The milk blog has become something of a Peoples Coffee tradition. Last year we did a little blog featuring milk alternatives (Almond, Hazelnut, Rice & Soy) and how they stacked up when paired with our coffee and before that we smashed out some flat whites with a range of organic and off-the-beaten-track milks in ‘Honour the Cow’.
Turns out you guys have a LOT to say about milk – 12 months on we’re still getting a steady flow of comments, so we thought we’d do a bit of a follow-up and test out some your suggestions!
We set aside a morning in the cupping room and set Robbie, Rene and Jamie the unenviable task of making flat whites with Lactose Free milk, Oat milk, Coconut milk and Goats milk.
First up was Anchor’s Zero Lacto milk which they proclaim to be ‘tummy friendly’. The first thing we noticed was how sweet the milk was. I did a little research and found that ‘removing lactose’ involves altering the chemical make-up of the lactose enzyme, splitting it into two smaller, more easily digestible sugars; glucose and galactose. Those sugars bind to the sweetness receptors on your tongue in a way that lactose does not – therefore a sweeter taste.
The milk was super easy to work with producing perfect microfoam and making latte art a dream. There was a definite reduction in sweetness when added to coffee but it also tasted quite thin, lacking the creamy quality of regular milk.
Our second milky mimic was an Oat milk from the Vitasoy line. We use Vitasoy in our Constable Street cafe and so far as soy milk goes – it’s king, so we were interested to see if this mastery extended to their other products.
The answer was no – at least so far as coffee was concerned. Dubbed unceremoniously by Robbie as ‘Porridge Milk’ the Oat milk was rice-pudding with a slightly sour aftertaste. Once stretched it produced a tonne of foam and made for a very sweet and ultimately disappointing flat white.
Contender numero three was a gorgeously packaged Coconut Drinking Milk from Little Island. Robbie was especially excited about this one – he was chomping at the bit to get a taste and was already planning a line of coconut beverages for our cafes.
It has to be said that the coconut milk was lovely cold. Light, refreshing and not overpowering in sweetness. The milk did not stretch particularly well, separating easily and holding the bulk of it’s sweetness in the foam. Opinions were varied on it’s suitability with coffee – Jamie and Robbie were unimpressed whilst myself and Rene weren’t so critical.
So low scores for coffee potential but Jamie did make a killer coconut hot chocolate with it later in the day.
We saved the most interesting milk for last – a Goats Milk from Living Planet. Goat, in any form, is always a rather dividing flavour, it has a reputation for being strong and distinctive – not exactly the qualities you’re looking for to showcase the subtle flavours of coffee. But ‘why not?’ we thought.
We thought wrong. Whilst I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who swear by goats milk I can tell you that we are not among them. The milk had a very distinctive feta flavour than only intensified with stretching. It was salty and, as Rene so graciously put it; ‘tasted like socks’. Honestly the very thought of that cheesy, gamey flavour is making me dry retch a little.
In it’s defence it stretched OK but nothing will convince me to go back for seconds.
And there you have it. We’d loved to have tried out a recent addition to the milk scene ‘Jersey Milk’ and the vastly popular ‘Cashew Milk’ but alas, there is only so much one can do in a single blog.
We’d love to know what you think – did we get it wrong? Did we miss something out? What milk alternative do you swear by?
– Jesse F
February 23rd, 2016