If you’re a vegan, or simply opt for plant-based milk when ordering a cup of coffee, you might’ve heard people remark that you’re missing out on the rich creaminess of dairy milk.
But I’m here to say that this statement no longer holds true today, thanks to various plant-based milk brands that have gifted us great alternatives to cow’s milk, such as oat, almond and soy milk.
Oftentimes, plant-based milk tastes more watery and less creamy compared to cow’s milk, largely because of its lower fat content and added water.
Some brands try to recreate the richness of dairy milk with various synthetic chemicals and additives that completely alter the flavour of plant-based milk.
As a part-time barista at a vegan cafe, I’ve tried just about every brand of plant milk available, and believe me when I say that there are some out there that are just downright bad.
So if you’re a coffee and animal lover, or are simply lactose-intolerant, these are the plant-based milk (listed in no particular order) that will make you forget dairy milk even existed.
Bonsoy Organic Soy Milk
Well-loved by baristas, Bonsoy is commonplace in cafes that offer plant-based, dairy-free milk.
The Australian brand has been around since the ’80s and we can see why, with its velvety texture and mild flavour that doesn’t overpower your coffee while tasting great on its own.
Even when steamed, Bonsoy’s soy milk holds well and doesn’t curdle (something a lot of soy milk tends to do).
With no artificial sweeteners or preservatives added, you can be sure that you are getting a quality cup of plant-based milk from Bonsoy. And if soy just isn’t your thing, they’ve also got almond milk that is just as good.
The only downside is that their packaging comes in a traditional paper carton without a resealable cover, so you would have to consume the milk quickly once opened.
Available in major supermarkets and Redmart.
Oatside Oat Milk
Attempting to make cafe-level drinks can be difficult when you don’t have the right equipment, that’s a fact. But the first time I tried Oatside’s oat milk with my Nespresso coffee, it felt like I had just been served a cup of coffee made by an experienced barista.
Malty, creamy and full-bodied – these are just some of the key flavour profiles of this homegrown dairy-free milk brand.
Their secret? Australian oats that, compared to oats from other regions, have a creamier texture. And if you’re wondering, they achieved it without the use of any sort of gums or emulsifiers.
Minor Figures Oat Milk
There’s nothing minor about this plant-based milk brand and their range of vegan milk and beverages. Originating from the UK, Minor Figures actually started with cold brew coffee.
Their three variations of oat milk – Barista Oat, Barista Oat Organic (which has a slight gula melaka flavour) and Barista Oat Light (lower in fat and sugar) – is a top choice for many baristas.
After all, the founders started out in the coffee business and their oat milk recipe was formulated by baristas, with baristas in mind.
The texture of their chilled oat milk is not as viscous compared to the steamed version, but lends itself beautifully to any espresso either way. It has a slight sweetness that helps to balance out the bitterness of coffee, but is also great in teas or on its own.
Another reason to love Minor Figures is their love for the planet through their practices such as being entirely carbon neutral.
UFC Almond Milk
Though I don’t often reach for almond milk out of all the plant-based milks, mostly because it requires the most amount of water to harvest, UFC’s Unsweetened Almond Milk was a pleasant surprise and introduction to almond milk.
Most almond milks that I’ve tried were made up of mostly water with tons of added flavouring, sugar and preservatives, sans calcium.
The UFC Unsweetened Almond Milk is made from calcium-rich Australian almonds, without nasties like colouring and preservatives. No watery plant-based milk here.
UFC Velvet also carries other plant-based milks like Coconut and Oat which are equally tasty.
Available in major supermarkets.
Otis Oat Milk
Though not as well known compared to its oat milk counterparts, Otis Oat Milk can definitely hold its own when it comes to the intensity of flavour.
Hailing from New Zealand, the brand claims that the rich soil, ample rainwater and just enough sunlight provide the ideal environment for harvesting top-notch oats. High praise indeed.
Their mission to lead a plant-based revolution that creates positive change for people and the planet is well illustrated on their packaging.
Funnily, the milk brings forth a slight soy flavour that is quite imperceptible for non-oat milk drinkers.
I’d recommend using Otis for when your espresso is mighty strong or if you’re looking for stronger flavours. Otis Oat Milk is available in three variations: Everyday, Barista and Chocolate.
Available in major supermarkets and online.
Happy Happy Soy Boy Soy Milk
You’ve definitely seen this cotton candy-coloured carton atop counters and shelves at cafes, and for good reason.
Happy Happy Soy Boy is all about making fun plant-based foods for a better planet and future generations.
Happier people means a happier planet, right?
In terms of ingredients, it’s as simple as it can get – water, whole non-GMO soybeans, brown sugar and sea salt. It’s also free from stabilisers and emulsifiers, so no gooey soy milk here.
It may not be as rich in texture or flavour compared to Bonsoy, but it complements coffee beautifully.
So if you don’t vibe with strong dairy-free flavours, this is your guy. Or should we say boy?
Available in major supermarkets and online.
This article was first published in Her World Online.