Best Barista Edition Oat Milk – Taste Test

Kicka här för hela inlägget på svenska: Bäst i test: havremjölk till kaffet

Updated May 1, 2020 to include ICA Havredryck Barista.

I, Mike, have been taking my coffee for the past 15-20 years (!) with half and half, which is similar to kaffegrädde in Sweden. When we first moved here from New York, I often used whole milk (röd mjölk) in my coffee instead, as the kaffegrädde was sourced from Denmark. It felt better to support local Swedish farmers than to use an imported dairy product, but every once in a while, I would splurge and go for it anyway. As we started to move closer and closer to an entirely plant-based diet, however, I started to look for other options. Nothing felt even remotely right until we got the chance to taste Oatly iKaffe one day. A plant-based milk, with a flavor and texture that paired perfectly with coffee, not based on ingredients shipped from the other side of the world or needing lots of water, without a massive climate footprint? Could it really be true this product was practically guilt-free? Man, I thought, this stuff is delicious – even better than milk! Fast forward two years, and we’ve been a loyal iKaffe household since. (We may have even bought six whole cases worth this past fall, when Stockholm underwent an iKaffe shortage.)

It wasn’t until our good friend Micke showed up to our house with a couple cartons of Coop’s own version of iKaffe that I realized there were other brands out there. We tried it, liked it, and it got us thinking: can we tell the difference between the two? And why not do a blind taste test? We learned Valio also has their own version, which we included as well. As of now, these three are the only oat drinks specifically made to go with coffee. What is unique about all of them – compared to regular oat drink – is the ability for it to froth and maintain its creamy texture (in other words, no fat separation) when poured into hot coffee. Most of the time I just shake the carton, and that works great, but for a treat, I’ll sometimes heat it up on the stove and whisk. You can make a spectacular latte or cappuccino this way.

Now, onto the actual taste test – we decided to try them all both straight up, (as in just oat drink in a glass), as well as mixed into coffee. The tasting was, as mentioned, done blind, so neither Sophia nor I knew which was which. We took notes, picked our favorites, and tried to guess the brands.

Valio Oddlygood Barista

Valio is the biggest dairy brand in Finland, which – through their line of Oddlygood products – has branched out into the world of plant-based milks, yogurts and cheeses. This product – their barista version – only came out recently as a direct competitor to Oatly iKaffe. What Valio Oddlygood Barista has going for it immediately is that it’s the only one of the three to be certified gluten free. A huge plus for anyone who is celiac, or has a family member who is. Oats are naturally gluten free, but there’s a large risk of cross-contamination in the grain farming industry, hence the need for a certification for those with severe issues.

Unfortunately though, when it came to taste, this was our least favorite. What was most prevalent was its lack of creaminess compared to the other two – it simply felt a little thinner and less decadent. In addition, it also tasted slightly more acidic. It did, on the other hand, come with the least amount of oat flavor. The oat flavor is really only noticeable when you consume these products straight up though, so not an “issue” when mixed into coffee.

Ingredients: Oat base (water, gluten free oats 10 %), rapeseed and sunflower oil, water, acidity regulator (dipotassium phosphate), iodine, vitamins (D2, riboflavin (B2), B12).

Nutrition information per 100 ml: Calories: 58 kcal / Total Fat: 3.0 g / Saturated Fat: 0.3 g / Total Carbohydrates: 6.6 g / Sugar: 3.5 g / Protein: 1.2 g / Salt 0.10 g

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D 1.0 μg (20%*) / Riboflavin 0.21 mg (15%*) / Vitamin B12 0.40 μg (16%*) / Calcium 120 mg (15%*) / Iodine 22.5 μg (15%*)  *of the reference daily intake

From left to right: Valio Oddlygood Barista, Oatly iKaffe, and Coop Havredryck till kaffe

Oatly iKaffe (a.k.a. Barista Edition)

Oatly is the brand that’s responsible for bringing oat based milk to the forefront, and with iKaffe, they’ve convinced a lot of people to ditch the (regular) milk in their coffee.

This one had the best mouthfeel of them all and was also our favorite. There was a subtle sweetness with a hint of acidity that made it well balanced, with only a little bit of oat flavor coming through. Creamy and full bodied. Mm, it’s so delicious.

Ingredients: Water, oats 10%, rapeseed oil, acidity regulator (dipotassium phosphate), calcium carbonate, calcium phosphates, iodised salt, vitamins (D2, riboflavin, B12).

