As a coffee purist I’m not a fan alternative milks…
I feel like they tend to change the coffee too much. Almond, coconut, macadamia, soy, or rice, they all take away from the unique aromas and flavors that they should be elevating. So I was skeptical when I saw a sudden, and constant stream of promotions for Oatly. If your Instagram feed is as coffee-focused as mine, I would challenge you to scroll through ten posts without seeing something for Oatly.
If you're not familiar with Oatly, it's exactly what it sounds like. It’s oats. Oats that have been milled, or melted, or turned into a liquid through witchcraft, or a process I don’t understand. Yet, the end product is an beige, milk-like, substance that even comes in a cardboard carton, which is a delightful and nostalgic.
The flavor on its own reminds me of the milk left over after your oat bran. Oats are great for many reasons; they are nutritious, chalk full of fiber, and gluten free. Also, because humans have been consuming oats for so long, it’s extremely uncommon to be allergic. So its pretty much a win all the way around. That beats out things like nuts and soy, which are pretty common allergies.
As a Swedish company it’s no surprise that Oatly has taken the coffee industry by storm. With Sweden being the 6th highest coffee consuming country in the world, they clearly had a vision for the future of Oatly and coffee. This vision is taking shape. Finding a specialty coffee event, tradeshow, or even a café, without this gray carton somewhere around is a rarity.
Needless to say, skepticism aside, I had to try it. When I ran into the Oatly representative at a local coffee event (shout out to Cold Brew City) I asked for a carton, and they obliged. I took it home, shook it like a Polaroid picture, and steamed it up. I made some drinks, drank some drinks, and came to a conclusion...
As much as I’d love to rave about it, as great as the company itself is, and as helpful and eager to please as its employees are, it’s not for me. As time goes on, perhaps they will fiddle with the formula, because what I felt it really lacked was the slightly sweet, creamy texture of whole milk.
Yet, in the end if you are lactose intolerant, vegan, allergic to nuts or soy, or just generally not a fan of milk, this is the best option for a coffee fan. It’s more easily steamed that other milk alternatives, and doesn’t add too much flavor that masks all of the amazing subtleties that specialty coffee is known, and loved for.