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Oat Milk Could Change the Way You Drink Coffee (2018) (time.com)
54 points by indigodaddy 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

I've become a particular fan of oat milk over the past couple of years. It's one of the more difficult milk substitutes to find in at restaurants the UK (coffee places usually fair better), almond and soy are relatively common. There are varieties that also froth up really well that barristas now use.

I'm a particular fan of the price point. Being from the UK I can assume that any almond milk I drink would be made from almonds from another country, it's same with the coconut oil I use for cooking. So I am willing to accept some price inflation in order to remove dairy. But oat milk tastes much nicer and would probably get whittled down to a generic price point that beats any other milk substitute because it can be grown locally (almost anywhere in fact) and cheaply.

I don't think its locality that makes oat milk cheap. Oats are cheap. Nuts tend to be expensive, even domestically grown ones.

Oats you can plant and harvest in a season, entirely mechanically. An almond tree, you have to wait years before it starts producing, a few more years to hit peak production, and harvesting isn't nearly so automated.

What motivates you to eliminate dairy?

Not OP, the reasons for eliminating diary are so many - cholesterol, hormones( most notably estrogen), IGF1 which is cancer promoting, antibiotics, casein morphine( which makes milk products addicting), the dairy industry is extremely cruel and the huge environmental impact due to all the resources needed to bring up a cow

I find this list highly amusing. You’ve listed quite a few barely-supported-by-evidence reasons, but you’ve missed the two big reasons that are big deals to a lot of people: lactose intolerance and allergy.

Most adults worldwide are lactose intolerant, although symptoms and the amount of lactose needed to trigger symptoms vary. And allergies to milk aren’t particularly rare.

In Scandinavia, most cafes seem to offer lactose-free milk, which is a great option for lactose-intolerant people. It’s also amusing, since Scandinavia has the lowest incidence of lactose intolerance anywhere. For milk allergies, oat milk is obviously a better choice.

FWIW, I think that foods like ice cream should always use lactose-free or at least lactose-reduced milk. It’s nutritionally identical but sweeter, so ice cream and such can be made with less sugar.

I didn't say your claims were wrong. I said that they were poorly supported and that you ignore the two much larger reasons that large numbers of people avoid dairy.

As an example of the lack of support:

> igf1 and cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15562834/

I read the abstract. It suggests that circulating levels of IGF-1 may be related to cancer. It does not say that drinking IGF-1 is related to cancer or that milk contains absorbable IGF-1. In fact, I found one study that determined that IGF-1 in milk is broken down during digestion and that mechanism by which various dairy products might impact blood IGF-1 levels are unknown.

So I maintain my claim that all the reasons you listed are poorly supported. In contrast, the fact that most people do not have the lactase persistence trait and end up lactose intolerant as adults is very well supported indeed. Similarly, I know people who have done genuine lab tests and determined that they have bona fide IgE-mediated milk allergies. Apparently some people also have non-IgE-mediated immune reactions to milk. Of all of these, among adults, lactose intolerance is far and away the most common issue with dairy products.


> the industry and how cruel it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcN7SGGoCNI

If you want to drink milk or eat cheese that is cruelty-free, there are quite a few purveyors in Northern California that have cows that are very happy indeed. If you ever want to feel jealous of a cow's living conditions, just drive near any of the dairies in Point Reyes. Some of them offer tours, and others will let you just drop by and say hi to the cows. I'm sure there are plenty of places like this outside Northern CA, too. Obviously, you'll pay a bit more for this milk, although, the cheese doesn't seem to carry much, if any premium. I suspect the latter is related to the reduced costs of being a Class B dairy that produces cheese in house.

If you want to drink milk or cheese that is cruelty-free, you drink a plant based milk and eat plant based cheeses.

Just because there are a couple of cows that might look like they are living the dream cow life (for 4 years out of 20, because they don't produce enough milk to be economically viable and kept alive after that) and still the calves have to murdered early on to get all that milk (it is originally made for calve consumption, not people).

