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What is the real cream used in coffee?

A very long time ago, I remember people using "real cream" in their coffee. Several years ago after staying at a 5 star hotel, "real cream" was brought to the table for our coffee. It was unbelievably better than any kind of creamer, dry or liquid, that I had been using. When I returned home, I tried to find cream at our groceries. No one had it. There was half and half, but not any kind of cream. I have checked occasionally since then, with no luck. (I am trying to stop using powdered coffee creamer.)

BUT, today while in the store, I found these:
whipping cream
heavy cream
light cream
heavy whipping cream

Confused, I came home with only fat free half and half. :-(

I read the posts here regarding the difference between whipping, heavy, light, cream, and understand that.

My question is this: do any of you know which is the kind of cream that was used in coffee before all of the "fancy" liquid and powdered creamers came along?

Thanks a lot!!!

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  1. Any of those will work. I would use the pasturized cream in a small milk carton.

    What is with the fat free half and half? Is it really half and half without fat?

    If you want it to be even more luxurious add some vanilla to the cream.

    If you take sugar, you could even use those whipped cream spray cans. You know... the ones you used to hold up to your mouth and spray it in when your mother wasn't looking.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Unfortunately the spray-can whipped cream often has stabilizers and can sometimes separate when it melts, leaving a very unappetizing slick of -- well, butter, basically -- on top of the coffee. It's happened to me! ;)

      I agree, fat free "half and half" is completely horrifying, as are non-dairy and powdered creamers. Just read the ingredients -- they're about as closely related to real cream as a Twinkie is to my great-aunt's sponge cake.

      1. re: Hank Hanover

        respectfully disagree about the canned whip creams.
        a way to ruin a decent foodstuff, imho.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Canned whip creams are only good to use as toppings for specialty coffees such as iced coffees and such. It's not really meant to use as a creamer. I personally just used canned evaporated milk (not 2%, but the full fat one

      2. Fat free half and half is full of all kinds of extra ingredients, I would avoid it. The reason cream tastes so good is because of the FAT!

        What you want is Heavy Cream, and it should have listed on the label the percent of butterfat. 36% is standard, but if you can find 40% or more you will be very happy. And if you can find (like at Whole Foods) pastuerized rather than ultrapastuerized, there is a world of difference there too. Also you can get the glass bottles of milk with the cream on top, if you really want to do it the old way, and scoop it off. There's just enough for a cup of coffee.

        14 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Agreed! Just do be sure to check that there aren't any stabilizers or thickeners. The ingredients list should not include carageenan or guar gum or anything like that.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Note that it is REALLY difficult to find a gum-less heavy cream. I buy Organic Valley and even it has carageenan.

            1. re: tenacity

              My Organic Valley just has cream as the only ingredient. AND, it's cheaper than crappy store-brand cream with additives.

              1. re: sandylc

                There are 2 different styles of the Organic Valley cream. One, (the far better) is pasteurised, and is cream only. It's probably the best cream I've seen generally available in the USA. You can identify it because the carton doesn't have a plastic spout.

                The other is ultra-pasteurised (which means much longer shelf life) and has carrageenan. I believe the ultra-pasteurisation process denatures the proteins in cream to a degree that interferes with the texture, and it may affect the fat as well. That's probably why it's added to the Organic Valley U-P version, and probably why most cream in the USA has thickeners added, because most of it is ultra-pasteurised, this probably in turn because it is more profitable for the retailers (because of longer shelf life = less wastage). You probably have to be in a position where you have reliably fast turnover on cream to justify stocking a pasteurised (short-shelf-life) cream.

                In the UK, this is commonplace, because cream is a central aspect of British cookery. Almost any stockist has no problem turning shelves on a weekly basis.

                1. re: AlexRast

                  Alex - thanks for the insight into U-P cream. Coming from the UK I couldn't understand why cream in other countries always seemed to have thickeners - even a big dairy producer like Australia.

                  And the pure creams always seem to sell out of supermarkets really early in the day, so whilst the demand is there I suspect the manufacturers and retailers like the convenience of U-P. I now read the ingredients labels very carefully....!

                  1. re: PhilD

                    The big surprise for me was how cream passed off as "whipping cream" doesn't actually whip. Certainly not like double cream. That's one I still don't understand - how it is that people can accept a product that doesn't do what it says on the tin.

                    However, I think if the demand truly were there then the shops would make it available. It's interesting that you say supermarkets sell out really early in the day. If that's the case, they're missing a potential profit-maker because they could clearly stock more and make more money. More likely though that there is a fairly fixed clientele, who "know the system", and arrive within a narrow timing window.

