Of all the available plant-based beverages, unsweetened almond milk is my favourite. I like the fact that it can be creamy, but not too watery or too thick. You can use it in tea and coffee without worrying about splitting, and even during cooking to add creaminess to dishes like curries.
Almond milk also does not have as much controversy surrounding it like soya milk.
While it is pretty easy to make almond milk at home, I prefer to buy commercially made varieties because they are usually fortified with essential minerals and vitamins. By drinking only 200ml of most commercial brands, you can get up to 15% of the daily recommended intake of calcium, vitamins B12 and D. You can make your own unsweetened almond milk by following this recipe.
How to make unsweetened almond milk
Soak 250g of almonds in water for at least 8-12 hours or overnight, then rinse the almonds thoroughly and peel their skins off. Tip the almonds into a food processor then add around 1 litre of water and blitz until smooth.
Pour the mixture through a muslin cloth, so that the milk goes through and the pulp remains in the cloth. Pass the strained milk through a clean muslin cloth a second time to remove any pulp that may have seeped through. Pour the milk into an airtight bottle and store it in the fridge where it will keep for around 3-4 days.
As I already mentioned, I prefer to buy commercially available almond milk because of the fortification. If you’re after fortified almond milk, make sure you read the ingredient list before purchasing because some of them are not fortified. Rude health, for instance, does not fortify its almond milk. The two brands I tend to buy most frequently are Alpro and Almond Breeze. I prefer one over the other, and I’ll share the reasons why in my comparison below.
Alpro: Water, Almond (2.3%), Calcium (Tri-Calcium Phosphate), Sea Salt, Stabilisers (Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum), Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Vitamins (Riboflavin (B2), B12, E, D2)
Almond Breeze: Spring Water, Almonds (2%), Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Stabiliser (Gellan Gum), Natural Flavouring, Vitamins (D2, E, B12).
The ingredients in both brands are very similar. Both versions are free from carrageenan, a thickener that is associated with gastrointestinal inflammation and increased rates of colon cancer. However, both brands still contain thickening gums. These gums are relatively safe, but they can cause gut issues if you have a sensitive gut. Locust bean gum, found in Alpro may also interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients such as calcium and iron from food.
The nutritional composition of both brands is practically identical. They each provide per 100ml, 13kcal, 1.1gfat, 0.2g carbohydrates, 0.5g protein, 0.15g salt, 0.75μg Vitamin D, 1.80mg Vitamin E, 0.38μg Vitamin B12, and 120mg Calcium.
Alpro has the added advantage of providing vitamin B2, so it is slightly more nutritious than Almond Breeze.
Consistency & Taste
Alpro has a slightly stronger almond flavour than Almond Breeze. However, Alpro has a thinner consistency than Almond Breeze. Almond Breeze is a lot creamier than Alpro. I enjoy my oatmeal bowls much more whenever I make them with Almond Breeze.
You can heat both brands of milk in the microwave without any splitting, and they’re both stable in tea or coffee. Alpro sometimes splits in coffee, but once stirred, it comes back together. As with my oatmeal, I find that my teas and coffees are significantly creamier, tastier, more flavourful and enjoyable with Almond Breeze.
Almond Breeze is the brand I prefer and it is the one I’ll recommend you try especially if you love your oatmeal, tea and coffee creamy.