Ranking dairy alternatives from a cultured lactose intolerant’s perspective

Milky madness galore!

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Person standing in the dairy alternative aisle at grocery store holding almond and cashew milk.
PHOTO: Prerita Garg / The Peak

By: Izzy Cheung, Staff Writer

Picture this: it’s a Monday morning, you’ve just found out that you’re lactose intolerant (or maybe have issues digesting dairy, we’ve all been there), and you just spent a small fortune on dinner the night before. You couldn’t sleep last night because you were too busy thinking about one thing in particular — what kind of milk alternative you would now pick for your morning coffee, seeing as you’re now lactose intolerant. You’re going to spend that extra dollar, of course, seeing as you don’t want to aggravate your stomach during your first class of the day. How will you ever end up deciding which milk would best suit your latte? Here is a comprehensive ranking to help you pick. 

  1. Coconut milk 

Coconut milk’s ranking depends on what drink you’re getting. Iced matcha latte? Possibly higher on the list. Caramel macchiato? Sure, if you want it to taste like a sour patch kid. Coconut milk is for those with a particular taste profile. For me, the slightly sour aftertaste that it typically carries reminds me of having too many candies on Halloween and having the sour sugar overtake my tastebuds. It’s not great, and neither is the fact that a lot of coconut milk is made from exploited work in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and India (don’t start celebrating yet, almond milk, you’re not innocent either). Either way, coconut milk is not for me. Yay! 

  1. Almond milk 

Nut milks have always been so interesting to me. Like, how did we as a society randomly decide that we could make milk out of nuts? I question what the person who first created almond milk was doing when they came up with this concept (let’s not even get started on how dairy milk may have been discovered . . . ). Anyways, this milk’s taste profile is subjective (I guess all of the milks on this list technically are). I find that some brands of almond milk virtually taste like water. This isn’t really surprising though, given the fact that it takes almost 6,100 litres of water to produce one litre of almond milk. Yay! 

  1. Cashew milk 

I’ve never tried cashew milk. It’s at this random spot in the list because honestly, it sounds too bougie for me. Yay! 

  1. Soy milk 

Soy milk is okay. Like some of the others on this list, I’m not sure how it would taste in a mocha or caramel macchiato, for instance, but it’s great in a matcha latte. Personally, when I think of soy, I think of tofu (or other things with more of a savoury taste profile), but I can understand why people would like it. Yay! 

  1. Oat milk 

Yes, I am basic. Yes, I love oat milk. Yes, I pay the extra dollar every time I get a drink in order to have it with oat milk even though I’m not technically lactose intolerant (tested and proven, kind of). I can’t help it — this alternative has a grip on me. Something about an oat milk mocha from Blenz just calls to me. Sure, I could have my drinks with regular dairy, but that would probably increase the likelihood of my stomach hating me for the rest of my day. It’s just . . . different. There’s just something special about oat milk that I can’t quite put my finger on. Yay!

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