                    1. re: AlexRast

                      I haven't had that problem, it always whips for me.

                      1. re: calumin

                        When you say "whips" what do you mean, exactly? I get the feeling you might have a different concept of the state that can be considered "whipped". Double cream whips as stiffly as egg white - that is, when you turn the bowl upside down the cream stays in the bowl. There is NO looseness or runniness at all - which is what I expect. It has a dense, thick consistency, like a good mousse.

                      2. re: AlexRast

                        much american whipping cream is light whipping cream with less fat. there is also heavy whipping cream. most cream and organic milk seems to be ultra pasteurized.

                        i often just use milk in coffee or half and half. occasionally even evaporated milk. cream sometimes breaks in hot coffee and i hate that.

                        I got some non homogenized milk in a glass jug. maybe I should have let it warm up but the top inch was solid cream that had to be spooned, I don't know how you could just shake it in. the bottom milk was thin. deposit for jug was over $3.

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      It's at all natural foods stores and many grocery stores around here. It's our go-to brand for milk, too.


                      EDIT: I plugged in various cities at their website, and it looks pretty available across the US.

                  2. re: tenacity

                    carageenan is seaweed extract it is natural.. of course so is hemlock .. but it isnt a chemical

                2. re: coll

                  trader joe's has pasteurized heavy cream as well @ 2.49/pint

                  1. re: wonderwoman

                    Good to know! I'm sort of partial to Ronnybrook though, especially the "free" glass bottles they come in!

                    I did buy an asceptic pack of heavy cream at Trader Joe, but I keep forgetting I have it. I really should just stick it in the fridge.

                3. Fat free half and half is an ersatz food product to be avoided. Powdered and "fancy" liquid creamers are also ersatz foods, skip them.

                  Back in the day before homogenization one could actually purchase whole milk where the cream rose to the top of the bottle. One would scoop off the cream and use that for any application that called for cream. It wasn't all that long ago that milk was delivered to homes and it wasn't homogenized, and one could actually purchase it in grocery stores. Sadly, homogenization has taken over and it is extremely rare to find unhomogenized milk.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: janniecooks

                    Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is one of 3 dairies in the country licensed to sell raw unhomogenized milk. And that's JERSEY milk, with over 5% butter fat.


                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                      We've got a raw jersey dairy in my county, too. BEST STUFF EVER. It's my favorite thing for coffee, bar none, but it's expensive and makes (twists my arm, you see) me drink lots of sweet, milky coffee. The flavor is superlative.

                      We also have non-homogenized, pasteurized local dairy. Dang, we are spoiled!

                    2. Fat free half-and-half sounds positively ghastly!
                      Just get some heavy cream for whipping, should be about 42%. Call it good.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Fat free half-and-half is an oxymoron because half-&-half is half milk and half cream, neither of which are fat free. That said my preferred coffee creamer is non ultra pasteurized half and half.

                        The power of marketing and the absence of logic is the reason can convince Americans to buy anything.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          Heavy cream and whipping cream are too fatty for coffee. You may as well plop in a pat of butter.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Uh oh. Better not Google "bulletproof coffee" if the thought of cream in your coffee makes you feel nauseated. :)

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I'm with you greygarious, it leaves a butter slick on top of your coffee and the flavor is just heavy and overwhelming. I personally find that "light cream" or half and half allow the coffee flavor to come through best.

                                Light cream I think has a higher butterfat content than half and half does

                                Avoid Whipping Cream, Heavy Whipping Cream or Heavy Cream

                                1. re: cgarner

                                  Unless you whip it a bit first! Then it's a nice, decadent change of pace.

                            2. My favorite is regular half and half. Full cream is delicious but for everyday I actually prefer the half and half because it gives the coffee nice smoothness without being too heavy or oily.

                              I agree with the others, deep six the fat-free.

                              Let us know how you do.

                              1. Fat free half and half is really just another breed of artificial creamer. Before the invention of "coffee creamers" (Creamora and the like) the standard offered in most restaurants was what is today labeled as "whipping cream." The liquid kind, not the pre-whipped kind. It's also sometimes labeled as "heavy cream." On request, restaurants used to provide whole milk, or for anyone who wanted half and half, that's what they got, a mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream.

                                In the home, many people used evaporated milk in their coffee. It was also available on request in many restaurants. It gives a sweeter taste than cream. But home users also used cream and//or milk. And if you go back far enough, or go country enough to find people who used pasteurized but not homogenized milk, the cream would float to the top. I grew up on raw milk fresh from the dairy so the adults in my family would just pour cream off the top of the milk into their morning coffee.

