It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, finding a cafe that served oat milk was a rarity. Now, it’s totally commonplace. Baristas love oat milk because it froths better than almond or soy, which is crucial for creating that perfect foamy texture. And consumers like it because it tastes pretty close to cow’s milk. No wonder it’s the rising star in the alt-milk world.
The only possible downside of oat milk lattes: They’re only available at the coffeeshop (or, if you’re particularly industrious slash have your own milk frother, at home). Thankfully, the single-serve oat milk latte—where the trendy beverage is canned or bottled for added on-the-go convenience—was a big trend that the Well+Good team saw at ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural and organic product convention. (Check out our review on Instagram of some other cool products we saw if you’re curious!) Here’s the inside scoop.
The brand ahead of the curve
One company, RISE Brewing, is already ahead of the trend. They sneakily released America’s first organic canned oat lattes back in September in two flavors: original and mocha, both made with nitro cold brew coffee. Amazingly, when you pop the can open and pour it into a glass, you get the same heady foam as you would if you were getting the latte on draft.
“We decided to pair our already creamy and smooth Original Black nitro cold brew coffee with oat milk after over a year of trying virtually every existing dairy alternative,” says CEO and co-founder Grant Gyesky. “After evaluating three main components, taste, nutrition and consistency, we found that oat milk most closely replicates the time-tested balance of dairy and coffee.” However, when they were formulating their product last year, 100-percent organic oat milk didn’t exist. “So we developed a new [organic] oat milk from scratch using only four ingredients—oats, sunflower oil, water and a pinch of sea salt—with zero willingness to compromise on ingredients or taste.”
But RISE’s reign as the sole canned oat milk latte in stores is soon coming to an end. La Colombe—another brand that has the whole draft-latte-in-a-can thing downright perfected—told me at ExpoWest that they’ve been secretly formulating their own oat milk latte product. While the brand doesn’t have a product release date yet, it is in the works, so stay tuned.
Here’s what an RD thinks about our collective obsession with oat milk:
Next-level oat milk lattes
The innovation doesn’t stop with just having your own canned oat milk latte. Beverage brand Pop & Bottle is releasing a functional oat milk latte line in May (which will initially launch online, although the brand’s existing almond milk lattes are currently sold in stores nationwide). One will have stress-fighting adaptogens, one will have collagen, and one will have extra antioxidants.
“We saw our customers blending adaptogens (tulsi and ashwagandha specifically), collagen, and other functional ingredients into our lattes,” says Hannah Clark, a rep for the brand. She says Pop & Bottle wanted to make it more convenient for people to get these added nutritional perks from their coffees.
“Adding amazing benefits into your coffee is an easy way to get these into your daily diet, without having to take supplements which can be taxing,” she says. “We picked adaptogens, collagen, and antioxidants because these were the ingredients we most frequently got asked for, and we coupled them with delicious classic coffee flavors like vanilla and mocha, so that getting your daily caffeine and functional fix is delicious.” Oh and get this: Towards the end of 2019, they’ll be coming out with oat milk lattes with brain-boosting nootropics. Sign me up!
What Europe has that we don’t…yet
As for Oatly, the OG (and perhaps most popular) oat milk brand is getting close to gifting the States with their own canned oat lattes. “We’re still focused on upping production and are getting really close to opening our new factory in New Jersey. Once that happens, we can really focus on innovation and releasing new products,” Sara Fletcher, a rep for the brand, told me at ExpoWest. When pressed for what type of products exactly, her lips were sealed, but she winked and gave me a major clue: “Why don’t you take a look at what products Oatly already has out in Sweden?” she said. Not only does the brand have canned oat milk lattes readily available abroad, they also have matcha oat milk lattes. (Swedes have it good!)
Another European brand, Minor Figures, also has canned oat milk lattes available across the pond. TBD on if they’ll soon be available Stateside, but their oat milk is already popping up in cafes across the States. Similarly to Oatly and Elmhurst, the label is super clean: just water, oats, and rapeseed oil.
Oat lattes to-go with adaptogens, collagen, and nootropics? Grocery stores just might have your favorite cafe beat.
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