Coffee setup how to offer dairy/alternatives

In my AirBnb people have a kettle and whole coffee beans with a grinder and Bodum French press to make their coffee in their room - there is a mini fridge as well. The first year I offered milk and milk alternatives in little glass bottles with screw top lids (adorable) but because they were often not used or half used I stopped offering any milk/alternatives at all as it was too much work to clean/refill etc. So now they have coffee black. Occasionally someone mentions to me privately that it would be nice to have some cream. Does anybody have any ideas about how to offer milk etc for coffee that isn’t powdered (yuck) or single serving as I can’t stand the environmental impact. Just checking if there’s something I haven’t thought of!

I stopped offering coffee at all because I couldn’t please everyone.

Goldilocks would’ve been easier to please. It was a constant feedback of:

I prefer almond milk instead of the individual half/half creamers

This coffee is too light for me

This coffee is too bold

I prefer sugar in the raw

I wish you provided agave

“There is a keurig & 12 cup drip so you can bring & enjoy your favorite coffees.

Starbucks is .5 mile north on Hwy 17. Local coffee shop just across hwy 17 on right. McDonald’s is .4 mile south on hwy 17. “


I don’t have an answer but feel the same way.

I have a small milk bottle and I put half and half in it. It doesn’t seem like it gets used very often, but also the coffee isn’t always used either. Sometimes I buy the small carton (16 oz) of half and half and leave it and when it finally gets opened I then take it and use it in my part of the house. I also occasionally put a small (8oz) almond or soy beverage in there. All of it seems wasteful for the one nighters I have. But I set up my listing the way I’d want it to be if I stayed in it. I need coffee in the morning. I need coffee to go get coffee. But I also need coffee with creamer of some kind.


As a home-share host who shares my kitchen with guests, this has never been an issue for me, as I use cream in my coffee as well, so there is always some
in the fridge.

I agree with you on wasted food and environmental impact.

What I might do in your situation is have a saved message which you include in questions or info sent to guests like “While I supply coffee beans, a grinder and a French press, I found the milk I was leaving for guests often went bad as they didn’t use it. I would be happy to provide milk or cream for coffee if you let me know that you use it so it isn’t just wasted food.”

If they start demanding alternatives, like soy milk, almond milk, etc, as KKC said, I wouldn’t try to cater to that- you’d have to open a fresh litre carton and the rest would go bad unless you use it yourself.

One of the best projects I ever undertook was learning to like my coffee black. It has made my travels so much easier!

That said, I do supply a half pint carton of half and half. It’s only a couple of bucks. If it’s unopened and the date is still good I’ll leave it; otherwise I take it home.


I’ve definitely drunk coffee black, but never been able to get to the point of enjoying it. The thing for me is, I actually prefer it black to with milk. I’m a half and half gal, or even whipping cream. Milk in my coffee just tastes like watery coffee to me. The worst is when someone offers skim milk. :smiley: Might as well add water.


Me too! I travel with a couple of individual Folgers instant coffee packs, few Splenda packs & small amount of non-dairy creamer. Not really good but passable until I can get the good stuff.

If there’s a KETTLE or other hot water, I’m good to go

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In the US at a nearby store they sell 8 oz cartons of plant based beverages and 16 oz of plant based creamers. Most hosts could easily just ask guests what they want as you suggest and provide it at very minimal cost.

I was wondering about that, as I’ve only ever seen the litre sizes.

Also, does anyone know if those products are freezable without changing consistency? If so, a carton that gets opened could be poured into smaller containers, frozen, and used when required.

Yes. I routinely freeze whipping cream & buttermilk . I have several 1 cup freezable containers I use plus I freeze high fat butter. The butter I’m writing about is locally made & too good for baking or cooking, it needs to be luxuriously smeared on homemade fresh bread or pancakes.

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I just went with Mini Moos. They’re single serving, but it was common to find a half-empty carton of half-and-half in the refrigerator after guests checked-out, and I don’t see that that amount of waste as a better alternative.

I also provided powdered coffee creamer, but I don’t think any guest ever used it. I guess you have to be desperate.

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I’m a home host, but don’t offer kitchen privileges. Guests have a coffee press, kettle and tea assortment in their room. On the tray is a little note telling them to please ask for milk for coffee or tea. Only a couple of folks have asked for it, and many have commented on the convenience and quality of coffee & tea. Super easy for me.

Also, I supply Trader Joe’s medium roast (ground) in a canister. It’s what I drink and guests seem to really like it. Really inexpensive for the quality, I feel.

I was actually referring to soy milk, almond milk, etc. I know that whipping cream can be frozen without issue, but have no experience with trying to freeze the non-dairy alternatives, although I do drink them myself on occasion (but never in coffee- banish the thought).

I think I’ve used it about twice in my 50 years of being a coffee drinker. Yes, I was desperate. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

How about just ASKING guests – when they book/before they arrive – what, if anything they prefer. Make it part of your “Welcome, looking forwrd to meeting you…” message. That way you’ll know exactly what to have for them… Only buy the smallest containers of any of it. Use what’s left in your own cooking.

Exactly what I do - makes a happy guest

Long life full cream milk is the answer for me, common here in Australia. Depending on length is stay I leave a 2-4 small ones (200 ml). Throwing out half of one of them is not much waste at all. I buy them by the case and of course the whole idea is they do not need refrigeration until opened.

I find little bottles with caps to be too finicky and if anything I’m trying to streamline my operation not complicate it.

Also my son informed me he would never use the “little bottle system” because it was “gross” - he’s 24.

I would supply a small milk carton and use the leftover myself no problem - but I know tons of people really want an alternative and they don’t come in small containers.

Here’s a host as guest perspective: We recently stayed at a lovely place in DC. I pack with my “must haves” and make plans to purchase anything that I’m missing once I asses the situation. What I found helpful was a few tiny containers of a liquid half and half (apparently not needing refrigeration). It was just enough for us to manage until we went shopping. [UPDATE: Apologies, just reread that you didn’t like single serving. There seems to always be a trade off, either economic, environmental, aesthetic, or quality. You gotta do you.] In our property we use the term “starter” to let the guests know the item won’t fulfill their requirements for the entirety of their stay (starter TP, starter, breakfast snacks). I’m not sure if you can find something like this in a wide variety of substances, but the point is it’s just a few, enough that the person isn’t left with nothing, and there isn’t much waste. I’m guessing there is an eco-friendly version out there, but I’ll bet it’s more expensive than the wasted half cartons. People that are that particular and reasonable travel with their own supplies (just like picky pillow people).

I used to ask in my welcome and direction standard greeting, but frankly people only answer 10% of the time or less. The “don’t read” crowd strikes again.

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Pre and post COVID have been very different. I have a home share and used to do a breakfast buffet. Leftovers just went into our family supplies. Since COVID I have given in to more individual servings of items like mini-moos. If someone asks about milk alternative I provide a small container or pitcher from my personal groceries since I use them too. With anyone staying more than a night, I ask them about preferences when they arrive and often make a store run in the evening to provide the things that people like. Now that we only do one room instead of our prior three anyone who stays more than a few days becomes part of the family and helps themselves to the fridge and breakfast supplies. It would be a much greater challenge with a totally separate listing.