                                Hope you find the flavor you're looking for. Good luck!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  C1, remember the teeny, tiny little "bottles" of cream at restaurants? Just enough for one cup of coffee. My parents both drank their coffee black so my brother and I would drink those little things. Mmmm. When I see that gacky French vanilla stuff nowadays...well, just yuck.

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    I also grew up on raw milk. Outcome? Brucelosis. :-(

                                    What brand of canned evaporated milk for coffee? I suppose any but what does anyone prefer?

                                    1. re: HazelM

                                      Major major MAJOR bummer! Does it stall cause problems for you today? Hope not!

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        No, no problems. I'd never have known if doctor hadn't discovered it in a checkup. Started giving me shots and telling me I'd have to take them weekly for the rest of my life. No thanks. I quit that and am doing just fine. We all have little problems that we live with and move on. But doctors like to keep us coming back. :-)

                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                      The only good use for Creamora is to make Creamora pots on the Forth of July.... http://www.skylighter.com/fireworks/h...

                                    3. In Canada they sell half and half, 10% cream, 18% cream and whipping cream. For coffee, I'd use any except the whipping cream. Most people would use half and half or 10%. 18% is for when you're feeling rich.

                                      Fat free half and half is ridiculous.

                                      1. And, the answer to the question is (drumroll please), light cream. My wife always asks when we've had the good fortune to stay in some of the higher end hotels and resorts, and the answer has always been, light cream. I'm sure there will be 50 + other opinions.

                                        6 Replies
                                          1. re: CocoDan

                                            And they would be wrong. You are correct, it's light cream and I am shocked that it took so many posts before the right answer appeared. Half&half is the other common "cream" used in coffee. I buy whichever one has the farthest expiration date. By the way, in a pinch, evaporated milk (not to be confused with sweetened condensed) is a decent sub for half&half in coffee.

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              I haven't seen light cream in a market in years. Can you still find it?

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Certainly you can buy light cream in any supermarket here in Boston. Perhaps less so elsewhere.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  I can find it in Connecticut at just about any store. I have also purchased it in rural upstate NY and western Massachusetts (it is my husband's coffee cream of choice).

                                              2. re: CocoDan

                                                Light cream is great in coffee but get the regular pasteurized not the ultra pasteurized. I use my store brand (Shoprite). I worked for Sysco and sold coffee. A veteran coffee rep told me that Dunkin Donuts was successful because they used light cream for many years. He said light cream will mask off tastes of crummy coffee.I just read they now use a creamer that is only 18% butterfat. That's on the high end of half & half.

                                              3. Hey! Leave the villageidiot alone. ugh...maybe that didn't come out right. I'm sure he/she is sorry for ever mentioning using the stuff (fat free half & half).

                                                I just thought of something that could be used for a sweetener and a creamer... sweetened condensed milk. I would think that would be great.

                                                Of course, you could do what I saw a very nice restaurant in a hotel do. Send out a tray of additives with the coffee. There was whipped cream, chopped chocolate, cinnamon sugar and sugar.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                  In regards to using sweetened condensed milk....... it IS very tasty! Gives something reminiscent of a caramelized flavour, very very nice :)

                                                  1. re: Popkin

                                                    You could add any number of flavoring s to sweetened condensed milk, too.

                                                    Chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, hazelnut flavoring, mint perhaps, even that caramel flavoring.

                                                    Of course this is coming from the guy that drinks Folgers black.

                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                      Gong! For too many years, morning coffee in Mexico was Nescafe with sweetened condensed milk. Nasty.

                                                  2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                    when my boyfriend did a stint in SE Asia where there was little refrigeration available, canned sweetened condensed milk was used in many, many, things.
                                                    lots of them, were very delicious until i looked up the calorie content of the stuff.
                                                    (fruit salad made with fresh pineapple, coconut, berries, sprinkled with cocoa, drizzled with sweetened condensed milk.
                                                    when i saw him assemble this the first time i thought it would taste ghastly. after i tasted it, i was completely hooked)

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      It was an old colonial staple across Asia. When I grew up we always used condensed milk in coffee - a hangover from the days my father was in the Army. We also used it on tinned fruit all the time - a real memory from my past. And of course its an essential ingredient in Banoffee Pie - heaven.

