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Article: The New White Gold—Alternative M*lk

The New White Gold—Alternative M*lk

The New White Gold—Alternative M*lk

Some people are allergic to cow’s milk, some don’t use it for environmental or moral reasons and some just don’t like the taste. No matter the reason, the fact is, more and more people are picking plant m*lks off the shelves, and these rates are set to keep on climbing.

A study has found that, due to the history and geography of dairy consumption, around 68% of the world’s population are lactose intolerant, and many ethnic groups don’t possess the enzyme lactase as they haven’t had a history of cultivating cows. Promoting dairy as a healthy option is not realistic for everyone, and for the sake of equality we have a responsibility to find the best options for all dietary requirements.

It’s just your luck, then, that team Coaltown love trying new things; with so many alternative m*lks coming onto the market in recent years and this Veganuary alone, we’re absolutely spoiled for choice and it’s hard to know where to start. We carefully narrowed down our selection based on reputation, ethics, sustainability and ingredients, and settled on 7 different types and brands of alternative m*lk.

After consulting all of our baristas and coffee connoisseurs, we settled on a series of tests to decide which m*lk comes out on top. So, we will be judging each m*lk based on two tests. The first test will be without coffee, rating their aroma, initial taste, texture and aftertaste.

The second test will be measuring how they pair with coffee; using a freshly conditioned Mythos 1 grinder and a Linea PB ABR, one of our seasoned baristas will be making two coffees with each m*lk and we will be rating them on how easy they are to texture and pour, the latte art visuals, the initial taste, the texture and the aftertaste. This will be the first time our barista is working with any of these m*lks, and he’ll be using our Candle Light blend.

Almost all of the alternative m*lks we’re testing were purchased from The Vegan Kind Supermarket, and the prices we’ve put as a guide in this article reflect how much they cost on their website. We were kindly sent some MOMA Barista Oat m*lk to try by MOMA after they saw we were writing this article, and their listed price reflects how much it costs in Sainsbury’s.

Sproud Barista – £2.09/1L

Sproud are a Swedish company that have been around since 2018, creating alternative m*lk from yellow split peas. Split peas are allergen and gluten free and are a sustainable option as they require 10% less water to grow than almond mi*k and less land than oat.

Nutritionally, Sproud Barista m*lk contains 2g of protein per 100ml and is fortified with Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Calcium. Sproud’s products are the first alternative m*lk products to have officially been certified low sugar by SugarWise.

Cold & Without Coffee

Our first impressions of Sproud on its own were that it tasted a lot like UHT milk, but very bitter. It had a strong smell of glue and tasted of raw broad beans with a chemical aftertaste and notes of bad nuts. On its own, we all agreed that Sproud Barista was very unpleasant, even considering its creamy texture.

Hot & With Coffee

When our barista started texturing the m*lk, he found that it behaved very similarly to cow’s milk and that the consistency and microfoam size was almost identical.

It poured beautifully and created some lovely latte art, but with its rocky beginnings, would it stand the taste test?

We were all pea-santly surprised to say that Sproud in coffee was absolutely delicious. That bitter aftertaste had completely disappeared, and although there was a tang initially, that quickly subsided and left us all to enjoy a smooth, neutral cup of coffee.

All of these factors considered, we rate Sproud Barista 7.5/10.

Koko Original – £1.79/1L

Coconut m*lk is the product of water and grated coconut flesh, and has in some form been around for about 5,000 years, including as a staple of many cuisines. It can vary in thickness and texture for different applications, and when used as a milk replacement it is often thinner in texture than when it is used in cooking, and is often combined with other ingredients and fortified.

Koko have been around since 2010, and were the first UK company to make a coconut-based m*lk alternative. They’re focussed on sustainability and recognise the versatility of coconuts as you can eat the flesh, drink the water and use the wood, shells and husks for a number of practical applications.

Nutritionally, per 100ml, Koko original contains 0.2g of protein and is fortified with calcium, vitamin D2 and vitamin B12.

Cold & Without Coffee

On its own, Koko was really yummy. It wasn’t very sweet and tasted natural and mild, like how a coconut smells when you open it.

