Lactose-Free Lattes | Part One

 

Finished Lattes Finished lattes with soy, hemp, almond, rice, and dairy milk.

Do you get tired of the same boring latte every morning? Maybe it’s time to rethink what you put in your morning shot of caffeine. In this four-part series, we’ll explore alternatives to standard cow’s milk and show off some vegan and lactose-free options for your next morning mug.

Part One Lactose-Free Milk Left to right: soy, hemp, almond, rice, 2% dairy

We started by comparing conventional 2% milk to almond, hemp, soy, and rice milk.

In this round, hemp and soy tied for the best overall alternative to dairy milk. They definitely had the most potential for latte art, despite our less than pretty attempts. They both also had a long-lasting creamy texture, making them the closest alternatives to dairy milk.

Hemp milk was better than we expected, even with its initial grassy smell. Once steamed, the smell transformed into an earthy undertone that most tasters thought paired well with espresso. When steamed, it created a creamy latte with delectable foam. However, a few tasters found it too bitter, and some complained about its grainy texture.

Soy milk won for the best appearance and potential for latte art. Its foam was thick and creamy, most similar to whole milk. Its downfalls came later…the foam that was once luxurious separated and became a little unappetizing. But don’t worry! As long as you aren’t a slow sipper, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Rice milk might be good for folks who are accustomed to drinking skim milk, or just want a sweeter, more mild flavor. It looked a little more transparent and didn’t create cafe-quality foam. It did better with an automatic steam wand but still didn’t create the consistent creamy foam we were looking for.

Steaming the rice milk using the automatic steam on the Breville Oracle Steaming the rice milk using the automatic steam on the Breville Oracle

Almond milk was probably our least favorite—we found it tasted too strongly of bitter almonds. The foam was much better than rice milk though, and it would certainly be a health-conscious choice with only 30 calories per serving. So, if you love the flavor of almonds, this milk would be worth considering!

Nutrition per 8 ounces Nutrition per 8 ounces

Gellan Gum is an additive to some brands of alternative milks to help them foam and behave more like dairy milk. We have noticed this difference with the rice milk, which did not froth nearly as well as the others.

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