September 28, 2011

Almond Milk Taste Test

All the almond milks I tasted were unsweetened plain almond milk, except for Trader Joe's which was unsweetened vanilla (they didn't carry plain). Trader Joe's milk is not pictured because I tried it before starting this blog and never bought it again.

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
I found Trader Joe's brand of almond milk in their refrigerated section in a half gallon carton that was cheaper than the brand names, so I got it. The flavor was okay. The texture was much thicker than I have ever had with any nondairy milk, but not creamy - it tasted artificially thick, almost slimy. I couldn't believe that a nut milk would produce such a weird texture, and upon checking the ingredients I was worried to see a lot of ingredients that I didn't recognize and looked like they came out of a chemistry book. The milk was white and somewhat transluscent like murky water, but I don't remember seeing any particles floating around.

Pacific Natural Foods Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk, organic
The milk came in a quart size asceptic box. The flavor was okay, but it tasted a little watered down. The texture was less slimy than the Trader Joe's, but still watery and not really much like a milk. It wasn't creamy and rich. If you look at the individual picture below, you can actually see particles suspended in the liquid. The milk was beige, with obvious particles, and slightly translucent, like murky water.
365 Whole Foods brand Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk, organic
I picked up the quart size asceptic box but the milk is also available in half-gallon refrigerated cartons. The flavor was similar to Pacific Natural Foods, that slightly watered-down almond flavor. The texture was a slight improvement over Pacific Natural Foods, but again if you look at the close-up picture you see particles suspended in the liquid. The milk was off-white/slightly beige, with small visible particles, and slightly translucent, like murky water.
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
Like the 365 Whole Foods brand, this milk also comes in asceptic boxes and refrigerated cartons. I have tried both and they taste exactly the same, the only difference is that the refrigerated half-gallon carton is a better deal. The almond flavor is comparable to the other three brands above, but the texture is on a whole other level. The milk is smooth, creamy, and rich, like I expect a milk to be. The texture brings the almond flavor to a height beyond that of the other brands I tried. The smoothness and creaminess of the milk helps deliver the flavor nicely in your mouth. The milk was white and opaque with no particles.

Clockwise from top: 365 Whole Foods brand organic (top, center), Pacific Natural Foods organic (bottom right), Blue Diamond Almond Breeze (bottom left). Compare the colors:

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze:

365 Whole Foods (notice the suspended flecks):

Pacific Natural Foods (notice the greater amount of suspended particles):

My favorite out of all the brands is Almond Breeze. I have also tried their other flavors such as sweetened plain, sweetened and unsweetened vanilla, and sweetened and unsweetened chocolate, and they are all delicious.
What is your favorite almond milk or other plant-based milk? What are important elements of a milk to you?

Vegan on a Shoestring

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