Its texture was thin, watery and light and left an almost grainy feeling in your mouth. The taste was consistent throughout with no unpleasant aftertaste.

Hot & With Coffee

When it came to pairing Koko with coffee, our barista had a hard time texturing and pouring the m*lk. It was just too watery and, when poured, it immediately lost the little definition it had gained from foaming.

The taste of the m*lk also didn’t complement the coffee, and it ended up tasting a bit like having a mouth full of coconut oil and then a sip of coffee. The overall experience was like drinking coconut water with foam on top, as there was no microfoam. However, we think it would be absolutely delicious in hot chocolate.

Overall, we’ve decided to rate Koko Original 5.5/10.

Good Hemp Barista Seed M*lk – £2.40/1L

Hemp seed m*lk is an alternative m*lk made from hemp seeds and water. Hemp is one of the oldest cultivated crops on the planet, and it has over 30,000 known uses including in food, hair and skin care, fabric, building materials and biofuel. It is a sustainable crop as it’s a really fast-growing plant with a good yield, and hemp plants breathe in 4x the amount of Carbon Dioxide as trees.

Good Hemp are a Devon-based company that have been producing hemp seed m*lk since 2018. We decided to try their Barista Seed M*lk, which is gluten and nut-free and naturally contains omegas 3 and 6. Per 100ml, this m*lk contains 0.3g protein.

Cold & Without Coffee

Before we tasted this m*lk, the first thing we noticed was an earthy, grassy aroma. It didn’t taste as strong as it smelled, and the texture was thick and creamy. Alongside tasting a bit like sweetened double cream, we noticed an oily CBD-oil type taste. It was equal parts pleasant and unpleasant but had no overwhelming aftertaste.

Hot & With Coffee

Our barista found that this m*lk was hard to texture, and as soon as he had finished steaming it, it lost the little texture it had gained and became very thin and watery. The m*lk was not hard to pour with and created some nice latte art, but it broke down quickly.

Taste-wise, the hemp seed m*lk did, unfortunately, add too much of an earthy, bitter taste to the coffee.

We’re going to give the Good Hemp Barista Seed M*lk a rating of 5/10.

Bonsoy Soy Milk – £3.65/1L

Soy m*lk is the oldest m*lk alternative recorded and, for many years, it was one of the most popular. The earliest record of soy m*lk was found on a stone slab of the Eastern Han dynasty unearthed in China, and it has been commonly consumed since around 1365 in the form of a ‘doufujiang’, a kind of broth made from fresh soybeans.

Bonsoy is an Australian company that have been around since 1983, and were the first modern Japanese soy m*lk company in Australia. Bonsoy soy m*lk contains 4.1g of protein per 100ml, has no artificial sweeteners, and is a source of potassium and calcium.

Cold & Without Coffee

On its own, bonsoy was one of the favourites of all of the m*lks. We all agreed it had a savoury, wholesome, nutty taste and a similar consistency to cow’s milk, if on the thinner side.

Hot & With Coffee

Our barista found that Bonsoy textured really well, but he struggled to pour it and couldn’t create latte art. The foam sat really thickly on top of the m*lk and didn’t look great, but it somehow combined with the m*lk when we took a sip.

It tasted really lovely and only added a mild soy flavour, and, despite our first impressions, we actually really enjoyed this cup of coffee. Although it didn’t look good, we all thought it would make for a great takeaway coffee with a lid.

Overall, we all agreed that Bonsoy Soy M*lk should get a rating of 7/10.

Rebel Kitchen Barista Mylk – £2.59/1L

Rebel Kitchen, founded in the UK, are a certified B Corporation, and have been making dairy-free products with a focus on health and sustainability since 2014.

They partnered with coffee expert James Hoffman to create a unique blend for their Barista Mylk, combining oats, coconut, sunflower oil and sunflower seed extract. All of the ingredients in Rebel Kitchen’s Barista Mylk are organic, and it contains 0.5g protein per 100ml.

Cold & Without Coffee

On its own, this was another of the fan favourites. It was similar in taste and consistency to cow’s milk and was thick and creamy with a subtle oaty, sweet, malted taste. The sweetness subsided a bit and left us all with a more coconutty aftertaste, reminiscent of an oat coconut biscuit.