IGF1 and cancer:






I think you're missing the most common reason. Up to 65% of the global population is lactose intolerant to a degree.


As a counterpoint that's not uniformly distributed globally, the incidence is much lower in Northern Europe including UK where OP is from.

As a counter-counterpoint, you assume OP's ethnicity is Northern European just because he lives in the UK.

That might be the most common reason globally, but not necessarily in the UK where only 5% are intolerant. Many of those can tolerate small amounts such as you'd put in tea/coffee.

Lactose-free dairy products are readily available.

Ditto. Plus I like variety.

Right now, I'm digging coffee w/ coconut cream & turmeric.

Yerba mate w/ soy milk somehow works great.

I was hooked on London Fog's for a while, earl grey tea w/ foamed milk.


For men over 45, there is a correlation between milk and BPH (enlarged prostate and difficulty in urination). Farmers inject hormones (and other things), and the animal produces its own. All of these excrete into the milk causing irritation to the prostate and the resulting enlargement causes difficulty in urination. Same problem with whey protein powders and cheese. BUT! If the item is cooked, then there does not seem to be an effect. [1]

[1] http://vqrn.com/Prostate-Milk-Problem.html

I realised I was slightly sensitive to lactose although I can digest some without any issues

Oat milk is by far the best "alternative" milk I've tried for coffee - I find it really adds something different that cow's milk doesn't.

Recently tried making my own and it's a really nice process to go through (to the extent am looking at small scale manufacture).

If you can, definitely try it in a flat white back to back with cow's milk.

> Recently tried making my own and it's a really nice process ...

Interesting. Could you elaborate?

Sure, it's essentially just soaking and blending:

1) soak the oats for as long as you like (I do overnight, but can be as little as 30 mins)

2) Pass through a sieve, removing the sitting liquid.

3) Add to a blender with some fresh water and pulse (the amount of fresh water depends on how thick you want it to be afterwards). You can also add cocoa powder here if you want oaty/chocolatey milk.

4) Pass the liquor through a nut milk bag (or muslin etc...) to get the milk.

It separates quite easily so you do need to shake before use, but should be easily achievable with household items.

Thank you.

(Not OP) Oatly's process is patented, so you can look up what they do. That places some restrictions on using it in the same markets, of course. I think it's this one:


If you can get the right enzymes, you could get the same breakdown. It looks like a sort of oat autolyse, to borrow a baking term.

Thank you. I certainly don't plan to manufacture and sell it, just curious.

This is really just an ad for Oatly, right? There are other brands in the US market (at least), and I've seen a few different options on the shelves of my local food co-op for at least a few years....

They really aren't the same as Oatly. My family changed over to Oatly from cows because of the taste.

All other brands I have tasted are bad or at least worse than milk.

Oatly is in completely different category. It's actually tastes good.

I stopped drinking regular milk actively more than a year ago. At work we have soy milk which is good enough, but Oatly is definitely the gold standard milk replacmenet for me. Unfortunately I am finding that in Edinburgh cafés and other establishments are struggling to find suppliers that supply Oatly. This has resulted in a lot of places using other brands of oat milk which are universally terrible, so now asking for oat milk in your coffee is a gamble. As I understand it Oatly's methods are patented. Upon finding this out I even tried to buy shares in Oatly, but unfortunately they aren't publically traded.

Many people, including me, think that Oatly's iKaffe tastes better with coffee than milk.

You can see that in the local market here in Finland. Large number of oat and soy milks next to each other, many brands stay fully stacked (they taste bad) but Oatly's iKaffe is always almost out or out.

People have started to buy more of it when it is available, so it vanishes from the shelves even faster.

Oatly actually ran out in London around Christmastime last year. Other oat milks aren't very nice - Minor Figures do great canned mocha drinks for example, but their oat milk makes a poor flat white.

