More and more people are opting for milk alternatives in their coffee, but more and more milk substitutes are also being used in cereals, for baking, cooking or pure consumption. And for a variety of reasons: Animal love, environmental protection and one's own health are just a few of them. The alternative: plant-based "milk"... which, strictly speaking, should not be called "milk" at all. But what exactly are plant-based drinks?
Vegetable drinks and their ingredients
Vegetable milk alternatives usually consist of legumes, cereals, nuts or oilseeds as well as water and sometimes oil, sweeteners and salt. The ingredient list is short and the production, compared to conventional milk, simple.
The main ingredient is either soaked and ground wet, or ground dry and then mixed with water. Most plant drinks are then cooked, some are additionally fermented. Finally, the liquid obtained is usually homogenized and highly heated so that it can be kept longer.
But back to why some of you have probably long since switched to plant-based milk alternatives.
Vegan plant drinks for the love of the environment
Various studies show that plant-based drinks appear to have a much smaller impact on the climate than cow's milk. Producing plant-based milk alternatives requires less water and acreage, so the environmental impact is limited and resources are protected. So if you choose plant-based drinks instead of milk, you're also doing something good for the environment.
Vegan plant drinks for your health
When it comes to your health, switching to plant-based milk alternatives can definitely be worth it. Plant-based drinks contain no cholesterol, low saturated fat, lots of vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. Some plant-based alternatives also contain water-soluble fiber, while milk does not. These factors can have a positive effect on fat metabolism.
People with lactose intolerance or milk protein allergy benefit anyway, because plant-based drinks are inherently lactose-free and cow's milk protein-free.
Vegan plant drinks for the love of animals
It's no secret that the lives of cows bred specifically for the dairy industry are not easy. They often have to live in extremely cramped conditions and are exposed to psychological and physical stress. Due to the living conditions, the cows usually do not grow old and in the worst case end up in the slaughterhouse because they quickly become useless for the industry. For many people, this is exactly the reason to turn to plant-based drinks in order to minimize animal suffering. If you want to stick with cow's milk, we recommend switching to organic milk or milk from your local farm. That way you know where the milk comes from and can really enjoy it.
The perfect alternative to conventional milk
Whether for coffee, muesli, pudding, baking or pure - the milk alternatives that are represented on the market today, you can use virtually everything. Do you prefer oats or soy? Pea or almond? In recent years, the number of milk alternatives has increased rapidly and in the end, it's simply a matter of taste. The best thing to do is to try out all the milk alternatives on the shelves, then you'll know what you like and which plant-based milk alternative is the best choice for your perfect coffee or muesli.
Vegetable milk alternatives at a glance
1. oats - Our favorite
Oat milk contains a lot of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It provides a lot of calcium and has a positive effect on your cholesterol level. The oat alternative is, thanks to biotin and manganese, very good for skin and hair. Oat milk is nice and creamy with a slightly sweet taste. Perfect for frothing for a good Playground Cappuccino or Flat White.
2. pea - the newcomer among the plant drinks
Pea drinks are not yet very common on the shelves, but they are becoming more and more. We already know pea protein from various meat alternatives. It is very rich in protein, has few calories and thus serves as a good base for the new milk alternative. The pea drinks are creamy and sweet in taste.
3. almond - the all-rounder
Almond milk contains magnesium and a lot of calcium and is good for skin and hair thanks to the biotin it contains. Unsweetened almond milk contains fewer calories than low-fat cow's milk and few carbohydrates. It tastes sweet and sometimes slightly like marzipan.The milk alternative is good for smoothies, muesli or even for baking.
4. Soy - the classic milk alternative
The soy alternative is very popular and most similar to cow's milk. Same protein content, but less fat, calories and sugar than milk. It contains plenty of protein, fiber, lecithin, vitamins B and E. It comes in many different varieties and flavors and is also available in a light version. Because of the lecithin it contains, it is very good for baking. Nutty and not very sweet in taste. However, soy milk should only be enjoyed in moderation: due to the contained phytoestrogens, the hormonal balance can otherwise be shaken.
5th Hemp - Still Undercover On The Road
Hemp milk contains many Omega-3 fatty acids. This makes it good for the heart and skin and lowers cholesterol. The abundant magnesium also has a positive effect on the organism. They are not so easy to get at the moment, but that will probably change quickly. Slightly nutty and creamy in taste. Ever tried them?
6. coconut- the exotic alternative to cow's milk
The taste of coconut is especially popular in smoothies, muesli and in hearty curry dishes. In coffee rather less. Coconut milk is naturally sweet and although coconut drinks usually contain only about 10% coconut milk, they are also quite sweet and have a strong taste of their own.
7. rice - neutral and low in allergens
Rice drinks are gluten-free and in relation to other milk alternatives lower in protein, higher in calories and slightly watery in consistency, but also the least allergenic. So an interesting alternative for those with intolerances/allergies. The rice drink is relatively neutral in taste - not too sweet and not too intrusive.
As you can see, the choice is huge... and we haven't even listed all the milk alternatives yet. Try it out and see what you like best. And for a good oat cappuccino, feel free to drop by our café in Hamburg St. Pauli . We are looking forward to it!