy and neither does their dark chocolate sauce. However their gourmet sauces do, so stay away from those.

Pony Expresso
Pony Expresso is conveniently located right of exit 68. Perfect if you are headed south or east out of town. Photo credit: Brent Lotz

Finally, there is DaVinci. They do not offer a complete list of which of their syrups contain dairy, but they do have several popular ones to stay away from including Irish cream and English toffee, which most likely contain dairy. They are not very forthcoming about this so it’s probably best to be careful with any flavor that “sounds” like it should have dairy in it. For example, the ingredient label for their English toffee does not mention dairy, but on their site they say the flavor is “kosher-dairy certified,” which implies it does contain dairy. When in doubt, it’s better to ask the barista if you can check the ingredients or stay with non-flavored coffees.

Ready for that latte? Here is a list of Lewis County coffee shops along with the milk alternatives they currently offer. Remember, it never hurts to ask if you are unsure about whether something is dairy free.

Coffee Shops with Dairy-Free Options in Lewis County

Pony Expresso: They offer almond and soy milk. They can make dairy free mochas as well. Location: 116 Hwy 12, Chehalis.

Santa Lucia Cafe: Santa Lucia’s has the most choices when it comes to milk: hemp, almond, coconut, soy, additive-free hemp, paleo complement coconut and more they say. They can make dairy-free mochas as well. Location: 202 S Tower Ave, Centralia.

Rivers Coffeehouse & Bistro: This restaurant and coffee shop offers hemp and almond milk. Location: 212 Main Avenue W, Morton.

Fiddler's Coffee
If you want to sit and enjoy your Fiddler’s Coffee, be sure to check out their Centralia location, which feels like a cozy mountain cabin, complete with beautiful woodwork and a fireplace. Photo courtesy: Fiddler’s Coffee

Sweet Chehalis: They offer soy, coconut and almond milk. They also can make dairy free mochas. Location: 1133 State Route 6, Chehalis.

Avenue Espresso: They offer almond, coconut, and soy milk. If you are headed north, they also have locations in Rochester, Tumwater, and Olympia. Locations: 1757 N National Ave, Chehalis; 125 Kirkland Rd, Chehalis; 921 West Main Street, Centralia.

Coffee Outfitters: They carry soy, almond and coconut milk. They use Hershey’s chocolate syrup for their mochas, which does not contain dairy. Location: 108 Bunker Creek Rd, Chehalis.

Kettle Creek Coffee & Candle Co: They offer soy, coconut and almond milk. Their mochas can be made dairy free. Location: 217 N Main St, Pe Ell.

Fiddler’s Coffee: They offer hemp, soy and coconut milk and can make mochas dairy free. Their Centralia location has a sit-in restaurant. Chehalis is drive-thru only. Locations: 1220 Mellen St, Centralia and 101 SW Interstate Ave, Chehalis.

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