Vegan steamed milk: Enjoying coffee with soy milk, oat milk & Co.

Milk alternatives for your vegan cappuccino

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Vegan steamed milk? At first, that sounds like something of a contradiction. After all, cappuccino and latte macchiato are traditionally prepared with cow’s milk. But there are good reasons why people want an alternative – due to an intolerance, for example, or because of a vegan lifestyle. Today, it is no longer an issue to add a final touch to your coffee without it having to be cow’s milk. So which milk alternatives can you use? How do you make the perfect foam with vegan milk?

Vegan milk: What are the options?

The word “milk” isn’t actually allowed to appear on the packaging of these products (exception: coconut milk). After all, these “milks” do not originate from an animal’s udder. Depending on the variety, nuts, grains or beans are ground, soaked, cooked, filtered and pasteurised. When combined with water, the result is a light-coloured liquid that looks similar to cow’s milk. Common plant-based milks are made with soy, oats, spelt, almonds, hazelnuts, rice or coconut.

So which plant-based milk tastes best?

Just like cow’s milk, each milk alternative has its very own nuances in flavour. Soy and oats taste earthy with hints of cereal, while spelt and rice have a certain sweetness. Coconut has a fresh flavour, and hazelnuts and almonds are slightly nutty. Whether you like that in your coffee is purely a matter of taste.

If you want to switch milks for reasons of sustainability, then you should consider the drink’s carbon footprint: oats, for example, are grown regionally; on the other hand, it’s not unusual for the almonds in almond milk to come from California. A further important factor is whether you can get the milk alternative in cafés. And can you foam up vegan milk?

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Vegan milk foam – here’s what you need to know

In cow’s milk, it’s the milk protein that’s responsible for making the milk creamy and lending it a good texture when steamed. In most plant-based drinks, however, these protein levels are too low. Soy milk is the most suitable option due to its high protein content. On the other hand, creating milk foam from regular oat or almond milk is practically impossible.

But oat milk, for example, can nevertheless be foamed up thanks to a special trick: some manufacturers sell special “barista” editions that are enriched with protein and vegetable fat. This makes it easy to create vegan milk foam with the steam wand on your portafilter espresso machine. When pouring latte art, you’ll notice that while it’s possible to create hearts and even more complex designs, the pattern will look creamier and will dissipate more quickly.

There are also several interesting new products – some of which are local – based on brewing water, coconut and rice or pea-based milk alternatives. Tell us in the comments which vegan milk alternative you like best in your cappuccino. Have fun trying them out! What’s your personal favourite when it comes to foaming vegan milk?

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