People are increasingly questioning the dairy industry and becoming more open to exploring the ever-growing market of non-dairy milks. The plant-based milk industry is booming—and as a result, there are endless alternatives to cow milk that can leave you not knowing where to start and which to try first. Whether you’ve never strayed from dairy, are stuck in a rut with almond or soy, or just tired of trying to make sense of it all, here are three different non-dairy milks that are worth trying at least once.
Oat milk was initially a big hit in Europe before it eventually made its way to New York and Chicago around 2016. For a while, it was only ever available to baristas in selected cafés. Coffee fanatics quickly realized that oat milk is their preferred choice of plant-based milk because it froths like no other. Unlike some almond and soy milks, oat milk is unique in that it doesn’t overpower the taste of coffee. It’s creamy without being sweet, and it pairs well with any coffee roast, cereal, or even in baking. Some argue that it’s also one of the more sustainable vegan milk options, almonds needing six times as much water as oats do. Oat milk’s reputation quickly preceded itself and the dairy-free alternative suddenly blew up and ran out everywhere. The high demand for oat milk resulted in brands such as Pacific and SoFresh to quickly adapt and make it as readily available in grocery stores as almond and soy milks are. Despite the convenient grocery store oat milks, I strongly recommend one brand in particular called “Minor Figures.” They’re based out of the UK and Australia, but you can pick up a jug at a few coffee shops here in Montreal, like at the the downtown Myriade, Café Origine or Pikolo.
This non-dairy milk might not always work in the place of real milk, but it could be worth incorporating into your diet over dairy simply because of its surprising health benefits. Pea milk is made differently than almond milk is; yellow peas are harvested and then milled into flour. While one cup of 2% milk contains 239mg of calcium, a glass of Ripple’s pea milk contains 450mg of calcium, and offers 8g of plant-based protein. Pea milk also has more iron than regular milk, and is said to be great source of Vitamin D. Ripple, the main pea milk company, urges their consumers to choose their milk as a way to reduce their carbon footprint, claiming that “growing almonds requires 100 times as much water per ton of crops as dry peas” and that “dairy milk requires 25 times more water per litre of milk than Ripple.” Their original flavour can taste a little earthy at first sip compared to other nut milks, but when you mix it into coffee, it actually tastes surprisingly great. They also have a chocolate flavour that tastes nearly identical to actual chocolate milk! You can find Ripple pea milk here in Montreal at Rachelle-Bery.
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
I really struggled with the idea of giving up dairy when I realized it meant I’d also have to give up that swig of milk or cream in my black coffee. Oat milk almost always does the trick for me, but sometimes I’d still miss having something a little heavier and thicker in my coffee, a taste I thought only real milk and cream could offer. Luckily, I found that there’s countless non-dairy milk brands that set out to mimic actual cream! I love Silk’s Coconut Vanilla Creamer for when I feel like a little kick of sweetener or a touch of something a bit heavier to my filter coffee. If you feel like switching up that touch of cream in your black coffee, brands like SoDelicious, Califa Farms, Ripple and countless others all offer tons of different dairy-free creamers.