Here's a comparison of nutritional value, from Livestrong[1]

"Let's take Oatly Oat Drink Whole. One cup has:

    120 calories
    5 grams of fat
    3 grams of protein
    14 grams of carbohydrate
    2 grams of fiber
It also provides 25 percent of the RDA of calcium, 18 percent of the RDA of vitamin D and 11 percent of the RDA of potassium.

The same amount of cow's milk with 3.5 percent fat contains:

    146 calories
    11 grams of carbohydrate
    8 grams of protein
    8 grams of fat
It boasts 25 percent of the RDA of calcium, 5 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and 1 percent of the RDA of iron. Unlike oat milk, it has no fiber at all."


It might not have fiber, but on the other hand it has far more protein.

Oatly is brilliant to make cappuccinos with: the foam is very stable and tastes great, unlike many other milk substitutes in my opinion.

But unfortunately it clogs the cappuccinatore of our Jura coffee machine after a few cups...

I hated almond milk and recently got into oat milk. I've tried several and they're very different.

I thought quaker would have the best but it was the worst. Planet oat was the best. Silk was ok. Haven't tried oatly yet.

I still drink regular milk usually and love soy milk.

Oatly barrister edition is tangibly better than oatly normal


[NB Although I love the idea of a barrister edition - presumably five times the price and comes with a wig?]

haha I butchered that sorry. Yeah - pricing...I've seen it as near same and at double the normal price

It has more fat/oil in to help with frothing, I think that's the only difference. Also barista != barrister, those are two quite different jobs!

Would that be iKaffe vs havremjölk? Because my god iKaffe is so perfect for coffe that I don’t even consider them to belong to the same product category!

Try the new Havredryck Deluxe for coffee instead of iKaffe! Despite the name it's even better, IMO

OMG, I hadn't even noticed Deluxe since the packaging is so similar to the regular ones, will definitely give it a try!

Possibly. I know oatly is sold under a different name too

What I've found is that milk-alternatives (and actually, even regular milk often times) are extremely varied. One brand of almond milk can taste completely different to another.

The best personal example of this is I hate virtually all versions of soy milk, except for Bonsoy (plentiful in Australian cafes/supermarkets, unfortunately difficult to find in the US).

That's why I don't really believe someone when they say "I hate soy|almond|whatever milk".

Having lived with some vegans, I have tried at least 3 dozen 'milks' and I must say, most are revolting. Some are decent, but seem to be priced accordingly. Personally, anything less than 3% fat, pasture sustained cow juice is an affront to man and nature alike. But everyones tastes vary. Accept that others are different, and thats ok. We arent just being bastards to spite you.

Pea protein milk (like Ripple or the stuff from Bolthouse) is way better than oat milk. It tastes just like almond or coconut milk, but has a way, way better nutrition profile.

Nutrient info for one 8 oz serving of unsweetened original:

- 8g plant-based protein per serving

- Zero sugar

- 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk

- 32mg DHA Omega-3’s

- An excellent source of Vitamin D

- More iron than 2% dairy milk

- 70 calories

- 4.5g of fat

- 0 carbs

- 130mg sodium

It's excellent for low carb/keto diets, too!

How do you milk an Oat?

Hmm, perhaps one obtains it by milking a goat in a zero-g environment?


With enzymes, separation, heat treatment and sterilization, apparently.


Same way you make almond milk. Soak it in water, and after an amount of time compress it to "milk" it.

Its all in the wrists ;)

More seriously I believe its just steeped and blended oats and water.

Nice one.

Carbs so, no.

Can we please stop calling these juices with additives "milk". Milk is produced by mammals. Whatever you add to oak juice doesn't make it "milk".

Usage defines language, not the other way around.

exactly, and "milk" is a good descriptor for consumers: a pale liquid with some viscosity and a mild taste that can be used in the same ways cows milk is used. Usually the only people who complain about calling it "milk" are people who sell dairy products (not saying OP is one of them).

