Joanne Gould | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 2 March 2016

From Coconut Milk To Cashew Milk, Which Dairy-Free Milks Are The Least Offensive?

From Coconut Milk To Cashew Milk, Which Dairy-Free Milks Are The Least Offensive?

The Debrief: You can't move for dairy alternatives these days but, how many of them work in cereal, or coffee? We test it out.

Illustration by Jacky Sheridan

You can’t move these days for dairy alternatives. For some reason or another, the world and his wife have decided that cow’s milk is the devil itself and plant based alternatives are the way forward. Whether it’s down to digestive woes, veganism, dairy intolerance or just some nutty diet, more and more of us are giving up the white stuff. Heck, even Starbucks are doing coconut milk lattes now (and, er, they’re pretty nice) so we put our investigative journalism skills to the test to discover if any of these fancy free-from mylks/milks are drinkable or whether they make having a nice cup of tea an utterly miserable ordeal.

1. Alpro Oat Original

No, it’s not strictly a nut milk, but we’re still talking plant based, and this one is definitely worth a punt. This was probably my favourite in tea, as it didn’t alter the taste of the brew at all, and had the right consistency. There’s a porridge aftertaste if you try it on its own, but undetectable in tea. Good in coffee too.

2. Plenish Organic Almond M*lk

There’s a lot of different almond milks out there, with varying degrees of quality. This one is straight up proper raw almonds that have been blitzed up with water and Himalayan pink salt a la Gwynnie, so it tastes a bit more ‘challenging’ than some of the fake sweetened stuff. Essentially, I wouldn’t advise drinking much on its own, but in smoothies, tea, coffee etc. it’s ideal. No weird taste and a perfect non-creamy viscosity.

3. EcoMil Hazelnut

Tasted alone this was delicious. I could definitely neck a glass or two thanks to its comforting praline-y taste. But in tea, quite a different story. It’s too creamy and despite some heavy duty shaking of the carton, the floating lumps (pictured) are off-putting to say the least.

4. Oatly Organic Creamy Oat

This is designed to be an alternative to single cream, and it definitely has that thicker, luxurious richness that you’d be after. However, there is a definite porridgeyness to this, but I wouldn’t say that’s 100% a bad thing. No, you wouldn’t want this in your tea (try the lower fat varieties) but as an alternative to cream in your coffee, this is up there. Worth noting that there’s a stonking 360cals in this little carton though…

5. Alpro Soya

I was vegan for a bit recently, and I know the ins and outs of the Alpro soya range fairly well now as it’s stocked everywhere. There’s always a weird sweetness to soya products, even when unsweetened, and this one was true to form. Tasted on its own, there’s a cloying vanilla flavour that I just can’t get past BUT in tea, it’s undetectable. There’s a bit of a different ‘mouth feel’ to tea with normal milk, like it’s a bit richer and creamier so for me it’s better in coffee. Fine if you really can’t have milk.

6. Rebel Kitchen Coffee Mylk

Come summer, we’ll all be drinking this, mark my words. So long 1000 calorie coffee shop mochatoffeefrappecchinos, this little number is a coconut based chilled drink that is delicious, refreshing and delivers that longed for caffeine hit all in one. Just don’t put it in your tea. See also: Rebel Kitchen’s Banana Mylk for a guilt-free Yazoo alternative.

7. Alpro Coconut

We all know what we’re dealing with here, don’t we? Coconut milks have been the surprise hit of the last few years and show no sign of going anywhere. Celebrities left right and centre are putting them in their nutribullets and now with the Starbucks latte, coconut milks have entered the mainstream. Universally agreed to be very nice in coffee, personally I’d only pop it in my tea if I’m out of actual semi-skimmed. People say you can’t taste the coconut but THEY LIE and tea and coconut are not ideal bedfellows in my book, soz.

8. Homemade Cashew

The main problem with a lot of these milks is that they’re so bloody expensive. One of these genuinely cost me £3.25, so if you’re really set on becoming the next Deliciously Ella then I’d take a leaf out of her book and make your own. Sure, a bag of cashews will cost you about £5, but just a handful blitzed up in a powerful blender along with water will produce about a pint and a half of cashew milk. Which is DELICIOUS by the way. It’s like vegan food porn. Put it in your smoothies, in your coffee and definitely in your matcha tea – but maybe stick to Oat or Almond for your actual tea – it’s too creamy and nutty.

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