                                                    2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                      Yup! I make Vietnamese coffee with Longevity Brand
                                                      beats the HECK out of Eagle or Carnation

                                                    3. I remember when "Coffee Cream" was a separate product, somewhere between whole milk and half-and-half. My mom kept some for her coffee, and if we were REALLY good and she was in the mood, we'd get some on our cereal.

                                                      I disagree with the suggestion to use heavy cream. It leaves what to me is an annoying slick of fat on the surface. On the other hand ANYTHING is better than so-called Fat Free H&H...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Right. The restaurant probably served light cream, or coffee cream.

                                                        When I was on the Atkins diet I used Heavy Cream extensively because it has such a low carb ratio (e.g., high fat). When I asked, my local Starbucks had a carton in their fridge.

                                                      2. I prefer half & half. The real thing! IMO heavy cream is too greasy for coffee. There used to be a product called light cream that was indeed between half & half and whole milk. I haven't seen that in years. But we grew up using half & half, so that is what tastes right to me.

                                                        1. It's often difficult (at least around here, SW PA) to find a heavy cream without stabilizers. Also difficult to find non-ultra pasteurized of any of these things. Even just seeing anything labeled as heavy cream alone (not whipping) is unusual. Worth getting IMO, assuming, as I would expect, that it does not have the stabilizers, but it's probably too heavy for your coffee. Light cream is not common here, a couple of small local dairies do make it but most stores don't carry such things. Can be somewhat more common in other parts of the country (New England seems like).

                                                          I don't think the heavy cream (as heavy as the heavy whipping cream, that is) was particularly common in coffee, though. More typical would have been light cream. Also these terms can vary somewhat in definition. The most widely available and used now though is likely to be half and half.

                                                          The place that served you "real cream" possibly served you light cream as opposed to half and half, or possibly served you real half and half while insinuating that most places serve only non-dairy fake stuff. ;-) (Fake stuff still does get served in restaurants, though, at least sometimes. We have breakfast occasionally at a nearby diner, and they go to trouble of serving fantastic omelets without pre-beaten eggs, but they only serve non-dairy creamer. Wacky. We eat there anyway. Bring a carton of half and half. ;-)

                                                          Substitute half and half for recipes calling for milk; that is fun. We never have milk but always have half and half in the fridge.

                                                          17 Replies
                                                          1. re: CrazyOne

                                                            Thanks to all of you. Yes, I was horrified when I got home and found the "other ingredients" in the Fat Free Half and Half. I agree, it is an oxymoron. But, the label says 0 fat, and in the ingredients it uses skim milk, and next to the cream is an asterisk which says something like a very small amt of fat.
                                                            After seeing all of the other items, i grabbed the Land O'Lakes fat free half and half, figuring it must be good, since it was Land O' Lakes. I cannot believe that I did not read the label. I guess I was just so tired and in too much pain from my doctor visit. It was the last item that I got/grabbed.

                                                            You will all be delighted that the village idiot tried the fat free half and half for you and it is HORRIBLE!!!! (Thanks for defending me Hank! :-) Even if I did not feel attacked by anyone)

                                                            I am trying to remove the powdered coffeemate from my diet. As on another post, I got used to the
                                                            powdered stuff when working. I cannot stand the sweetness of flavored creamers to drink in my morning coffee. I will use it occasionally if I want something sweet in the evening.

                                                            So, from all of your advice, I will look for a small box of heavy cream, and a small box of light cream, next time I can find someone to go shopping for me. Can't say that I want cream with that much fat everyday in my coffee, so will also try Half and Half.

                                                            Thanks so much for your help.
                                                            Da Village Idiot

                                                            1. re: villageidiot

                                                              My dad used cream which I assume is the same as heavy cream until the dairy stopped doing home delivery sometime in the late 60s. Then he switched to condensed milk. When his percolator finally died, he first switched to half and half and then to milk and then stopped using cream altogether. I assume this was because (as he complained so bitterly and at great length, one of the few complaints the man was ever known to make) that coffee from a Mr. Coffee was already a weak watery substance that hardly deserved to be called coffee.

                                                              This was the man who used to take the sludge at the bottom of the percolator, pour it into a cup in the fridge, and then add it to the fresh pot of coffee in the morning. Like turbo-charging I would guess. So probably Mr. Coffee did seem weak and watery to him.

