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A Guide to Alternative Milks

A guide to five of the most popular plant-based milk alternatives, including taste and nutritional information. Alternative milks are often vegan, and gluten and lactose free.

The world of plant-based milks is ever-growing, with new and exciting alternatives to dairy milk appearing on the shelves and in coffee shops in recent years. Those who are choosing a plant-based diet, are lactose intolerant or just prefer the taste of something new are all enjoying the variety and availability of these new milks. However, with so much on offer, it can be easy to start feeling confused and disillusioned by the array of choices. That’s why we’re here with a handy guide to four of the most popular milk alternatives, along with some useful nutritional information, to help you to decide what to try next! Esquires Coffee is proud to serve soy, almond, oat and coconut milk in its coffee shops, and each has its own unique qualities when added to tea or coffee. Ask one of our professional and friendly baristas next time you’re in one of our shops for recommendations and more information.

soy beans and soy milk in a blue bowl

Soy Milk

Starting with perhaps the most well-known variety of alternative milks, soy milk is made from ground-up soybeans, which are then boiled, and the resulting liquid strained. Soy milk is a popular choice in teas and coffees due to its consistency when steamed or added to hot liquid being similar to that of cow’s milk. It’s nutritional benefits also rival that of its dairy alternative. An average serving of soy milk contains almost as much protein as the same quantity of cow’s milk, but nearly half the amount of fat, calories, and carbohydrates. It also contains essential amino acids and is fortified to contain calcium and vitamins, making soy a great choice.

Average Calories per 100ml: 44

Almond Milk

Tasting nutty and sweet, almond milk is made simply from ground almond or almond butter and water. It is available in sweetened and unsweetened versions. While not overly high in protein, almond milk contains natural vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E. The unsweetened version is very low in carbohydrates, which can be beneficial for those who are diabetic or cautious of their blood sugar levels.

Average Calories per 100ml: 30 (13 for unsweetened).

alternative milk and coffee in a jar

Oat Milk

Made from a mixture of oats and water, oat milk has a smooth, creamy texture, especially when steamed to create milky coffees. With its sweet notes, it is also one of the most popular dairy-free choices for milkshakes, cereal and porridge. Oat milk is naturally gluten and lactose-free and, when fortified, is rich in vitamin D, calcium, iron, potassium and fibre.

Average Calories per 100ml: 44

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from the juice and flesh of brown coconuts (the kind used in coffee is different from tinned coconut milk used for cooking!). Versions with no added sugars are the best, and many people love it for its coconut-y flavour. The protein level of coconut milk is low. It does contain, however, added vitamin D and calcium, and is naturally rich in vitamin B12, which is usually found in meat, fish and eggs. Coconut milk, therefore, is an excellent choice for those choosing a plant-based diet.

Average Calories per 100ml: 20

alternative milk being poured into an iced coffee

Alternative Alternatives

What’s in the future for plant-based milk? The industry certainly doesn’t seem to be showing any sign of slowing down. After all, just five years ago, it would have been unusual for a coffee shop to offer more than one milk alternative. Other less mainstream alternative milks such as hemp, flax, pea, rice and cashew are making their voices heard on the market, although it is impossible to tell which one will be the next mainstream choice.

At Esquires Coffee, we have the option of soy, oat, coconut and almond milk. Next time you visit us, why not try something new and find your new favourite? Better still, let us know on Twitter @EsquiresCoffee and use #NeighbourhoodCafe.

If you’re looking for the chance to run your very own business and you think you’ve got what it takes, check out our website for our fantastic Esquires Coffee franchises for sale.

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