Growing up, I noticed that my stomach started reacting to dairy in weird ways as I got older. At first I thought it was just in my head, but the more time that went by, the more dairy irritated me.

By my senior year of high school, it was official: I had grown into a lactose-intolerance.

It started with only milk in the tenth grade, so I switched to lactose-free milk. That was all I'd ever tried as a dairy-free option at Starbucks.

This past summer, I switched to soy milk. I didn't like the taste of lactose-free milk on its own, but I loved the taste of soy milk. Since then, I've religiously gotten soy milk in all of my Starbucks drinks.

beer, tea, soda, milk
Jamie Graham

Then the coconut milk craze struck, and now everyone is obsessed with coconuts: coconut water, coconut oil, coconut everything.

Since I'm obsessed with Starbucks, I decided to try every dairy-free option at Starbucks to see which was the best. For the sake of fairness, I tried them all in the same drink: a vanilla latte. Here's the unofficial ranking, from worst to best.

Lactose-Free Milk

milk, coffee, cappuccino, espresso, cream, chocolate
Jamie Graham

This one was definitely my least favourite. I don't have a great reason, other than the fact that it was boring.

Pros: You'll get a fair amount of calcium, and if you love the taste of regular milk, it's almost identical.

Cons: If you're going for flavour or nutrition, it doesn't score high. Starbucks doesn't use non-fat lactose-free milk, and it isn't plant-based. Also, since it's only lactose-free and not actually dairy-free, it isn't suitable for vegans or people with a dairy intolerance.

Almond Milk

milk, coffee, cappuccino, espresso, cream, chocolate
Jamie Graham

I really love the taste of almond milk on its own. It has nutty undertones, but it's still refreshing and incredibly healthy. However, the drink was really lacking the creaminess that a rich latte needs.

Pros: Almond milk is plant-based, so it's suitable for vegans and those with dairy sensitivities. It also tastes incredible, especially if you like a nutty undertone to your coffee.

Cons: It's much more watery than the other milks on this list, so I found my latte a little weaker then I would've liked. Additionally, the almond taste doesn't go well with some flavours.

Coconut Milk

coffee, milk, cappuccino, espresso, cream, yogurt, mocha
Jamie Graham

This was my first time trying coconut milk in a drink. I'd had ice cream made from coconut milk before and it was tasty, so I had high hopes.

Pros: It's creamier than almond milk. It also has a sweet undertone that I thought was quite unique. Coconut milk is known to be a good replacement in desserts (like ice cream: see above). Having this milk in a usually bitter latte added a nice hint of sweetness.

Cons: It doesn't go with everything. The sweetness can be overkill in some latte combinations. Despite it being creamier than almond milk, it still wasn't as creamy as I would've liked. It also isn't quite as nutritious as almond milk or soy milk.

Soy Milk

milk, coffee, tea
Jamie Graham

It's true that old habits die hard. Soy milk is still my favourite dairy-free option offered by Starbucks. It's adaptable and tastes great in every drink I've had it in. It's much creamier than both almond and coconut milk, delivering a rich latte every time.

Pros: My drinks are always creamy and smooth. Soy milk tastes good with any flavour, and it gets another A+ because it's nutritious.

Cons: Literally none.

juice, tea, sweet, coffee
Jamie Graham

Thankfully, all of these options tasted good in a regular latte, so I still thoroughly enjoyed all of my trips to Starbucks. I also racked up an impressive amount of stars in just four days.

If only Starbucks would stop charging me extra for being lactose-intolerant, the world would be in order.