                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                LOL Zen!!!! Sounds just like my daddy!!!! He swore for years that Mr. Coffee was horrible. Then I would hear about how he and his WW2 buddies would put coffee grounds into a sock, and stick the sock in boiling water. Yummy. :-) His percolator died about 10 yrs ago, and all he had on hand were 2 Mr. Coffees that he had gotten for Christmas and birthday. He claimed for about a month, always repeating his sock story. Then his frugal side took over, and he wouldn't spend the money on a percolator. About 2 yrs into his use of Mr. Coffee, I asked if he had finally gotten used to it, and his reply was, "I guess, but the coffee we made with the sock in the military was still better than this."

                                                                1. re: villageidiot

                                                                  That DOES sound like my dad, LOL! He also wouldn't splurge for a new percolator (well they got awfully hard to find after Mr. Coffee came along anyway). I think he did finally get used to it, but it was never really the same for him.

                                                                  That generation really WAS the Greatest Generation. I don't think we realize yet how badly we are going to miss them. . . .

                                                              2. re: villageidiot

                                                                Cream and its sisters last much longer than milk.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Great to know about the long expiration time c oliver. Thanks.

                                                                  So, I guess it is light cream, for my first "real" coffee cream test.

                                                                  BTW.................. that dang Fat Free Half and Half just completely ruined my cup of tomato soup. grrrr. AND, tried it with my cats. 2 of them looked at me like, "are you kidding???". The other one who will eat anything (including cabbage!), had a few "sips" and left it.

                                                                  Don't think I will ruin any more of my food with it. Perhaps my neighbor can take it to work and put it in their coffee break room fridge.

                                                                  I guess my summary would be to NEVER buy FAT FREE Half and Half. Maybe it will unclog my kitchen sink! :-D

                                                                  1. re: villageidiot

                                                                    I'm glad you figured it out :-)

                                                                    Maybe you can try getting organic ones or those from small farms, the flavor is so much better than the big brand name stuff. In my area, a quart of organic h&h costs $2.69. I only use maybe 2 tbsp of it everyday, one box is good for 3 weeks. It's worth indulging in, and 2 tbsps of cream everyday is not going to kill you.

                                                              3. re: CrazyOne

                                                                I agree that "Fat Free" H&H is just ..... a contradiction in terms? Who dreamed it up and why?

                                                                But, I think people get confused between "pasteurized" and "homogenized".

                                                                Pasteurization is a process, involving heating, to kill nasty bacteria.

                                                                Homogenization is the process to make milk products easy to transport and store, and involve taking fat out of milk, putting stabilizers etc in, putting fat back in some milk products etc etc.
                                                                Homogenization is why it is almost impossible to make cream and butter at home - the milk just doesn't separate!

                                                                1. re: Rasam

                                                                  Homogenization: http://www.foodscience.uoguelph.ca/da...

                                                                  Yes, it is possible that some processors are adding stabilizers to milk, but homogenization, as a process, is nothing but a mechanicall method of making the fat globules in milk smaller so that they don't separate out easily. To make lower fat and nonfat milk, they do remove all the fat and then put it back in according to a percentage before homogenizing the milk.

                                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                                    Yes, that's what I meant to convey: the point of making the fat globules less easy to separate out, is to facilitate transport and storage (you don't want your milk or cream inadvertently getting churned en route in the truck)

                                                                    People seem to get the two terms mixed up (I heard on NPR just today about someone saying they got sick from the unhomogenized milk) :)
                                                                    No, that would be from the unpasteurized milk ......

                                                                    I tried to make butter at home a few years back and gave up. Around here, every brand of milk and cream is marked "homogenized", even those from the artisanal local dairies, so I've never tried again.

                                                                    1. re: Rasam

                                                                      My students make butter every Thanksgiving with heavy cream and it works just fine! I wonder what made yours not work?

                                                                      1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                        I don't know - we just shook and shook and shook the bottle for more than an hour, and .... ?

                                                                        I haven't tried again.

                                                                        How do your students make it?

                                                                        My final goal is to make cultured butter.

                                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                                          My students put heavy whipping cream into little jars (babyfood jars just because they're easy to get ahold of and small) and shake until it starts to get grainy, then shake gently until it forms a solid lump -- too much shaking will mix the butter back in with the buttermilk and it makes a weird, runny, butter-cream hybrid. After the "lump" of butter forms, they pour off the buttermilk and voila! Butter. Only takes... 10-15 minutes. But it MUST be heavy whipping cream or it won't work.

                                                                          I came across this post on cultured butter and have been wanting to do it ever since:


                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                            And you just bought the regular heavy whipping cream from a grocery store, which said "homogenized"? Wow! I wish I had got those results.

                                                                            I must try again. Maybe we shook it too long? I don't know, but this weekend I will try again .....