Uh, no. The defining characteristic of mammals is the ability to produce milk. The word itself is derived from the latin word breast. There is a definition for the word milk as a verb in the mechanical sense as in to extract a substance from an object mechanically but the product from that extraction is not, in any sense, milk, as in the noun. The only other known animals to provide milk are a specific species of jumping spiders. But, as this is specifically a single species, or perhaps even a small genus of interrelated jumping spiders, it is not a defining characteristic of its entire class from an evolutionary stand point.

Milk is an important substance and the definition of which should be more regulated to prevent distortion or misinterpretation of its function by marketing. The only manufactured food substance that approximates milk is baby formula. It is time to stop calling all of these mechanical extractions that are marketed as substitutions something other than milk. This is important because there is a lot of misinformation and general quackery that is related to these mechanical extractions that endanger the lives of infants such as the parents that killed their 7 month old infant by substituting quinoa milk with actual milk or formula because it was "natural."

Looks like the dairy industry is here on HN.

...also, non-dairy milk products have a _very_ long history.

Yep. Just checked some corpus data and taking soy milk as an example, "soy milk" is used 76.5% of the time by real people not subject to legal shenanigans imposed by the dairy industry, compared to "soymilk" only 23.5% of the time, in the slice of data I looked at. Not the best data (skewed to a certain US locale home to high tech, cable cars, and some large bridges) but pretty overwhelming. And these are people who are being influenced by commercial labels forced by lawsuits to use "soymilk", yet they still separate the words. Usage ftw.

The usage of it dates back to medieval times when almond milk was a bit of an indulgence in that it was allowed during lent by nobility.

The livestock have left the barn there so long ago they have completely dedomesticated.

And? Old means correct? They probably used "milk" to confuse people and make them buy it, whereas its nutritional value is way below "actual" milk.

The point is that the meaning is well established. Milk has long meant "edible white liquid" - see coconut milk, as well and milk of magnesia and poppy milk. The later two are essentially drugs but still fit with that definition! Unless it is believed that the non-animal milk producers are time travelers claiming it is some new deception to be corrected for when everyone has known that for centuries. They aren't changing the meaning - advocates for restricting it are.

In french, the word milk (lait) has been used in the expression almond milk since at least the XIIIrd century.

source: http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/lait

And? I'm calling to stop using that word :) It is confusing and these beverages are nothing like milk except in the looks.

IIRC they can't be sold as "milk" inside the EU, they're usually called some variation of "beverage" or "drink". The only product that can be labelled as "milk" has to be produced, as you said, by mammals.

We can't get coconut milk in the EU since it can't be called milk. So sad.

Exactly, and I think "milk" is a confusing term that doesn't even describe what all these beverages are, which usually are way less nutritious than "real" milk.

Milk as a general term for a white liquid made from nuts and grains goes back hundreds of years. Nobody is calling it "milk", they are calling it "oat milk". Calling it "juice" as you have is far more wrong.

Additives? Just oats and water to make oat milk and some sugar if you want it sweet.

I wonder if the cow breast milk industry will also embrace correctness.

If we're going for correctness, we should call it the bovine mammary lactation industry. Though there is something horribly unappealing about that.

Kinda like tomato and vinegar syrup?

Except it is not always bovine.


"Milk: ... 2 : a liquid resembling milk in appearance: such as a : the latex of a plant b : the contents of an unripe kernel of grain"

Oak juice lol. Juice comes from fruits and oak is not a fruit (and nor are oats) so you might want to check your hipocrisy there calling it juice.

To further muddy the milk/not milk waters. Oatly[1] appears to be grain, soaked in water, with enzymes added to break down starches into simple sugars.

Any brewer should know this is a wort, basically unfermented beer (without hops).

So there you go, you should really be asking for wort in your coffee.

[1] https://www.oatly.com/int/our-process

Should the milkweed plant also be renamed to ”juiceweed?” What happens when someone synthesizes petri-dish dairy milk?

An opaque white fluid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young.

I'm thinking does this definition apply to also the liquid from cows that is produced for humans since we're not their "young"

This is an advertisement. Time was duped but do we have to be also?

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