According to a report, 1 in 3 people drink plant based milk in the UK, proving that it’s fast becoming a mainstream choice to rival dairy.
But with so many options, which ones are best?
From creamy oat milk to adventurous potato milk, pebble has rounded up 5 of the best vegan milks that make switching to plant based alternatives a no-brainer.
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Quick links to pebble’s fave vegan milk brands
Why switch to plant based milks
Back in the day, the mainstream understanding of milk was from a cow. Sometimes goat if you were more alternative. Otherwise, soya was the typical vegan swap.
Nowadays, vegan alternatives have burst onto the scene with the idea of ‘normal milk’ becoming a much looser term.
The growth in vegan milks can be largely attributed to concerns over animal welfare in the dairy industry and the environment.
Also, health plays a large part as vegan milks are a lot easier to digest than cow’s milk whether you or not you happen to be lactose intolerant.
Vegan milks are no longer just a niche plant based alternative to dairy. They’ve become much more mainstream.
A wide range of them have now become a firm presence on supermarket shelves and part of the vocabulary in many metropolitan coffee shops.
It’s never been easier to switch to a high-quality, eco-friendly, great tasting vegan milk!
Read more: How To Make Oat Milk At Home
“A 200ml glass of dairy milk results in three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks”
The environmental impact of milks
Plant based milks are the more environmentally friendly choice in comparison to dairy.
According to a University of Oxford study, producing a 200ml glass of dairy milk results in ‘three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks.’
Land use is even more significant with dairy milk requiring 7,000 square feet every day for a year.
That’s more than 10 times the amount needed for oat milk.
In terms of the environmental impact of plant-based milks, here’s where it starts to get a bit tricky.
Almond milk has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions as the trees absorb CO2.
However, a single 200ml glass requires 74 litres of water – more than double the amount needed for oat and soya.
The pressure to meet the demand for almond milk has also had a devastating impact on the California bee population.
Coconut milk is another one to avoid due to the industry’s unethical underbelly.
Coconuts are grown in tropical climates and the rise in demand from the west has led to worker exploitation and the destruction of rainforests.
Although cheap and widely available, rice milk has a lower nutritional value than the like of soya and oat.
Plus, it requires a comparatively high amount of water to produce (54 litres per 200ml glass!).
An environmental vegan milk hero is hemp as smaller crops produce a high yield of milk packed with proteins and healthy fats.
Oat milk is another good choice as crops can be grown locally for those in the global north, reducing the carbon emissions in transport.
Vegan milk OG soya is also a favourite as it has a protein content similar to dairy and has the smallest environmental footprint of the lot!
Choosing the best vegan milk for you
With so many vegan milk options out there, it can be tricky working which one’s right for you if you’ve decided to make the switch.
Our sacred tea and coffee rituals are not things we mess around with lightly.
That’s where pebble can help.
pebble’s expert editorial team asked real-life Ripples by pebble community members for their honest opinions of popular and up and coming vegan milks.
We asked them to review these plant milks in tea and coffee and rate them on taste and quality.
So, on that note, here are 5 of the best vegan milks, tried and tested by our community members.
5 Of The Best Vegan Milks For Tea And Coffee
1. Best vegan milk newcomer: Dug
Potato milk is a hot new vegan trend with Swedish brand Dug leading the way.
Plus, it has a 75% lower climate footprint than dairy milk, making it a good environmental choice.
Heather Nute from the Ripples by pebble community comments: “I tried Dug original. It has a pleasant creamy taste with a hint of potato starch taste at the end drunk on its own. it works great in tea – I wouldn’t drink it if it didn’t!
“I did try it in a whole mug of chai but it didn’t brew well, or rather perhaps Dug didn’t taste great after heating?
“I would happily eat it with porridge and probably to make sauces as well as I think the creaminess lends itself well.
“I like the consistency and mixed with other things it is great but may overtake weak flavoured items such as cereal.
“Overall, I was pleasantly surprised as other vegan milks I have tried don’t work in tea as it’s such a tender flavour profile. I would use this again if it was priced well.”
Read more about ethical coffee: The Best Ethical Coffee Brands To Order To Your Door
Pros: 75% lower environmental footprint than diary | 56 times less water than almond milk | Nutritious | Tastes great in tea and porridge | Creamy taste
Cons: Didn’t taste great after heating | Flavour can be a little overpowering
2. Best plant milk for tea: Minor Figures
If you’re looking for a vegan milk that works plain and simple in tea, Minor Figures has got it sorted with its range of barista-worthy oat drinks.
