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What is "Barista" Oat Milk?

Ever tried steaming up a latte or cappuccino with a plant-based milk that wasn’t labeled ‘barista’? You were probably more than disappointed by the result. So  you ask, what is in the baristas’ milk that makes their drinks so much creamier and easier to steam and foam?

The “Barista” label on the plant based milk containers isn’t just to add to the coffeehouse aesthetic. Non-dairy milk lacks the chemistry to produce a rich and creamy latte on its own. That’s why barista-style milk is specially formulated to steam, stretch, and foam in a latte. 


First, let’s start with what makes dairy milk foam...

Dairy milk is composed of fat, lactose, and protein. The fat content not only tastes rich and creamy; it also allows the milk to be more stable when frothed.

The lactose gives frothed dairy milk a mildly sweet taste. During the frothing process, lactose breaks into the smaller, simpler sugars which help the milk reach its sweetest point. If you keep steaming past the ideal temperature, the sweetness will go away as the sugars break down beyond taste. The optimal temperature for flavor and enjoyment lingers around 140°F. Easily unnoticed but critical factors, like temperature, will greatly impact the taste of your latte or cappuccino.

Whey and casein are the main proteins in milk. These proteins act in a similar fashion to fats when heated, they stabilize the encased air and form the bubbles and foam. They are most stable at about 140°F, after that, the shape and texture of your foam may not be ideal. The merging of the fats and proteins highlight milk’s heavenly taste characteristics in espresso.

Be careful and try not to ever re-steam milk as health, taste, and texture are all negatively affected.


So, how do you create a ‘barista’ plant-based milk that behaves like dairy?

In a nutshell, barista-style milk incorporates more fat in order to produce a creamier texture similar to dairy. The most basic plant-based milk you buy at the grocery store may not be made with this intent in mind and won’t have the fat content needed to create this texture. Many plant-based milk brands add fats from highly processed rapeseed or canola oil and add phosphate ingredients, which may be harmful when you consume too much of them.  

At Willa’s, we chose to take a different path. Ours is the only dairy-free barista milk to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency using only organic, non-GMO sunflower oil and naturally derived ingredients. We pride ourselves in only using the highest quality ingredients so you can feel good about drinking it every day.

We choose to use just a bit of organic sunflower oil for its healthy fat content, and plant-derived ingredients that allow our Barista Oat Milk to foam like a dream. You can read more about the ingredients we use and why we don’t use poor quality oils or phosphate ingredients in our FAQs.