Most cafés can’t keep oat milk on the shelves—as alternative milk trends evolve, we imagine what’ll be up and coming in the future.
BY JESSE RAUB
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
The debut of oat milk has caused quite the stir in people’s drink preferences, and 2018 was the year that oat milk finally crossed from rising star in the café to fully capturing the cultural zeitgeist. With oats set to crush and trample the current plant-based milk options on the market in 2019, a variety of new challengers could step into the ring with their eyes on the prize belt. In an attempt to fully comprehend the upcoming bloodbath (or milkbath?), we here at Barista Magazine have imagined a list of the new types of plant-based milks that could be hitting the market this year.
Foraged Acorn Milk
One of the reason that oats have captured the hearts of today’s latte drinkers is that oats are a relatively sustainable crop. However, when it comes to environmentally conscious consumption, people should be on the lookout for foraged acorn milk. This beverage is produced solely from acorns that have been gathered from the ground in city parks. Each quart contains no fewer than 142 acorns, which represents the foraging efforts of 23 pickers scouring over 700 acres of parkland in 13 major cities. Not only is it earth-friendly, but acorn milk is a job creator, too! You can find this product on some grocery shelves, but look out! Production is time-consuming so it can be hard to track down, and it usually costs $63 a carton.
While legumes, grains, and nuts dominate the plant-based milk world, a new category has arrived: fruit milks! Ingeniously, a few companies out there have started to take whole apples and press them in industrial equipment to squeeze out all the precious milk they contain. The best part is that apple milk has a great natural sweetness, making it great to pair with your favorite espresso in an apple milk cappuccino with no sugar added! Most other plant-based milk beverages usually contain water, but apples are so rich with their own milk that it’s not hard to find versions that are 100 percent apple milk with no added ingredients.
Well, they’ve gone and done it again! A few newcomers to the alternative milk world have taken the milky white liquid that’s normally used to make cheese and somehow turned it into a milk that tastes delicious in your favorite mocha. While alternative milks can sometimes lack an unctuous mouthfeel and richness, cheese milk is able to capture all those characteristics and more. Some people have a hard time transitioning away from cow’s milk for their favorite coffee drinks because of how much better they think it tastes, but cheese milk should be able to satisfy even the pickiest hot chocolate fanatics. And since cheese milk comes from the pre-cheese liquid, cheese milk frees up field space for farmers to grow other crops while remaining cruelty-free, since cheese isn’t alive and can’t feel anything.
OK, you got us here: This one isn’t plant derived. And while at room temperature lard is a solid, most people don’t know that it melts readily into a clear, delicious cup of hot fat that really balances out the biggest espressos in a cortado. The best part about adding lard to your coffee bar menu is that it improves workflow, since you can’t actually steam it. Keep a pitcher of lard available and ready on a hot plate, and just pour it directly into your preferred cup size with espresso to make the whole spectrum of your favorite hot espresso drinks. And don’t count lard out yet for cold drinks! While it tends to congeal and clump when the thermostat drops, kids often find lard to be a fun alternative to boba tapioca pearls. Just make sure you have a straw wide enough for the chunks!