Although many a Melbourne coffee enthusiast will beg to differ (including Wild Timor directors Tom and Cameron), Australians statistically prefer milky coffees to black.
This, coupled with the rise of vegan diets and a push for more environmentally ethical lifestyles, means we are seeing more diverse coffee menus than we ever have before – baristas are requested orders such as “hazelnut macchiato, 1/2 a sugar”, “soy piccolo, extra foam, extra hot” or even “oat milk chai, and make it dirty.”
All these options can be overwhelming for someone who is wanting to switch up their milk game for the first time. How do you choose between almond, coconut, oat or “Old Faithful” soy? Does brand matter? Is “Almond Breeze” equal to “Milk Lab?”
We checked in with some of the Wild Timor Coffee shop baristas to get their recommendation on a few plant-based milk options.
Lauren Harrison, manager of Wild Timor Coffee Coburg, is a strong advocate of Minor Figures oat milk.
“It’s such an awesome oat milk in terms of flavour – it really doesn’t hinder the taste of the coffee all that much, since sometimes when you do have a coffee with alternative milks it can come with that extra added flavour from it.”
She also recommends Almond Milk Co. as “super delicious, especially with iced drinks, and for an alternative milk it steams quite well!”
Brenny Cheng, barista at Wild Timor Coffee Carlton, recommends Oatly oat milk over soy, as soy milk tends to curdle when combined with the acids from coffee (particularly decaf; I actually tried to make a soy decaf a few weeks back and it turned to some God-awful cheesecake in a cup) – although she pronounces Bonsoy “delicious with matcha.”
Cole Smith has been a Wild Timor barista since 2018, and has a soft spot for Milk Lab almond milk. “It has a silkier texture (than soy.) It also has a certain smell when it’s steamed that I like… I give it a bonus for that.”
This article from Square pulls data from sales of coffee shops that use their POS platform in store, providing interesting insights into Australian coffee consumer habits.
Image sourced from here
“While almond may be the most popular overall, oat milk made the biggest surge year-on-year, increasing in popularity a whopping 500% between 2018 and 2019.”
It’s also worth mentioning that almond milk reportedly takes as much as 6x more water to make than oat, making oat a more environmentally friendly choice.
What’s your favourite alternative milk? Let us know in the comments!