                                                                            Have you tried making larger quantities in a food processor with a whisk attachment?

                                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                                              Yup, regular heavy whipping cream from a regular grocery store. You do really have to be careful once you reach the point where the cream starts to look grainy -- a bit more finesse is required from that point because you're almost there.

                                                                              I've only ever used a churn or the shaking method, but I know many people who have made butter with a food processor, stand mixer, or beaters.

                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                OK thanks and will report if I get to try this soon.

                                                                2. re: CrazyOne

                                                                  The two stores that I can get to both sell only the adulterated forms. The grocer did tell me that there is one brand available - "Ozark- something" but not at his store. Otherwise, he said, you have to go to the dairy farm for the real thing.

                                                                  Interestingly, when I first bought that half and half, the grocer who found it for me said "Most people don't use cream in their coffee any more." He looked at me like he thought I was off my rocker for even asking for it.

                                                                3. I am quite late to this because, as a rule, I never use cream in my coffee. A few weeks ago, after having real cream at a country restaurant, I had an urge to try some more. I went to our grocery store and brought home Half and Half. First thing I saw was "no fat". No self-respecting cow ever gave cream without fat. I then read the ingredients and saw "contains a minuscule of fat". It then went on into details. After I drank that coffee, my tongue was solidly covered with white. Whatever it was, I tossed the rest.

                                                                  OK. Today, I had a talk with a man at the grocery store about what is going on. Long story short, they are removing the fat and adding thickeners. Even the whipping cream is not pure cream any more. The man explained a lot of other stuff that didn't stay with me but the sum of it is we are being fed less of the real thing and more additives, some of which don't taste good and some which coat the tongue in white. Artificial food. Shades of Orson Wells ("1984")

                                                                  I pray they have real milk and real cream on Pern, where I am going in my next life. (SciFi for the uninitiated).

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: HazelM

                                                                    As discussed above, fat free (or "no fat") half and half isn't real. Try real half and half, I have no idea what man you talked to in the grocery store (someone who worked there, or a bystander) but rule number one: if you're buying half and half or cream, you do not buy fat free. Personally I like to get the stuff from the farm that comes in glass bottles, can't go wrong with that! Local groceries are starting to carry that too, so if anything it's all heading in a positive direction around here.

                                                                    1. re: HazelM

                                                                      George Orwell not Orson Welles? And while we're into SciFi has anyone tried Soylent Cream?

                                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                                        Oops! Sorry about that. Guess the mind is befuddled by artificial creams.

                                                                        1. re: HazelM

                                                                          I almost bought fat free once and something made me look at the ingredients. Might as well be Cremora!

                                                                          1. re: HazelM

                                                                            Actually, my stomach is befuddled by artificial creams! Interestingly, there is a powdered real cream product in Japan called Creap, and only the name befuddles.

                                                                          2. re: kagemusha49

                                                                            soylent cream.

                                                                            i did, in fact, laugh out loud.

                                                                          3. re: HazelM

                                                                            It always says Fat-Free or No-Fat on the main part of the label, quite prominently. You should have paid attention.
                                                                            There are plenty of genuine dairy creams in supermarkets.
                                                                            Personally, I think anything richer than light cream is too fatty for use in coffee.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              Of course I should have but, believe me, in my day if you bought a carton of Half and Half, you got half milk and half cream as natural as when the farmer carried his bucket from the barn. You didn't have to worry about what was in it. Just plain milk. The dairy industry used to brag about butter, cheese, cream, etc., being the real McCoy. Now you can't even find the dairy industry. And every food you buy is full of additives. Sugar in vegetables?

                                                                              I'm learning.

                                                                              1. re: HazelM

                                                                                The dairy industry is alive and well. Regulated by the USDA, but very dependable, for lack of another word.

                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                  What I meant was I cannot find their offices, their headquarters where we contacted them. They used to be quite "out front" keeping the country posted on what is dairy and what is not. Hence the spelling of "crème", for example.

                                                                                  When I first made this discovery about Half and Half, I wanted to write to them and ask what was going on. But, I could not find any central location, any way to contact them.

                                                                                  1. re: HazelM

                                                                                    "Crème" is a regulated way of telling you that it's not "cream", that's all.

                                                                                    Look up USDA, Washington DC, that would be my first thought, either they can help you since they work in tandem, or they can give you more info.

                                                                                    I'm also guessing "Dairy HQ" might be located near Chicago, connected to the commodities stock exchange in some way? Because that's where all the prices are set.

