Vegan. Plant-based. Animal-product-free. However you describe it, veganism is on the rise and rise. From fringe movement to mainstream life choice, the vegan diet has left its tree-hugging past behind and taken the world by storm.
A host of vegan-friendly foods are now in shops and on menus everywhere, so for dieters there’s no longer any need to miss out on a burger or always take your coffee black. But as World Vegan Month approaches, which of the many dairy-free milks should you choose for your favourite drink? Yes, there is a difference and yes, it matters.
Celebrities including F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, actor Benedict Cumberbatch and singer Ariana Grande have all now adopted a plant-based diet - joining veteran vegan of 30 years, Woody Harrelson. Their famous faces have raised the profile of veganism and helped dispel the image of the pale, sad and malnourished dieter. We for one don’t fancy telling Lewis he’s weak and needs a steak.
A-list influence aside, with reasons including reducing carbon emissions, helping health and taking a stand against animal cruelty, there are currently over 600,000 vegans in the UK. That’s a lot of coffee drinkers in need.
If you’re a vegan or thinking of becoming one, we want to help you get the most from your favourite drink. And if you’re a fully paid-up carnivore, you never know when you’ll need to please a friendly plant-eater. So what are the dairy-free milk options and which work best?
Firstly, soya milk. Soya has a relatively good consistency with a slightly nutty flavour. Added to blends that pair well with nuts, this is a pretty good all-round dairy replacement. The downside to soya milk is that it tends to split when added to hot drinks, which doesn’t look very pretty. On a more positive note, with preservatives added it froths well for latte lovers.
Next up, rice milk. Sadly this isn’t brilliant when it comes to coffee. It tastes pretty neutral and won’t overpower your blend, but tends to be watery – so no creamy texture and definitely no froth.
Thirdly – almond milk. Like rice, this can be very watery and like soya, it can split. For nut fans it has a strong taste, but this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Or coffee. It can be frothed, but beware of splitting or you could end up with good foam on top and a watery drink underneath. A better choice in our view is cashew milk - more creamy, less nutty.
On to coconut, the Marmite milk. Some love the tropical flavour it adds, others run a mile. Nicely creamy, it has a good texture and can froth.
Finally, oat milk. Oat has a smooth feel with a pleasantly sweet taste and a flavour that works well with coffee. Naturally low in fat and high in fibre, it’s a healthy choice as well as a good one. The milk can be a little thin so if you want the ultimate experience go with a special version like Oatly Barista or Minor Figures Oat M*lk. Yum.
Whatever option you choose, pair it with a quality blend and enjoy World Vegan Month this November feeling dairy-free and caffeine-full.