Nutrition information per 100 ml: Calories: 59 kcal / Total Fat: 3.0 g / Saturated Fat: 0.3 g / Carbohydrates: 6.6 g / Sugar: 4.0 g / Fiber: 0.8 g / Protein: 1.0 g / Salt: 0.10 g

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D 1.1 μg (22%*) / Riboflavin 0.21 mg (15%*) / Vitamin B12 0.38 μg (15%*) / Potassium 222 mg (11%*) / Calcium 120 mg (15%*) / Phosphorus 110 mg (16%*) / Iodine 22.5 μg (15%*)  *of the reference daily intake

Coop Havredryck till kaffe

Coop’s product is the newest one on the market, as it came out only recently. It’s manufactured by Trensums Food AB in Sweden. With Coop having their own now, we can’t help but to just wait for ICA to come out with one too.

Onto the outcome of the test: it was creamy, though not as creamy as Oatly. It has a slightly sweeter flavor profile than the other two, and definitely the clearest hint of oats. It actually contains less sugar (as in naturally occurring – neither one of these products has any added sugar), but it lacks the acidity, so perhaps that makes it taste a bit sweeter? As opposed to the other two’s smoothness, this one also felt a tiny bit grainy.

Ingredients: Oat base (water, oats 10 %), rapeseed oil, acidity regulator (E 340), calcium carbonate, calcium phosphates, iodised salt, vitamins (D3, riboflavin (B2), B12)

Nutrition information per 100 ml: Calories: 60 kcal / Total Fat 2.8 g / Saturated Fat: 0.2 g / Total Carbohydrates: 7.8 g / Sugar: 3.5 g / Protein: 1.0 g / Salt: 0.10 g

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D 1.0 μg (20%*) / Riboflavin 0.21 mg (15%*) / Vitamin B12 0.38 μg (15%*) / Calcium 120 mg (15%*) *of the reference daily intake

ICA Havredryck Barista

Since conducting this taste test in January 2020, ICA has come out with their version of an oat milk based coffee creamer. Exactly what we were hoping for! Drinking it by itself, it was delicious. Sweet, creamy, smooth – heck, even a little vanilla flavor. Even creamier than Oatly iKaffe! This might even be my favorite, if I were just drinking it straight up. Unfortunately, after trying it in coffee, our excitement quickly faded into disappointment. It just didn’t pair well with coffee for us. Maybe a little too sweet, perhaps not enough acidity – it actually reminded me of those artificially sweetened fake coffee creamers that were popular 20 years ago. ICA’s barista edition oat milk also foamed up a lot less than its competitors. Whatever is left in the carton will be used in pancake batter instead, that’s for sure. Like Valio, it’s also produced in Finland and certified gluten free.

Ingredients: Water, oats 10%, rapeseed oil, calcium carbonate, emulsifier (E472e), salt, stabilizer (E418), riboflavin, folic acid, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin B12

Nutrition information per 100 ml: Calories: 60 kcal / Total Fat: 3.0 g / Saturated Fat: 0.3 g / Carbohydrates: 6.7 g / Sugar: 3.5 g / Fiber: 1.0 g / Protein: 10.6 g / Salt: 0.10 g

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D 1.0 μg (22%) / Riboflavin 0.2 mg (14%) / Vitamin B12 0.4 μg (16%) / Calcium 120 mg (15%) / Folic Acid 22 μg (11%) / Iodine 16 μg (11%) *of the reference daily intake

Conclusion

Most would be hard-pressed to actually tell the difference between these three* once they’ve been mixed into coffee. Based on our first few sips, we could not tell the difference at all, and it wasn’t until repeatedly trying that we picked out any subtle differences, and those actually ended up reflecting our initial “straight up” tastings. Valio tasted sligthly thinner than the other two, with Oatly and Coop both giving the creamiest texture. Coop had a slightly sweeter profile, and Oatly ended up somewhere in the middle. In the end, we both agreed that Oatly was our favorite, but only by thin margins. Coop’s version came in a close second and Valio third. But with that said, we would both happily drink any of these three with our morning coffee. Perhaps which one is on sale at our local grocery store will be the biggest contributing factor to which one of these you’ll find in our fridge. Overall, it’s nothing short of amazing that these products exist on the market today, making it easy to reduce our climate footprint, one bit at a time.

*We’ve since added ICA Havredryck Barista to this taste test. While it had a lot of potential with our initial tasting straight up, when mixed into coffee it became clear this was our least favorite (by far).


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