Minor Figures Oat Milk is formulated for baristas by baristas. The brand is also certified carbon neutral and works with Gold Standard carbon projects to offset its emissions.
“The vegan milk is a creamy consistency and tastes quite neutral with no nasty aftertaste,” says Sarah Tomlinson from the Ripples by pebble community.
“I tried it in everything and it was great in porridge, cereals, tea and smoothies. I didn’t like it in my coffee though.
“My favourite way to consume it is in smoothies or my porridge as it’s so creamy and adds a lovely texture.
“Compared with other vegan milks I’ve tried, it’s a much thicker and creamier liquid and it doesn’t have an overpowering taste/smell/ aftertaste which I’ve found with others and that does put me off other brands. I love the minimal design too.
“There isn’t anything I don’t like and was used/liked by all the family.”
Pros: Tastes great in tea | Climate-friendly brand | Carbon emissions are offset | Creamy and thick | Reasonable price
Cons: Taste takes getting used to but still one of the best oat milks for coffee
Barista Oat is priced at £10.80 for 6 x 1 litre at Minor Figures. Alternatively, buy it from Ocado for £1.80 for 1 x 1 litre.
3. Best organic plant based milk brands: Rude Health
It’s the only drink made with whole-grain brown rice. Plus, as with all Rude Health’s dairy free milks, it’s organic too.
The pebble team think that of all the rice milks, Rude Health’s brown rice drink is the best one to go for. It’s organic, which ensures the ingredients are sustainably sourced.
It’s also whole-grain brown rice which makes it as close to its natural state as possible. Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds that help keep you healthy.
Reviews found the brown rice drink “delicious and versatile,” pairing well with “tea, coffee, cereals etc.”
“The flavour and texture doesn’t change when heated up,” said one reviewer. Another said that it “doesn’t curdle with coffee either”.
Pros: Organic and 100% palm oil free | Brand partners with food waste charity FareShare | 88% recyclable packaging | Range of vegan milks available
Cons: Expensive in comparison to other brands
Brown Rice Drink is priced at £2.29 for 1 x 1 litre. View on Rude Health.
4. Healthiest milk alternative: Good Hemp
The brand is committed to having a positive impact on the planet. It grows climate-friendly crops, has a zero waste factory and uses recyclable packaging.
pebble Features Editor Francesca says Good Hemp Seed Milk has a “light a light taste that goes well with tea.”
She adds: “The plant based milk has a sweet flavour but it’s not too sweet or overpowering. This makes it a great option for tea, cereals and milkshakes.
“The texture is slightly creamy, but I would like it to be a tad creamier to pour over my porridge and froth up well for my coffee. If you like your coffee strong with a dash of plant milk then Good Hemp pairs very well.
“All in all, I was satisfied with hemp milk as a vegan alternative. It’s healthy too which is a big win for me.”
Read more about the benefits of hemp: Why Hemp And CBD Are Good For The Planet
Pros: Grows plant-friendly hemp | Seed Milk is nutritious and nut-free | Good Hemp is committed to its environmental impact | Vegan milk is a competitive price
Cons: Not as creamy as the other vegan milks
Seed Milk is priced at £12.00 for 6 x 1 litre at Good Hemp. Alternatively, buy it at Waitrose for £1.50 for 1 x 1 lire.
5. Best vegan milk in coffee: Mighty Drinks
Mighty Drinks uses yellow split peas and oats to create a low-impact and deliciously creamy vegan milk alternative.
The brand is serious about its footprint and has an Eco Impact A Label from Mondra, a sustainable food systems certification.
MIGHTY M.lkology Whole is high in Calcium, Vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals so it’s comparable to dairy but still 100% vegan.
It’s also one of the best tasting vegan milk alternatives!
Declan Wiseman, one of our testers from the Ripples by pebble community, found it had a “smooth, sweet taste – the blend of pea and oat is mild and it is really drinkable on its own, with a creamy and smooth consistency.”
He thought it was “too sweet in tea for my liking but the sweetness and smoothness go really well with a strong coffee.
“The mild smooth flavour and texture really goes well and complements cereal and worked well to produce fluffy pancakes and nice creamy mashed potatoes.
“It doesn’t produce too much microfoam when trying to make frothy milk. Splits in hot water unlike the other barista milks have tried. The protein content is ok but still not comparable to a glass of soya milk.”
Pros: High in protein | Vitamin and mineral rich | Creamy taste in tea and coffee | Brand is committed to its eco impact
Cons: Fairly expensive in comparison to other brands
Mighty M.lkology Whole is priced £12.49 for 6 x 1 litre. View on Mighty Drinks.
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