Despite efforts to curb its growth, plant-based dairy is one of the fastest growing industries out there. A wide variety of vegan milk is now available from several different sources including peas, macadamia nuts, almonds, and coconut.
With a huge assortment of these products accessible to consumers, an important question comes up: which is the best of these new milk alternatives? I took a look at five of the most well-known non-dairy milk brands out there: Vita Coco, Milkadamia, Rebel Kitchen, Califia Farms , and Ripple Foods, to find out for myself.
In evaluating these plant-based milks, I looked at creaminess, sweetness, and flavor. I was looking for a creaminess similar to that of milk, flavor that hid any potential off-notes from the original plant but still tasted clean, and something that wasn’t overly sweet. Here’s my take on each brand.
Califia Farms (Almondmilk)
Califia Farms has been putting plant-based dairy into Horchata and Cold Brew Coffees, but these Matcha and Ginger Turmeric almond milks are new to the game. They both had a partially thick consistency that made them feel more watery than actual milk. The Matcha flavor had a powerful but delightful aroma to it, and made me feel like I was drinking some powerful green tea. The Ginger Turmeric flavor, however, nearly blew my mouth off with the strength of the ginger in there. I definitely could not have finished a single-serve bottle of it all at once, as my palate needed to recover in between sips of this drink.
Matcha Almondmilk: 4.5/5
Ginger Turmeric Almondmilk: 3/5
Rebel Kitchen makes drink flavors like chocolate, chai, and coffee that are infused with coconut milk. While all of their flavors taste like what you’d expect, some issues still exist with the coconut milk curdling. Coconut milk isn’t really that stable in coffee, chai, or chocolate, so it tends to split and form some solid bits in such drinks. Such solid bits were present, which is fine since it doesn’t affect the taste, but the texture may be a little off-putting to first-time drinkers. When Rebel Kitchen finds a way to prevent that curdling, it’ll be a pretty tasty plant dairy product.
I’m sure you can guess what the basis for this plant-based milk is by the name alone. Milkadamia has both unsweetened and sweetened plain versions of the milk, and a latte version that feels more like cream going down your throat than milk. While the original versions aren’t nearly as viscous as milk, their flavor is heavenly and evocative of white chocolate chip cookies. Neither has a strong background flavor, and the sweetened version is almost redundant since the OG without sugar tasted even better to me. The latte version was my personal favorite due to that extra richness.
Original Unsweetened: 4/5
Original Sweetened: 4/5
Vita Coco claims to have developed a new coconut milk product that doesn’t curdle in coffee. While their coffee does hold up to that test, it’s an odd claim to make since other companies like Califia already make coconut milk that stays stable. Nonetheless, I could tell that their coconut milk was more luxurious than Rebel Kitchen’s and had a decent coconut flavor. I’m down with the combo of coconut and coffee, so I’ll co-sign this product for sure.
Ripple’s plant-based milks are based on pea protein, and come in both original unsweetened and sweetened forms, along with a vanilla and chocolate flavor. I wasn’t really a fan of the original versions, as there was some off flavors from the pea protein that made the drink taste like the leftover water in bean cans. However, Ripple’s chocolate milk had me thinking I was drinking a bottle of Nesquick. It was thick and chocolatey, and had none of that weird pea-like background flavor from the plain drinks. The original flavors may not be appealing to me, but that chocolate milk had me sold.
Original Unsweetened: 2.5/5
Original Sweetened: 3/5
To me personally, Ripple’s chocolate milk was the best tasting out of all of the plant-based milks I tried, so if you’re a vegan and a fan of anything chocolatey, snag this chocolate milk. The best brand overall, however, was Milkadamia. They may not be as creamy as real milk, but damn, are they tasty.
If you’ve tried these plant-based dairy products, let me know if you agree or disagree. If not, head to a store and try some out for yourself to see what you like. I’d love to hear your input.