Finding The Best Plant-Based Milk For Barista Style Coffee
It’s the year of the Vegan! - and subsequently the rise of non-dairy milk! Covering everything from soya, coconut and oat to hazelnut, and almond milk, the rise of alternative milks in 2019 is unstoppable! There are many reasons people are steering away from traditional milk as we know it, and towards the diary-free hype. Non-dairy milks are plant-based and contain less sugars, more proteins and lots more fibre compared to conventional cow's milk, so it’s deemed the healthier option when it comes down to it.
Given more and more brands are waking up to the increasing demands upon the industry to produce dairy-free milk, it’s no surprise that a plethora of alternative milk options can now be found in your local coffee shop. But which plant-based milk works best with barista style coffee? And can your business make the best vegan latte that actually tastes and will look as good as cow’s milk?
Don’t Let Non-dairy Milk Affect Your Speciality Latte!
Milk and coffee are the perfect match, however, coffee is not so compatible with alternative milks. This can become a challenge for coffee shop owners as different milk alternatives are difficult to foam, which breaks down the traditional freepour artwork that we all know and love. It’s also a challenge to actually make the flavour of non-dairy appealing in specialty coffee, so it’s important you choose the right type of non-dairy milk to complement your coffee.
As a barista, understanding the differences among dairy-free milk options can instantly boost the taste of your vegan lattes, cappuccinos, or flat whites. So to help out any Baristas who are struggling to adapt to the vegan milk change-up, we’ve compiled the top 3 alternative milks that we recommend you stock, as they work well under barista pressure!
1. Soya Milk
Out of all of the diary-free milk alternatives, Soya milk is the closest resemblance taste wise to cow’s milk. It’s easy for less established baristas to use, as although its taste is quite overpowering to customers- it’s still one of the most popular choices when it comes to alternative milk! It foams very fast in comparison to traditional milk, which is tricky when you want to perfect your milk temperature. However, soya and other milk alternatives, can get away with higher temperatures as they are fairly temperature resistant which allows the texture to stay the same. Soya milk replicates cows milk in the way of protein, which is what allows for good microfoaming. The foam is also long lasting due to high levels of protein and stabilizers that can be found within soya.
The Barista verdict
Its behaviour is very similar to cow’s milk so it’s the obvious choice for specialty coffee - that’s if your vegan customers like the taste! Another plus point is that it can produce latte art that’s almost a complete likeness of cow’s milk.
2. Oat Milk
In comparison to diary, Oat milk can actually work even better towards taste as its flavour is very neutral and nutty. From a barista’s point of view, the foam time is much longer than traditional milk - up to almost twice as long. The artwork produced from the milk is still achievable, however, the process needs to be done a little differently to normal milk. As a barista, you will have to pour harder and faster when it comes to using oat milk to produce the desired patterns. In comparison to soya, oat milk has quite little protein in them which causes a problem when producing microfoam.
The Barista verdict
It will take a slight adjustment in the way your Baristas will foam the milk and with the process of latte art, but overall Oat milk will taste great for your vegan customers!
3. Almond Milk
Almond milk, similarly to coconut milk, creates a flavour which tends to be quite overpowering and bittersweet. It has less protein, again in comparison to soya, however, it's replaced with stabilizers which is a microfoam dream for baristas!
The Barista Verdict
It would be good to let your customers know this alternative milk affects the taste- they may enjoy it in coffee! The milk is great to foam, but can't handle the heat in the way that oat milk can. It's easy to use if you can control temperatures well.
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