Coffee milk

Coffee milk
Prepared coffee milk in a supermarket dairy case
Coffee milk is prepared with coffee syrup and milk (pictured)

Coffee milk is a drink made by mixing coffee syrup and milk together in a manner similar to chocolate milk. It is the official state drink of Rhode Island in the United States of America.[1] 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.


Coffee milk

Rhode Island

While the precise origin of coffee milk is unclear, several sources trace it back to the 19th century of the Italian immigrant population in Providence, Rhode Island.[2][3][4] In southeastern parts of New England it can be found in store dairy cases by other flavored milks. It is also a common item on diner menus, university dining halls, and paired with hot wieners at New York System restaurants. The popularity and availability of coffee milk remains concentrated in Rhode Island.[3]

The State of Rhode Island named coffee milk its official state beverage in 1993, after a competition with Del's Lemonade, another Rhode Island institution.[5]

Coffee syrup

Coffee syrup was produced by straining hot water and sugar through coffee grounds, and was also prepared by preparing a large amount of hot coffee and then adding sugar to it afterward.[6] A cold-process method for coffee syrup involved soaking pulverized coffee beans for some time and then adding sugar.[6] It was originally produced in the 1930s in corner drug stores, and was targeted towards children, while their parents drank hot coffee. Due to the popularity of the product, coffee syrup was 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.[7][8]

Contemporary versions of coffee syrup may be prepared using brewed coffee and sugar that is cooked in a saucepan.[9]

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 beverage found almost exclusively in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, consisting of coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, and milk.[10]

In December 2013, the Narragansett Brewing Company partnered with Autocrat Coffee to market a limited edition "coffee milk stout."[11][12][13]

See also


  1. "State of Rhode Island website "Facts and Figures"". Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  2. Simonson, Robert. (2011). The Milky Way: Coffee syrup is the secret to Rhode Island’s favorite creamy confection. Imbibe. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  3. 1 2 Barr, Nancy Verde. (1996). We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking. New York, NY: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
  4. (2012, November 11). Coffee milk. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  5. "TITLE 42, State Affairs and Government, CHAPTER 42-4, State Emblems, SECTION 42-4-15". Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  6. 1 2 "The Soda Fountain". Volume 59. American Druggist. 1911. p. 327. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  7. Seavey, Aimee. Coffee Milk. Yankee Magazine. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  8. Orchant, Rebecca. (2013, February 22). Coffee Milk: The Rhode Island Specialty Fueled by Autocrat Syrup. Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  9. Arts, Leisure (2011). Celebrating Quick Breads and Pastries. Celebrating Cookbooks. Leisure Arts. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-60900-116-2. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  10. Smith, Peter W. (2003). New England Country Store Cookbook. iUniverse. Retrieved 11 January 2014 from .
  11. Dzen, Gary (December 3, 2013). "Narragansett announces release of Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout". Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  12. Dietsch, Emily. (2013, December 16). Drunk on Gansett Coffee Milk. Providence Monthly. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  13. (2013, October 18). Narragansett Beer Co. Planning Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout. CBS Boston - Local. Retrieved 21 December 2013.

Further reading

External links

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