Oat milk we ♥ you.
Ever since we first met Oatly at Food Loves Tech some years back, we’ve been ordering it in lattes every chance we get.
And while Oatly first made us pay attention to the surprisingly creamy, legitimately tasty milk beverage, a host of other companies have entered the oat milk game. To put the various beverages (as some prefer to call them) to the test, Ariel Lauren Wilson (Lauren) and Bridget Shirvell gathered five of the most readily found oat milks in New York City and headed to Joe Coffee Company Pro Shop where director of training and education Christopher Malarick whipped up oat milk lattes.
Here are the results of our very unscientific oat milk taste test:
Pacific Foods Organic Oat Milk
Pacific Foods was one of the first to make a USDA-certified organic oat milk. Overall, we found the milk resulted in a noticeably sweeter latte with a mild oat flavor that allowed the acidity of the coffee to shine.
- Texture: The texture of this milk was very nice, according to Christopher, resulting in very fine bubbles in the foam.
- Pours well: The milk’s velvety texture poured well into the latte, and it held the heart shape of the foam.
- Organic: Pacific Foods’ oat milk was one of only two USDA organic oat milks we could readily find at the time of writing. While there’s a lot of debate over whether organic food is safer for you, studies show that eating an organic diet reduces exposure to some pesticides, and a 2018 EWG study found the chemical glyphosate in many popular oat-based foods.
- Sugar content: While there was no added sugar, this oat milk had 17 grams of sugar per serving, the most of any we tried, and was very sweet to taste.
Oatly is what you’ll get if you order oat milk at Joe, and going into this taste test, we all wondered if any of the oat milks could deliver as a satisfying a latte as it does. After all, it is the brand that sparked New York’s ongoing oat milk obsession.
- Texture: It’s set the standard other oat milks aspire to. You see the definition in the heart shape of the foam.
- Creaminess: There’s something very decadent and yet not at all sticky about the oat milk latte. It gives the latte a luscious mouthfeel.
- Availability: After initially being hard to find, Oatly, with a new facility in New Jersey, seems to have overcome its supply issues and is now one of the easiest oat milks to find in the city.
- Oat taste: It does leave you with a pretty oat-y and even grainy taste on the finish. Taste is subjective, though, so your choice.
- Ingredients: It has the most complicated list with 11 different ingredients, including additives such as dicalcium phosphate and calcium carbonate.
Planet Oat Oatmilk
Dairy giant HP Hood launched Planet Oat at Amazon Fresh, Shaw’s and other supermarkets in December 2018. The oat milk line includes a chocolate oat milk, a vanilla oat milk, an extra creamery oat milk and their standard, which we stuck to for our taste test.
- Texture: The overall texture was nice, and it poured really well.
- Lets the coffee shine: If you want your espresso front and center, Planet Oat’s oat milk really showed off the coffee’s quality.
- Ingredients: It had one of the lowest fat contents of the oat milks we tried and while fortified with vitamins A, B2, B12 and D2 (not unlike Vitamin D milk), the ingredients were simpler than some of the others we tried.
- Availability: While you can find it via Amazon, it wasn’t available at my local Key Foods.
- Shape retention: This one didn’t hold the overall heart shape as well as RISE (up next), Oatly or Pacific Foods.
RISE Brewing Co.’s Organic Oat Milk
After not finding an oat milk they loved, New York–based RISE Brewing Co. began making their own for their canned cold brews back in 2018. In 2019, they began selling cartons of their USDA organic oat milk, making it one of the, if not the, newest oat milks on the market.
- Texture: There were no visible bubbles, and it looked the most like actual cow’s milk on the pour.
- Simple ingredients: While many oat milks have a long list of ingredients, RISE’s has only four: organic oats, organic sunflower oil, sea salt and purified water.
- Organic: RISE’s oat milk was one of only two USDA organic oat milks we could readily find.
- Overall taste: RISE’s oat milk was our overall favorite for taste. There was almost no hint of oat in the latte (if that’s your thing), and it balanced the acidity of coffee well.
- Availability: At the time of writing, RISE’s oat milk was very new to the market, so it was unclear how easily you’d be able to find it in grocery stores. That being said, it is available for purchase on their website.
Quaker Oat Beverage
We’re happy to see major food brands such as Quaker Oats get in on oats (growing them is nowhere near as environmentally intensive as almonds, for example), but their oat beverage in a latte left much to be desired:
- Availability: Readily available at most major supermarkets.
- Ingredients: The ingredient list was fairly simple and there were no added sugars.
- Overall taste: It watered down the coffee and Christopher said that working with it under the steam wand was like working with homemade oat milk.
- Shape retention: This one didn’t hold the overall heart shape as well as any of the other brands.
This story was originally published in July 2019.