You have probably seen the chalkboard signs and promoted Instagram ads from your local brewers: “Now serving oat milk!” Let's explore the new trend.
What is Oat Milk and How Can it Be Used?
To put it simply, oat milk is produced by soaking steel cut oats or oat groats (cleaned and toasted oat grains) in water, blending the mixture, then straining it through cheesecloth or an otherwise loosely woven cloth for the concentrate.
During this method of extraction, most of the vitamins and minerals tend to stay behind in the "oat pulp" since oats are more absorbent than other milk substitute bases. According to popular dietitian Kelly R. Jones, properly blended oat milk will allow for a larger quantity of oats to pass through the cloth, enhancing the milk’s nutritional value while adding to its density; conclusively, giving it a creamier composition.
Oat milk has a subtle, sweet flavor and a rich essence, which makes it perfect for traditional hot beverages like lattes and mistos. Because the taste is delicate and the body is velvety, it foams to perfection and blends smoothly with the taste of espresso and added syrups. Due to the combination of blended oats and refined thickeners, processed oat milk is notable for not separating in beverages. This makes it the perfect add in for all your favorite iced drinks such iced coffees, lattes, macchiatos and blended refreshments.
The History of Oat Milk
Oat Milk found its opening to the market with the increase of dairy alternative sales. In fact, according to the Mintel research firm, half of all Americans are buying plant-based milk substitutes circa 2013. These replacements grew to a rise in popularity following the development of diet trends and public health concerns with consuming milk. A study done by the University of Virginia's medical department found that many consumers are worried about the hormone and antibiotic treatments cattle are receiving in dairy farms; as well as the effect of these regimens on dairy products. Other consumer anxieties include the environmental impact of dairy farming and lactose allergies.
While coconut, almond, and soy remain the heavyweight champions of the $12bn market for milk alternatives, oat milk has been a notable figure in the game for the last 25 years. The beverage was crafted in the 1990’s at the University of Lund, in Sweden by students who were looking for recourse for those who suffered both lactose and nut allergies. Today, the world’s most notable supplier of the cereal based option is a brand called Oatly, a Swedish company headquartered out of Malmo. Many alternative milk brands offer their own take on oat milk. Some of the most familiar labels like Califia, Elmhurst, and Pacific have products readily available for consumer needs.
Oat Milk vs. Milk
The University of Virginia's medical study reported that oat milk is low in cholesterol, and saturated fat; all the while containing more fiber and protein than competing alternatives. Many of the benefits that accompany drinking oat milk have to do with the amount of fiber in the product. Fiber helps to satiate hunger so drinking oat milk can help to fill you up quicker. Moreover, a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found a connection between weight loss and an increased intake of fiber in a person’s diet. In addition, high amounts of vitamin E, iron, and folic acid were found in the oat milk samples.
However, oat milk does contain larger amounts of sugar since it is manufactured from a carbohydrate which in turn, gets broken down into a simple sugar. This also makes it relatively high in calories. While oat milk is also a great alternative for those suffering from lactose or nut allergies, it definitely will not serve as an appropriate substitute for younger audiences (children and babies) if you’re looking to supplement a dairy-free option into their diets. This is because while oat milk is enriched with plenty of nutrients during the developmental process, it does lack those necessary for growth. Another disadvantage to oat milk is the price. Cow’s milk typically runs about $3-$4 by the gallon, while oat milk runs about $4-$5 for half a gallon.
While it is entirely possible to make oat milk at home, research suggests that buying from retailers will ultimately be the healthier route as homemade oat milk will not be enriched with the same nutrients as processed oat milk.
Recipe: Salted Caramel Instant Frappe with Oat Milk!
If you are interested in seeing for yourself how oat milk’s neutral flavor and creamy texture work with your instant coffee needs, check out this quick and delicious recipe!
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 cup of oat milk
- 1 cup Waka Coffee
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons of caramel sauce
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of condensed milk
1. Add all the ingredients into a blending pitcher and blend until everything looks consistent. A common problem with homemade frappes, is their tendency to separate quickly. The condensed milk should help to keep everything nice and solid!
2. Adjust your beverage as needed. If the drink tastes too light or too strong, add more coffee or sweetener as feels necessary
3. Drizzle on a swirl of caramel sauce and some fresh sea salt for toppings and enjoy!
Try the best instant coffee to go with your oat milk. Get it here.