Hot & With Coffee

When it came to combining it with coffee, our barista had an easy time. It textured well and poured nicely and easily, creating some nice latte art.

It had the most complicated taste profile of all of the m*lks and we found that the coffee brought out the coconut taste at first, but it subsided and gave way to an oaty, slightly medicinal taste. The overall experience was not very neutral but we thought it tasted very nice.

We thought the Rebel Kitchen Barista Mylk was deserving of a rating of 7.5/10.

Plenish Organic Almond – £2.99/1L

Almond m*lk has been around for centuries, going back as far as the 12th century where it was found mentioned in the Codex Salernitana. Since then it has appeared in many cookbooks, including ones from medieval England.

Plenish are a certified B Corporation, specialising in making alternative m*lks with just three organic, sustainably sourced ingredients each. Their almond m*lk contains 1.3g of protein per 100ml and is made up of only almonds, water and sea salt.

Cold & Without Coffee

Our first impressions of Plenish were that it didn’t smell or taste like much at all. The notes we did get were of cereal, sawdust, unsalted crisps and almond husk, and we all agreed that it tasted very natural and just like eating a handful of almonds.

The texture was watery and thin, and overall it was a lot more like drinking water than milk.

Hot & With Coffee

Considering the texture was so thin and watery, we didn’t have high hopes for Plenish’s ability to be textured or to create good latte art. Our barista said it was very difficult to texture and that it did so thinly and, as soon as he started to pour it, it curdled in the m*lk. It was near impossible to pour latte art with and created a thick, scummy foam that sat on top of what resembled watery almond coffee.

The taste was very acidic and unpleasant, and along with the texture, we found this coffee hard to drink so would not recommend pairing it with hot coffee. However, we think it would be delicious in a smoothie or pair nicely with iced coffee.

On balance, we all agreed to rate Plenish Organic Almond 4/10.

MOMA Oat Barista Edition – £1.80/1L

Oat m*lk has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years; according to research by Mintel, sales nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020, overtaking almond m*lk as the most popular alternative m*lk in the UK.

In the 1980s, Oatly’s founder Rickard Öste was doing a study on lactose intolerance and sustainable food systems when he invented oat m*lk, using enzymes to liquify raw oat kernels. People soon realised this was a great replacement for cow's milk in taste and texture, and manufacturers and people at home jumped on making their own oat m*lk.

MOMA are a London-based company with a focus on sustainability, producing a number of oat products from instant porridge sachets to oat m*lk. Their barista oat drink was created to work with coffee, and it is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, B2 and B12 and contains 1g of protein per 100ml.

Cold & Without Coffee

On its own, MOMA’s barista oat drink has a distinct but delicious, wholesome taste, comparable to the smell of a bag of raw porridge oats. There was no unexpected taste or aftertaste except for being slightly nutty.

Texture-wise, it is thicker and creamier than most cow’s milk and really coats the mouth.

Hot & With coffee

Our barista said that, out of all of the m*lks we tested, MOMA was the easiest to texture and pour with. The latte art looked lovely and the microfoam was thick and creamy and didn’t break down.

We found the taste to be very similar to what we found while testing it without coffee; it wasn’t neutral, but we all loved the flavour it added.

Overall, we were really impressed and are going to rate MOMA Oat Barista Edition 8/10.



One thing we learned from this experiment is that not all alternative m*lks are created equal. It’s exciting to know that there is so much choice available and that you could have a fridge full of alternative m*lks for different purposes, like almond m*lk for smoothies, soy m*lk for tea and coconut m*lk for hot chocolate.

Although Sproud Barista made for the best, most neutral cup of coffee, the way it tasted on its own makes us hesitant as it might not pair so well with a differently processed coffee, or one with very different notes to Candle Light.

So, all things considered, MOMA Oat Barista Edition takes the Coaltown crown. We all agreed it was the best oat m*lk we’d tried, and we liked it so much we’ve decided to start stocking it in our Espresso Bar.

What would you like to see us try next?

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