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Taste test: NZ oat milks. Which one makes the best flat white?

With so many oat milks on the market, the plant-curious coffee drinker is spoiled for choice. But which oat milk should you choose, especially for that all-important moment of the day: the first coffee.

We put four New Zealand-originated oat milks through their paces, using a trained barista, on a classic espresso machine, and five experienced coffee drinkers as blind tasters. Top spot was narrowly won but, to be honest, there wasn’t much in it for three of the milks. And for the fourth placegetter, it’s possibly not a fair fight – it was the only non-barista blend but does have a delicious coconut twist.

 

The Candidates

AllGood Organics

$30 for a six pack

From the good people who bring us fair trade bananas and Karma Drinks, this oat milk is dairy free, GMO & soy free and unsweetened. Ingredients: Water, Oats (10%), rapeseed oil, acidity regulator (dipotassium phosphate), minerals (calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate), salt, vitamins (B12, riboflavin). Buy it here

 

 

Boring Barista Oat Milk

$4.80-$5.40 (Farrows, Moore Wilsons)

The only oat milk to be processed here in good ol’ NZ, Boring Barista uses sunflower oil to get that streeeetch factor so important in frothed milk. Ingredients: Water, oats (12%), hi-oleic sunflower oil* minerals (calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate), acidity regulator (dipotassium phosphate), sea salt*, vitamins (riboflavin, B12). Buy it here.

 

 

Little Island Oat Organic Coconut Milk

$30 for a six pack (direct)

Little Island take organic oats and blend them with their organic coconut milk to give you a delicious and balanced dairy-free milk Ingredients: N/A. Buy it here.

 

Otis – The Barista One

$35.70 for a six pack (direct)

The pioneer, Otis were the first Kiwi oat milk to market and are working hard to get the processing from Sweden to New Zealand.Ingredients: Kiwi oats (10%), water, rapeseed oil, acidity regulator (dipotassium phosphate), minerals (calcium carbonate, calcium phosphates), salt, vitamins (D2, riboflavin, B12. Buy it here. 

The test

We asked Joe, an experienced barista, to make us all four flat whites using his classic EDM  home machine. We chose fresh Karajos beans ground and cleansed our palettes with plain crackers and dried nuts. And if you must know, we were listening to a Motown mix on Spotify. It helps get us through these grinding tasks.

The results!

It was close! They’re all delicious and three of them frothed as well as their dairy rivals. But the group has spoken and here are the results.

Froth: Boring is a clear winner here. “It was slow to warm and meant I could swirl it longer and get that stretch you need. You want to see a shimmering glaze, which Boring was the best at achieving,” said Joe. AllGood and Otis were an equal next best and Little Island a distant fourth. “Little Island got hot really fast and meant I couldn’t get the same stretch as the others.”

Pour: There was no separating the top three for pour – the milk remained frothy and poured beautifully to form a thick creamy top layer. Little Island struggled, separating quickly into a foamy, bubbly surface and milky liquid beneath.

Taste: Again, Boring got the nod, scoring 7.5 from our five tasters, a whisker ahead of AllGood at 7 and Otis at 6.5. The difference? “It’s creamier, has bigger body and doesn’t have that vegetable flavour – what is it bitterness, herbaceousness? – that so many plant milks do,” said Holly. Little Island placed a distant fourth but did have minor support from the coconut lover on the team. It does have a delicious, nutty nose and quite a warm pinky hue.

 

Conclusion

Boring Barista takes the gong, but only by a nose. Little Island didn’t cut it unless you’re a dedicated coconut fan.  As for Otis and AllGood, well, you’re a credit to your families. Fonterra, watch your back.

By Vincent Heeringa and friends.

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Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The Feed.co.nz, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story. vincentheeringa.com

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