I don’t know about you, but that morning coffee is just so damn special...Sometimes I yearn for it the night before!
The one cup of coffee I have in a day is my morning cup and making it has become a part of our morning routine as a family. Dennis is a coffee aficionado and loves researching what constitutes the “perfect” cup. We have a huge espresso machine at the studio and his favorite thing in the world (and what he missed the most since we closed the café) is chatting people up while making espresso. At home we have a smaller machine, but he still grinds our espresso fresh every morning (special ordered and organic!) and measures out the exact grams for each cup. I don’t understand much of it but I swear, it’s a science!
We normally have a cappuccino in the morning (Lea has a “babyccino”, sans coffee) and over the years it’s safe to say we’ve made our way through every single kind of vegan milk on the market. Our consensus, long before it was trendy, was that oat milk makes the best cappuccinos (and lattes!). I find almond milk too bitter for coffee, we try to avoid soy, so soy milk is out, rice milk is too watery, cashew milk doesn’t foam well...We’ve tried it all and its true: nothing beats the Oatly barista milk when it comes to making that perfect, creamy, foamy cappuccino. It’s just amazing!
Oatly is all the rage right now but being Swedish, I grew up on the stuff and have probably had more oat milk in my life than most people.
So it’s safe to say I was (unpleasantly!) surprised when I started seeing a lot of information online about the ingredients in Oatly not being 100% good for you. The second ingredient of Oatly is rapeseed oil, also known as canola oil. There is an important difference between rapeseed and canola oil though – for it to be labeled “canola” in foods it cannot contain more than 2% erucic acid, an acid that’s toxic in high amounts for humans. The more research I did on this the more concerned I became – very few foods actually have had to stick with the “rapeseed” labeling because of the concerns around erucic acid, but Oatly does. That’s really bad news! Also, to process the oil, industry standard is to use a chemical solvent called hexane, something I definitely don’t want as a part of my morning cup of coffee. In addition to this, there is a lot of research showing that canola and rapeseed oil is inflammatory for the body. Ugh! I know! I’m sorry to burst your Oatly bubble.
Now, whatever non-dairy option you have available to you is always going to be better than dairy and a cup here and there probably isn’t an issue, but if you drink it every single day like I do, looking for a healthier alternative might be a good idea. So! I’ve been experimenting with different alternatives to try and find the best home made vegan milk for cappuccinos. After lots of trial and error, I feel like I’ve finally nailed it!
This recipe calls for cashews, coconut, oats and hemp seeds (you can omit the hemp if you want; it’s not there for taste but for nutritional content!) and by making it in this specific way, you’ll get a milk that foams amazingly well. No oils or additives needed! It’s creamy and so delicious. It doesn’t taste exactly the same as the Oatly Barista (Dennis says it has a hint of coconut!) but it’s pretty damn close. Adjust the sweetness of it by adding more or fewer dates, and make sure you strain it well. You can also add a bit more water if you like it less thick. I hope you enjoy!
Better Than Oatly! (The Best Plant-Based Milk For Your Coffee)
Makes about 3 cups (0.7 liter/7 dl)
1/4 cup (.60 dl/60 ml) rolled oats (quick oats work too!)
1/2 cup (1.18 dl/118 ml) shredded coconut
1/8 cup (.30 dl/30 ml) hemp seeds
3 1/2 cups (8.28 dl/828 ml) of filtered water (add a bit more to thin it out if you prefer it less thick)
1 cup (2.37 dl/237 ml) of whole, raw cashews
Pinch of salt
1-2 pitted dates (adjust for sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla
1 nutbag or an old (but clean!) t-shirt for straining
Optional: for less coconut flavor, cut coconut in half to 1/4 cup (.60 dl/60 ml) and add 1/4 cup (.60 dl/60 ml) more of oats.
Put the oats, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, a pinch of salt, 1-2 dates, and filtered water in your blender (don't mix it yet!) and let soak while you prepare your cashews in the next step.
Add cashews to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn it off! Let the cashews soak in the very hot water for about 30 minutes (another option is to soak cashews overnight in cold water, but using hot water speeds the process up significantly!)
Strain your cashews and discard the water. Add them to the blender with your oat/coconut/hemp seed/water mixture. Blend for at least a minute (make it two!) and taste test. Add a teaspoon of vanilla. If you’d like it sweeter, this is where you can add in another date (or any other flavorings you like!).
Now it's time to strain! Grab your nutmilk bag, cheesecloth or old t-shirt and place over a large bowl, then carefully pour the milk into the bag/shirt. Close it up so there are no seams that can open and spill the milk. A nutmilk bag really is the best way to go about this, but as you can see, a t-shirt works well! Just make sure it’s clean. This step will take a few minutes as you’ll be squeezing along the way to get all the milk to come through.
Once it's all strained, save the nut paste that’s leftover and use for smoothies or baking! I keep ours in the fridge and add to Lea’s morning or afternoon smoothie for a protein boost. Pour your milk into a clean mason jar or glass bottle and you're all set. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days if for some reason you don't finish it right away (ours usually finishes in two!). If you notice it separating, just give it a good shake before using.
For a perfect cappuccino, steam the milk (be careful not to burn it!) or use a small handheld foamer for the most luxurious, silky cup of coffee at home. Enjoy!
Did you give it a try? Let me know what you think in the comments below!