It never occurred to me that when other kids across the country went to school and bought milk for lunch, they didn't have the choice between regular milk, chocolate milk, or coffee milk. It never occurred to me that people outside of Rhode Island didn't know what coffee milk. So, I set out to answer the ever important question, what is coffee milk?

What Is Coffee Milk?

While it's more milk than coffee, coffee milk is the official state drink of Rhode Island. Coffee milk is milk mixed with coffee syrup, just like chocolate milk. Served throughout New England and mainly in school cafeterias, coffee milk also has a special place with hot dogs. That's right, hot dogs.

Coffee milk is always served at the Rhode Island staple, the Olneyville New York System Restaurant. This is a different type of hot dog establishment where the main ingredient on top of the hot dogs is a unique meat sauce. Milk and hot dogs— interesting, right?

How did coffee syrup come about?

The true origin of coffee milk—like any great hero—is unknown. It's known that by the 1920s and 1930s the drink was already a New England diner staple. Today coffee syrup is sold by the bottle in grocery stores and markets. Even Trader Joe's is starting to release their own version. The most popular brands in New England are Autocrat and Dave's (thank you Dave's for everything you've ever done, your coffee milk lattes are life changing).

What Does Coffee Milk Taste Like?

To put it frankly, coffee milk tastes like melted coffee ice cream. The syrup is made with corn syrup, coffee extract, and other flavors, so it's no surprise that the two coffee products are similar in taste. 

Never again should you find yourself asking the question, "what is coffee milk?" When you're in those heated debates at work or school about the official state drink of the state of Rhode Island, never again will you forget that it is coffee milk.