The joys of plant-based milk

Gracie Cox, Opinions Editor

Milk has surprisingly been one of the biggest trends of this year. I never expected one of the plainest and most boring drinks to do such a thing, but 2020 seems to have made the impossible possible. But, that’s not the only reason the world’s fascination with milk has grown so tremendously. With the environment and various dietary restrictions in mind, a whole new genre of milk has come to light in the public eye. This new concoction is made from various plants, and it is far more delicious than any cow’s milk.

As a teenage girl with a concerning amount of time on her hands, I have tried my fair share of plant-based milk. It all started with a bottle of vanilla “Almond Breeze” back in elementary school. It was tasty at the time, but I believe that my palette has grown far beyond that fake “almond esque” flavor. So, I decided that it was time to broaden my horizons and make a trip to the local pretentious grocery store in search of whatever plant-based goodness it had to offer. About 25 dollars later, I had retrieved an impressive selection of goodies. I’ve tried them all by now, and I have some thoughts.

By far, the superior milk is oat. I’ll admit it, I’m slightly biased. Oat milk has been a staple in my family’s fridge for the last six months and purchasing it felt more like routine than an impulse buy. Still, it did not disappoint. It’s a fan-favorite for a reason. Even unsweetened, it has a beautiful flavor. The same cannot be said for the vast majority of milk out there. Typically, some sugar is needed to liven up the party. But, oat milk holds its own, even without that added sweetness. Its color reminds me of all that is peaceful and good in this world. It has a slightly tan hue that radiates comfort and safety. This is what you add to your steaming cup of tea on a cold, winter night. It tastes pleasant in other things as well, but just don’t add it to your macaroni and cheese. I tried it once and still haven’t recovered.

My least favorite was obviously barley milk. It sounds strange, but that’s why I wanted to try it in the first place. Who knows, maybe it could’ve become my new first choice. Sadly, it just sucked. It was terrible, but what did I expect? Barley has a somewhat savory flavor and to nobody’s surprise, that taste rang through in its milk form. It also was a little too thick for my taste. Almost unnervingly so. But still, it is much better than cow’s milk.

Now comes the varieties that were “meh.” None of them were actively gross or off-putting, but I still wouldn’t drink them again. Coconut, cashew and almond all fit into this category. They all tasted pretty similar as well, but coconut struck me as more water than milk. The consistency was all wrong. Cashew and almond will do in a pinch, but there’s nothing special about them. They’re best on cereal, but much too liquidy for coffee or tea. I don’t hate any of these three, but oat milk will always reign supreme.

Now that I’ve rambled on about a fairly nonsensical topic and wasted all of my money, I can finally say that my little experiment is over. I’ve done my “Good Mythical Morning” style taste test. It wasn’t exactly worth my while, but I hope that it has encouraged you to try some of these milks on your own. Not only are they a fun way to spice things up when life feels especially dull, but they’re also much better for the environment. The dairy industry is a huge contributor to climate change and global warming, so why not try an alternative to one of your most used animal products? I promise that you won’t regret it.