If you want to build a name for your new non-dairy milk product, you need to impress a barista. If a plant-based milk won’t work in coffee, then chances are it’s not going to fly anywhere.
So that’s exactly what Swedish company Oatly did—instead of trying to convince large grocery stores to carry the milk alternative, they reached out to coffee shops with their Oatly’s Barista Edition, an oat milk equivalent to whole milk. And baristas got behind the product in a big way.
“It doesn’t work against the taste of coffee,” said Montgomery. “It’s a lot easier to work with on its own and it needs less extra care; it’s also more accessible to different schools of coffee making.”
After just one sip, I completely agree. The Oatly oat milk in my latte has a pleasantly real taste—yes, it’s oat-y, but in the best way possible. There’s no artificial aftertaste and the texture is smooth and creamy, but not weirdly thick like some plant milks. The texture also stays the same all the way through the drink; my last sip tastes exactly the same as the first one.
Dairy-free milks are nothing new, in coffee shops or in grocery stores. Lactose-free products and nut milks have rapidly grown in popularity over the last decade. Soy milk and almond milk are among the most well-known plant milks, but because each has their unique issues, consumers are looking for a different kind of alternative to dairy.
Adding soy to your diet can by healthy, but researchers believe there is such a thing as too much soy.
Almonds are notorious for their high impact on the environment. One almond requires about a gallon of water to grow, and given that drought-ridden California is one of the biggest almond-growing states, almond milk isn’t an environmentally friendly choice right now.
Plus, if you’re allergic to either soy or nuts (or both), chances are you’re stuck if you don’t want to add cow’s milk to your morning coffee.
Oat milk is not a new thing, even in the U.S. But the only way to get it before now was either homemade oat milk or buying it from a company that made it via the same process as other dairy-free milks, which includes using artificial thickeners and preservatives like xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate.
Oat milk is made simply by soaking raw oats in water. Oatly uses a unique patented process that removes the oat bran (or the outer shells) but retains the nutritious oat fibers as the base for their oat milk.
The nutritional content of this oat milk is impressive: Oatly’s version has been enriched with vitamins B12, riboflavin, D2, and A. What hasn’t been added is sugar. They also make it from gluten-free oats, so the milk is naturally gluten free.
You can use oat milk in different recipe types, exactly like you would any dairy product, including in baked goods. I suggest using the chocolate oat milk with steel cut oats for your bowl of breakfast goodness, and my barista adds that she uses the oat milk at home to make brownies, which sounds like a good plan. To check out Oatly products, head on over to Amazon.