Checkout | 15. Apr 2021

No Milk Today

There was a time when you ordered a cappuccino in a café and there was just the question of if and if so how much cocoa powder you want on top of it. In nowadays so called coffee shops you choose out of all sorts of drinks thanks to the various milk substitutes: soy, almond and, most recently, oat milk are available. Cow's milk is offered "low fat"or "lactose free" - and if your coffee is neither vegan nor completely gutted, you will be regarded born so very yesterday. The "classic cappuccino", as Dr. Andreas Bernard from the University of Lucerne wrote in his article about new normatives, became the "old white man" among hot drinks.

According to my own experience this development began a good twenty years ago. When café-latte-drinking became an afternoon ritual, three or four of us were trudging to one of those coffee-to-go-chain branches, by then openinng at every other block within months. We dragged our choices back to the office and then around there for the rest of the day.

The entire act of consuming coffee was given a new meaning: Not pausing - but, on the contrary, not ever taking a break now shaped its image.

This openly displayed time management became popular all the more quickly, because the so called millennials in big cities now set the tone and shaped the streetscape.

Their longing for permanent self-optimization affected every form of efficiency. Thanks to their smartphones they worked almost around the clock while doing sports, shopping, commuting home or to the office, taking the dog for a walk at the same time. And in order to stay fit for this permanent multitasking, they always subordinated themselves to new health regimes: first the bastions of cigarettes and alcohol were dropped, followed quickly by sugar and wheat - and finally the good old cow's milk.

Meanwhile, a next generation has taken over. The self-confident teenagers of today are demonstrating for a reversal of environmental policy and are following a political-ideological diet: factory farming and soy monocultures belong on their index, like everything well-traveled or wrapped in plastic.

What remains is the oats. Local and uncomplicated to grow, but as nutritious as cow's milk: this drink has obviously nothing to blame it about.

You might even froth it up with a cappuccino, topped with a pinch of fair trade chocolate.

Go and read the German version of this column at or at Saturday´s print version of Blick.