Looking for the best non-dairy milks for lattes? You've come to the right place!
You know the feeling of a cheat day latte…
As coffee lovers, we love to rave about our sophisticated, all black, morning coffee.
But our $5 lattes are for those special “treat yo’ self” days.
In the moment, it’s a satisfying blend of foamy milk, with that touch of bitter espresso, and your favorite pump of flavored sugar that’s just so perfect.
It’s not until after where the regret sinks in, right? That latte gets you later with the sugary, calorie inducing stomachache.
That’s where Non-Dairy Milk comes in.
I used to love my cheat day dairy milk latte with a splash of hazelnut sweetener, but like most people, I did not love the after effect.
Upset stomach and all, I started to venture into the plant-based, non-dairy alternatives for my latte days.
There’s a huge variety of non-dairy milk alternatives that have found their ways into coffee shops everywhere, but which non-dairy milk is the best tasting, and best textured for a great latte?
I’ve tried pretty much every single kind there is …keep reading to find out which is the best!
Soymilk? That’s sooo 2015.
Let’s get with the times, please.
There are so many new milk alternatives for lattes these days. Almond milk, oat milk, pea milk, macadamia, hemp, banana …. The list goes on.
There seems to be a milk for every allergy, diet type,or just experimental latte drinker.
I could give you a break down for every kind of non-dairy milk there is these days, but frankly, neither of us have the time. So, let me break it down for you:
Technically, all the dairy milk alternatives are grouped together as “Plant Based” milk.
Maybe I just like to be rebellious, but I really think there are two categories in that.
To me, there’s the true plant based alternatives, then there’s tree-nut milk alternatives.
I’m grouping them into two categories because to me, there’s a big difference in both their textures and tastes, and the process it takes to make each of type.
Just remember that in both types, and this is extremely difficult, you should try to avoid the additives that most alternative milks have these days.
Watch this short video to learn more about the best vegan milks, according to a dietitian:
Tree Nut Based Milk
Tree-nut based milks are like almond milk, cashew milk, or macadamia. They are soaked in water overnight, sometimes sweetened, then drained.
Milk that doesn't make your stomach upset. It’s literal magic.
You can basically "milk" any tree nut. Almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, whatever. It’s all the same and the textures are all very similar, but the taste is what changes.
Because the base of these milk alternatives are water, most nut-based milk choices are usually pretty watery in texture, which is why most people have started to turn to plant based milk.
Plant Based Milk
Plant based milk, like soymilk, oat milk, or even hemp milk, are thicker milk alternatives that usually have a more distinct flavor.
Here’s where it gets a little complicated and why I like to separate the two categories.
Unlike milk from tree nuts, the process of making plant-based milk alternatives are different depending on the source.
The flavor and the texture changes with the process as well. The process is longer for milk alternatives like oat, soy, or hemp, and has more filtering involved, but the process usually uses less water.
The environmental impact of each type is different, too.
Oat milk and hemp milk are way more eco-friendly than soymilk because of the process and the way the actual plants are grown.
But that’s up for debate.
The environmental impact of each milk alternative is different with each process and company, but all milk alternatives are better for the environment than dairy-milk, so there’s that.
What Makes A Good Milk For Lattes?
So what non-dairy milk is the best for making a good latte? For the most part, it really depends on a person’s latte preference.
Personally, I’ve been really into oak milk because of the thick, ridiculously similar dairy milk texture and flavor it gives lattes, but I’ve met people who can’t stand the after taste and prefer a more subtle almond milk latte, which I’ve outgrown with the hype.
If you're looking for a latte that is similar to a whole milk, dairy latte, you're going to want a non-dairy milk alternative that is as thick and creamy as dairy milk, like oat milk.
The thicker textured alternatives will make frothing easier, giving you a classic, and satisfying, latte taste.
Which Milk Alternative Froths The Best?
Barista Blend Milk
Non-dairy milk is great for latte drinkers who are on plant-based diets, or are just looking to cut some calories, but many of the non-dairy milk alternatives, like almond milk in particular, are often hated by the barista community.
Since most nut milks, like almond milk, macadamia milk, or cashew milk are water based, they usually make espresso taste watered-down. Gross.
The milk splits when met with coffee, so it mutes the flavor and it becomes almost impossible to froth or create pretty latte art with, even for the most experienced baristas.
This is where Barista Blends come into play.
Non-dairy milk companies have now perfected their milks for coffee houses and baristas of every kind.
Now, most of these nut-based, or plant-based milk companies have created a barista blend, sometimes called “Barista Milk”, of their non-dairy products.
These barista blends contain thickening agents like calcium carbonate to the mix, which creates a more structured form of plant based milk.
Now, non-dairy milks have a barista blend option, which makes baristas very happy and us latte art lovers even happier.
We can now have pretty latte art pictures again without the calories or the upset stomachs.
Barista blend milk is honestly a gift, you guys!
Best Non-Dairy Milk For Lattes
Here are 5 great non-dairy milk alternatives that will make your lattes frothy and your latte art aesthetically pleasing again.
Macadamia milk that was made for lattes! This dairy-free alternative creates amazing foamy lattes without overpowering the espresso. You can also add it to your regular drip coffee for a creamer that’s delicious and low on the calories. Milkadamia’s milk making process is holistic and super eco-friendly, making your latte completely guilt free!
The oat milk craze is here and I'm so here for it! I love this brand, and love their Oat Milk Barista Blend. It foams easily and has the same texture as regular dairy milk. The taste is a bit strong for some, but it’s not overpowering over the espresso. It compliments coffee perfectly.
I love this brand. I’ve liked every product that I’ve tried by them, and their environmental impact is one of the smallest that I’ve found. I like this almond milk a lot! It’s a barista blend, so it’s easier to froth than regular almond milk. Because the body is thicker, it doesn’t water-down coffee the way almond milk usually does, but it really is only for coffee. It’s too thick and heavy to use in other things like your morning cereal. But, for coffee, it’s great!
So, I know I said that soymilk is pretty old school when it comes to the dairy alternatives, but I know so many people who still love their soymilk lattes. This soymilk has the best body and consistency for lattes. It makes lattes super foamy, making latte art easy. I’m not a huge fan of soymilk, so for me, the taste is just okay. But still, I do like this brand of soymilk.
Hemp milk! Who would’ve thought that hemp milk could make a great latte? Hemp milk makes smooth and foamy lattes that seem homemade. The milk creates foamy lattes, but can become a little clumpy, so latte art is tricky with this type of milk. The consistency is in between almond milk and oat milk, so it’s a nice texture for most people.
My Top Pick: Califia Farmers Oat Milk Barista Blend
I LOVE oat milk lattes, but I particularly love this brand of oat milk!
It makes lattes a perfect, foamy texture, that creates pretty latte art, and a satisfying taste. Many baristas that I know love this brand of oat milk, and almost all my local coffee shops use it, so yes, it really is that good, guys.
The non-dairy milk craze is here to stay, and I am so here for it.
I can't wait to see what new non-dairy milk fad gets hyped up next.