Minor Figures Oat Milk
First of all, I have to give this brand points for the extremely endearing packaging, which features a woman dressed as a bird drinking a cappuccino (+2). Apparently her name is Penelope (+1). I wish it was a teeny bit sweeter and a teeny bit thicker because I like my oat milks to taste like milkshakes (-2), but the overall flavor was pleasantly reminiscent of the bottom of a cereal bowl (+1). I would imagine it tastes even better heated up in a latte or cappuccino, seeing as it was formulated by baristas for this exact purpose, but I had to stick to the straight formula for the purposes of this experiment.
Final score: 3
Oatly! Oat Milk
Pleasantly thick (+1). SUPER creamy (+3). Just the right amount of sweet (+1). I would compare the consistency of Oatly less to the bottom of a cereal bowl and more to a scoop of vanilla ice cream that has melted, which is why it works so well in caffeinated drinks. It’s like a non-dairy version of half and half. Kudos to Oatly for having some of the weirdest, most entertaining packaging in the game (+1). I particularly enjoy the fact that pretty much all of their product copy involves a run-on sentence.
Final score: 6
Pacific Oat Milk
Hmm. I did not like this one. I wanted to like it, just like I wanted to like beets when I recently tried them for the umpteenth time in my adult life, but alas, in both cases, I would simply prefer to be consuming something else. Pacific oat milk is extremely liquid-y, which makes me think it would detract from a caffeinated drink instead of enhance it (-1). It’s also very sweet. Too sweet (-2). I was pretty surprised when I checked the list of ingredients and found them to be pretty much identical to that of the other oat milks I had sampled. There was no added sugar. Not even honey! A true mystery, especially because the nutritional information indicates that a cup of Pacific oat milk has more than twice the amount of sugar (19 grams) than most of the other oat milks. I’ll throw it a point for being the only organic option, though (+1).
Final score: -2
Happy Planet Oat Milk
This one was just the right amount of sweet (+1). Like a work friend who will pick kale out of your teeth with her own fingernail but will mock you for your admittedly questionable taste in music. It did, however have a slightly musky aftertaste, which is common to a lot of non-dairy milks, which isn’t the end of the world, but not my fave if I’m being picky (-1). Overall the taste and lighter consistency actually reminded me of macadamia milk, which I tried once when my neighborhood café was out of oat milk, but slightly creamier (+1) and more refreshing (+1).
Final score: 2
Silk “Oat Yeah” Oat Milk
Not super sweet, but also not completely devoid of that tell-tale oat-y taste. It has a nice, balanced flavor profile (+1), and is pretty creamy (+1). The taste was similar to that of Silk’s soy milk, and had the kind of consistency I actually enjoyed drinking straight from a glass. Bonus point for a funny name (+1), but I’m inclined to deduct one given that its ingredient list included the most additives of any I tried (-1).
Total score: 2
Califia Farms Oat Milk
Quite creamy this one is, my lieges (+2). Don’t ask me why I decided to write this sentence like I’m Yoda or why I’m now referring to you as a feudal superior, because the boring answer is simply that it just felt right. Am I high on too much oat milk? I wouldn’t put it past me. I would, however, endorse the subtle sweetness of Califia’s oat milk before a jury of my peers (+1), which is especially notable since it has the least sugar of any that I tried (+2). I do wish it was a little thicker, but only for the purposes of my ideal hot latte (-1).
Total score: 4
I was very willing to cede my oat milk loyalties to another brand besides Oatly as a result of this experiment but, I cannot lie. It’s still my favorite. That being said, if you prefer a slightly less milkshake-y vibe in your morning coffee, I would heartily recommend Califia. If you like macadamia milk, I think you’d really like Happy Planet’s oat milk. Ditto for Silk’s “Oat Yeah” if you’re a soy lover. Opt for Minor Figures if you’ve always wanted to befriend a woman named Penelope dressed as a bird. Slurp up some Pacific if you have a sweet tooth that won’t quit. There’s truly an oat milk for everyone, and that concludes my sermon for today.
Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.