The alternative milk taste test
I love plant milks, not just as an alternative to dairy, but as drinks in their own right.
Plant drinks are made with a nutritious variety of nuts, grains, seeds and even peas and beans (soya), each imparting its own unique flavour. I’ve marked these milks by how delicious they are drunk cold, straight from the glass.
Jord Oat & Barley ?????
This is my favourite plant milk of late. I love that Jord’s range consists of several multigrain options, including oat and barley and oat and hemp. Diversity in our diets equals better personal and planetary health by supporting agrodiversity. Jord is thick and creamy, and has a subtle, sweet, malty flavour.
Plenish Almond ?????
Plenish is made from just three ingredients: almonds, water and salt, and contains no additives such as gums, lecithin or carrageenan, which are often used in similar drinks. It is made from 6% almonds, which means it has a high concentration of nuts compared with its competitors and has a wonderful toasted almond flavour that works really well in white coffee and in baking when you want an almond flavour. Plenish works with small growers and cooperatives to responsibly source organic produce and offset their carbon emissions, making them a good environmental choice too.
Innocent Hazelnut ?????
This drink has an intense and delicious flavour of roasted hazelnuts. It contains a high percentage of hazelnuts and just three other ingredients – rice, spring water and sea salt. I liked this drink so much, somehow I managed to drink the whole bottle during the tasting. Because of its strong flavour it can only be used in drinks or cooking when you want it to taste of hazelnuts. Use this to your advantage to make an insanely yummy hazelnut hot chocolate.
Oatly barista ?????
I’m a fan of oats and now prefer it to cow’s milk, both as a drink and in my coffee. Originally, I chose to drink plant milks for animal welfare and environmental reasons, but now I prefer the taste too. Oatly Barista Edition has a super-creamy texture and froths really well. I like the subtle but rounded oat flavour too.
Rude Health Brown Rice ?????
I loved rice drink as a child and still do now. The rice imparts a surprisingly delicious and sweet rounded flavour. I like to drink it cold straight from the glass, but it also works well in smoothies and baking because of its relatively subtle flavour. It doesn’t work so well in coffee. Rude Health are the only company making a rice drink with wholegrain brown rice. As a wholefood chef I believe in the benefits of a wholefood diet including added flavour.
Alpro Soya ?????
Soya drink is the original “plant-milk”. It has an enjoyable creamy texture, which also means it steams well for coffee and many people love it. However, once frothed I think the flavour becomes too intense. It’s nice and refreshing to drink cold, straight from the carton though, and can be used as a vegan alternative to dairy milk in baking. It’s also worth noting that Alpro only use EU-grown “rainforestfree” soya crops, so no Amazon deforestation.
Tom Hunt is the author of Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet. To order a copy for GBP22.62, go to the Guardian bookshop.