                                                                                    How about The Dairy Council http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/P...

                                                                                    Another idea, do you have a local Cooperative Extension? They are very helpful in most matters.

                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                      I know. That's what I was saying about "crème". The Dairy Council (thank you for reminding me) dedicated itself to protecting the dairy industry and, they hoped, the public from adulterated dairy products. Cheese was another. We always watched for their label on what they passed as "real cheese". If you wanted to avoid fat, you just avoided the fatty food. But you didn't eat adulterated foods that coated your tongue with something white. Could that have been the thickener? I did write to that producer and ask but they never answered. An old, well-known dairy producer who shall remain nameless. Now they aren't talking.

                                                                                      Local Cooperative? I doubt there is even a farm in this county. :-)

                                                                                      Again, thanks for "National Dairy Council". I was chasing the wrong dog there.

                                                                                      1. re: HazelM

                                                                                        I know, I was thinking "dairy" and all of a sudden a commercial of theirs popped into my head. Who says constant advertising doesn't pay?

                                                                          4. We use evaporated milk...mainly for tea, but also for the occasional cup of coffee.

                                                                            1. For coffee, I grew up using half and half, which is about 12.5% fat, and occasionally the 18% fat version. Personally, I find that heavy or whipping cream is too high fat - it tends to separate in the coffee, and it tastes too greasy to me - like putting butter in coffee.

                                                                              I'm curious where you live, that coffee creamer is standard and real cream is the exception. Wherever I've lived in Canada and the US coffee creamer was mainly found in situations where there wasn't refrigeration, or coffee wasn't used often - hotel room coffee machines, office coffee supplies, etc. Any restaurant or coffee shop would generally have cream and milk as defaults.

                                                                              I'm in East Asia now, and it's all liquid non dairy creamers (except McDonalds, for some reason). I can buy whipping cream and whole milk in the grocery store, but nothing in between.

                                                                              1. "whipping cream" works fine in coffee, just use less per cup than you would half&half.

                                                                                In fancier restaurants in the U.K. they use very heavy cream, poured carefully over the back of a spoon so it stays on top of the black coffee. then you drink the coffee through the cream. not bad!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: chowyadoin99

                                                                                  ooh, i like that trick.

                                                                                  i like a little coffee with my cream.

                                                                                  my mickey d's drive through staple: large coffee, three creams. they make good coffee and it is real cream (or half and half), not creamer.

                                                                                2. A little more "Time Travel" courtesy of Chowhound! The OP's last post on these boards was this one, and no evidence s/he stayed around long enough to read the responses, so... anyway, here goes

                                                                                  If anyone is still interested, the "milk" used in most restaurants is half and half, and if you'd like to use the same little plastic pots of it at home, you can buy it at Sam's Club (and other places as well, I'm sure). I buy lots of things in bulk, and if I didn't drink all of my coffees black, I'd probably get some of these too!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    i like those mini-moos as they are shelf stable. they are hard to find in our regular grocery stores, though, for some odd reason.

                                                                                    i normally use half and half. growing up, we had "table cream" -- and i don't know why it was called that. (to use at the table, i suppose).

                                                                                    i'm going to see if i can find regular and not "ultra" pasteurized cream.

                                                                                  2. Where I live, cream with 18% fat is the standard for coffee. It is actually labeled "coffee cream" on the carton. Perhaps look for that percentage, regardless of what it's called.

                                                                                    1. Trick for using heavy cream in coffee, if you don't like the "butter problem" (the cream separating): STIR. Stir VIGOROUSLY as you pour it in.

                                                                                      I've found this works even if the cream is near the end of its life and just barely starting to get a little, um, chunky (before the flavor changes at all). Stir, stir, stir!

                                                                                      When even that doesn't work - which I've never seen - use a stick blender. :-)

                                                                                      1. I always use heavy whipping cream in my coffee.

                                                                                        1. I agree that what used to be called "coffee cream" probably was what's called light cream today. I prefer heavy cream myself, and for me the important factor is this:

                                                                                          PASTEURIZED cream is heavenly but one has to look around a bit to find the stuff nowadays. Trader Joe's has it but I haven't been seeing it in mainstream supermarkets for years now.

                                                                                          ULTRAPASTEURIZED cream is overprocessed and actually tastes much less creamy than it should, a pale shadow of the genuine flavor. Plus it virtually always has thickeners of some kind (to compensate for the processing at high temperatures) and usually has preservatives too. If I'm going to consume something so calorie-rich I want the full measure of taste, darnit. Not just empty calories with some chemicals added. But it's still better than artificial creamer.

