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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, 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 steamed.

The lactose gives steamed dairy milk a mildly sweet taste.

During the steaming 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. Once the temperature surpasses 155°F, the sweetness will fully give way to a flat and papery taste.

The main proteins in milk are whey and casein. These proteins act in a similar fashion to fats when heated, stabilizing the encased air and forming bubbles and foam. They are most stable around the sweet spot of 140°F; after that, the shape and texture of your foam also becomes less stable. 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.

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

You can read more about the ingredients we use and why we organic high-oleic sunflower oil in our FAQs

Shop Willa's Barista Oat Milk!

Wondering how to steam barista oat milk? Check out our post here!