Two years ago I was a cow’s milk lover who was adamant I could never give it up. Fast forward to now: I’m obsessed with oat milk and I only drink cow’s milk if I’m offered a cuppa. Moving to plant-based milks is a trial and error process – you have to find the one that suits you and, since there are so many, this can be pretty difficult.
My main motivation for drinking plant-based milk was the environmental impact of mass produced cow’s milk. All plant-based milks are better for the environment, whether that be in terms of their greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, land use or impact on wildlife. However, they’re not perfect and each have their drawbacks. I’m being a bit lazy and linking some info about the issues of animal agriculture here, the rise in interest in plant-based milks here, and the issues associated with different plant-based milks here.
Once upon a time, a milk alternative meant soya and nothing else. Now, in 2020, the options are endless: almond, rice, oat, hazelnut, pea, coconut, hemp, cashew and flax. I’m not well versed in the world of plant-based milks because I haven’t tried them all, and for that reason I’m not going to try and talk about them all.
My encounter with soya milk was brief, so brief that I never actually bought any for myself. I know some people really love soya milk and there’s probably good reason for this. For me, it wasn’t milk-like enough and I didn’t get along with the taste.
Again, almond milk was only in my life for a short period of time. I’m not a fan of almonds anyway, which probably explains why I didn’t like the taste. As a milk, it’s pretty thin which just doesn’t emulate cow’s milk enough for me to want to drink it. In terms of the environmental impact, almond milk isn’t the most environmentally conscious choice – this is explained in the article I linked earlier.
Hazelnut milk was my first love. It was my go to during my second year of uni, although I’d say it’s important you like hazelnuts, which I do. In a cuppa it adds a nutty taste and I found it worked so well in porridge and cereal. The only downfall was, once again, it was too watery and thin.
The Holy Grail: Oat
I’m going to have to practise some self-control here because I’m obsessed with oat milk and could talk about it all day. After getting used to the taste, I love it, but finding the right kind took a bit of time. I started drinking Oatly’s original oat milk, but it tended to separate in a cuppa (not ideal). After a bit of a look around, I found out Oatly make a whole version and a barista version – both are thicker and creamier than their original. I opted for their barista edition since it was guaranteed to work in hot drinks, and wow! I can’t get enough! Any previous cow’s milk cravings are satisfied and it works exactly how I need it to: I can put it in a cuppa, drink it alone and use it to thicken my breakfast smoothies. Oat milk is the alternative I would recommend to everyone – especially Oatly’s barista edition.
The world of plant-based milks also offers chocolate milks and, personally, I’d say the Alpro and Oatly versions are the best available. In a previous post I mentioned maybe writing a DIY oat milk recipe, but I’ve ditched this idea (for now anyway). Two months of my oat milk experience consisted of drinking my own homemade milk, which was cheaper and avoided the Tetra Pak cartons (opting to DIY helped to reduce waste, but it still wasn’t completely zero waste). I stopped making it for two reasons: firstly, I couldn’t get it quite right and frequently ended up with slimey milk; and second, making your own milk is time consuming and it doesn’t fit into my life right now. When I have the time, I intend to experiment a little bit to try and get my recipe and method right. Until then I’m sticking with Oatly. And so, the overriding message of this post is go give Oatly barista edition a try because it’s a serious game changer.