                                                                                          1. LIGHT cream is coffee cream, that is likely what you had in the past that tasted so good. Once you have that you can't go back! You can buy Heavy Cream and thin it with a bit of Milk to get coffee cream (if you cannot find Light Cream)... Costco sells Heavy Cream very inexpensively... just add milk... from what I've read it's 1:1 - 1:3 depending what you likee... If you have a Publix grocery store, they carry Light Cream, they call it COFFEE CREAMER....

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Barbarastr

                                                                                              I'd be interesting in knowing the B.F.% for the variously labeled creams. Am not in the U.S., so hard for me to "just run down to the store" to take a look. :) TIA

                                                                                              1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                Half and half: 10.5% - 18%
                                                                                                Light cream: 18% - 30%
                                                                                                Whipping cream: 30% - 36%
                                                                                                Heavy cream: 36% - 40%

                                                                                                Good luck finding any cream on the high end of its supposed range, though. Only manufacturers cream (not available at retail) reaches the 40% mark.

                                                                                                Whole milk has 3.25% butterfat.

                                                                                            2. They were using cream or half and half.

                                                                                              Whipping and heavy are generally the same product at most stores. Light cream is regional.

                                                                                              Anything else is an abomination,including UHT or ultrapasturized.

                                                                                              Personally I like whole milk in my coffee but I almost always have cream at home. Very useful.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                I'm another who prefers milk. Don't like the taste of cream in coffee. Don't like the American "creamer" type stuff. And. particularly, don't like the creamer stuff you get in the Netherlands and Dutch speaking part of Belgium. If milk isnt available, I prefer to drink it without anything.

                                                                                              2. Light Cream is what is used in coffee

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Catzea

                                                                                                  I have never lived in a place where anything labeled "light cream" was available.

                                                                                                2. Most people use half-and-half for coffee but lately I have been enjoying the wild & crazy indulgence of whipping cream in my coffee. It is heavier and richer. Anyway I don't get that much of it as I usually drink tea, sugar only, instead of coffee. Heavy cream is the same thing that is sold as whipping cream.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                    I did this when I was on a keto diet. You can see a little oil slick on top of your coffee.

                                                                                                    In Canada people go crazy over Tim Hortons coffee, which is a fast food kind of coffee place. A reason people love it so much is there coffee is really creamy. A few years ago people found out why, it wasn't the usual half and half. They use a 18% cream. You can buy it next to the 10% half and half, its called table cream.

                                                                                                    1. re: daislander

                                                                                                      Your post illustrates part of the challenge of answering this question! Where I live (NS) 18% cream is called "coffee cream". We can't even agree within the same country :). (But, I don't like Tim's, so...)

                                                                                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                        it dosnt even qualify as coffee

                                                                                                        it may have something to do with the milk manufacture and what they choose to call it as were on opposite sides of the country I'm sure they are different.

                                                                                                  2. I find when I use "real" cream, I use very little of it, much less than if I was using mild or half and half to lighten it.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                      Just so you know,

                                                                                                      Half & half is 10.5% butter fat
                                                                                                      Heavy Cream is 36% butter fat
                                                                                                      light cream is 18 butter fat
                                                                                                      Milk Whole is 4.6% butter fat
                                                                                                      FF Milk is less than 1% butter fat

                                                                                                      McDonalds uses 18% half & Half creamers
                                                                                                      most restaurants offer 10.5% creamers

                                                                                                    2. In my recent experience (I live and shop in Chicago) most US supermarkets sell a) half-and-half, which is half cream and half milk, and which many people use in coffee, and b) "whipping" cream, which is heavy cream. I have not seen "light" cream for years. I remember it being sold also as "coffee cream" forty or fifty years ago. Try putting whipping aka heavy cream in your coffee and see if that is what you've been missing---it's a lovely indulgence.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                        I live near New Haven, and I see light cream in the supermarket all the time.

                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            Here whipping cream is usually labeled light whipping cream. Occasionally heavy whipping cream is available, I think Fred Meyer has it in quarts and costco has half gallons. It is much richer.

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              Must be another regional thing, as I have light cream in my area too. Here, it is 5% MF. We also have as widely available options 10% (blend or half-and-half, depending on the dairy), 18% (coffee) and 40% (whipping).

                                                                                                            2. re: benbenberi

                                                                                                              When we lived upstate NY I saw it all the time too. Then again, it was a very dairy oriented county. Rare if ever here on Long Island.