Tea and milk went well together for decades. And they still do, except today, there's more than just one type of milk, and plant-based alternatives are more popular than ever.
Today, milk alternatives are as numerous as teas. In fact, some supermarkets may store more types of milk than types of teas!) If you still haven't found the best one, we tested some of them for you.
What Are Milk Alternatives?
Milk alternatives are all non-dairy milks. The most common ones include soy, oat, rice, coconut, almond and hemp. But there are many more types to choose from, from pea and hazelnut, cashew and peanut, barely and – potato. Yes, there is a potato milk too. In fact, we tried it, so keep reading to find out how well it goes with strong black tea.
Milk alternatives gained in popularity because they are dairy free and vegan friendly, but today they are loved by everyone. And, for a good reason. They taste delicious, contain no lactose, and may be more sustainable and eco-friendlier than regular cow's milk. There are many different types: nut-based milks, seed-based milks, fruit-based milks and plant-based milks. Some may blend several ingredients into a creamier milk with a more neutral, milk like flavour.
Is a Milk Alternative Healthier than Regular Milk?
There's no right or wrong answer to this question and some are healthier than the others. Dairy free milks can be unsweetened or sweetened, flavoured or unflavoured, made from a single ingredient or blended, enriched with vitamins and minerals, and even proteins. Calories will range significantly, from around 10 kcal to over 100 kcal per 100 ml. Some will be creamier than the others, some may be white, some may be light brown. Some may go well with tea and others are better for other purposes.
If you choose a single ingredient milk alternative, get to know the flavour first. Types with a stronger intense flavour may not always go well with delicate teas, as they will change the flavour of the tea significantly.
Which Tea Did We Choose for Tea and Milk Test?
To test these 5 milk alternatives, we choose a simple, strong and bold English Breakfast black tea. It's strong enough to be blended with almost any milk. Our test tea tastes delicious on its own, just as any good black tea should taste. How much did we add? About 10 ml of milk. A typical amount added to tea is 5-10 ml, less than you would add to coffee.
Types of Milk Used
Milk alternatives we tried:
- Rebel Kitchen Whole Mylk
- MIGHTY M.LKOLOGY Barista
- Alpro, This is Not M*lk Semi
- Wunda Original
- DUG Potato Barista
Why we chose these products? Rather than being a one ingredient milk alternative, all these milks (except one) are made with 2 or more ingredients, to make it as true alternative as possible. The final one was chosen because of its uniqueness. They all have a similar calorie value too, but different fat and sugar content.
Tea and Milk - 5 Milk Alternatives Tested
Rebel Kitchen Whole Mylk
The first milk alternative we tested was Rebel Kitchen Whole Mylk. Made with coconut cream, brown rice syrup, cashew nuts, oats and hemp protein, and no refined sugars, preservatives thickeners or stabilisers.
First thoughts? This milk is delicious. It's neutral, slightly nutty and creamy and has a neutral white colour. It's one of those drinks you would want to drink on its own all the time. Plus, it has only 36 calories and 1.6 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fat per 100 ml, which is low considering it's a whole milk. Flavour is quite neutral, so if you are looking for a milk alternative that taste and has a colour similar to milk, Rebel Kitchen Whole Mylk is a great choice.
There are some slight disadvantages too. You do need to shake it quite vigorously as it contains small clumps, and it will foam quite a lot. And in hot tea? It separates a bit, but gives a nice, brown deep colour. It doesn't ruin the flavour and is slightly more neutral than cow's milk.
Would we use it again? Definitely, but we would probably use it in iced milk teas. It's great for more delicate black teas because it won't cover the flavour either. This is a delicious milk, and a top choice if you don't mind the clumps.
Does it taste like milk? Yes
Is it good for tea? Definitely, but it might separate in hot tea.
What else did we like? Low fat, low sugar and low calorie, but still creamy and delicious.
You can get Whole Mylk directly from the Rebel Kitchen website.
MIGHTY M.LKOLOGY Barista
Mighty M.lkology has several types of milk alternatives, including original, whole, semi and barista. We chose the barista type, which is lower in sugar than the other three types. It has a slightly yellow colour. It's made with oats, coconut cream and pea protein, all of which implies the texture should be great for adding it to tea. Mightly M.lkology barista milk has 52 calories, 3.2 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of sugar per 100 ml. Texture is creamy, and it tastes great on its own, with a slightly nutty taste quite similar to regular milk.
In tea, this milk does add a light nutty note, but very similar to a regular cup of tea with milk. It doesn't separate or foams. This milk would be great with chocolate and nut black tea blends.
Does it taste like milk? Almost.
Is it good for tea? Yes, but it may add a nutty note.
What else did we like? Low sugar content and good on its own.
You can get Barista Not Milk from Mighty M.lkology website.
Alpro, Not Milk Semi
Alpro is famous for its plant-based milk alternatives, and some are super delicious. This milk is an oat-based milk with added pea protein. It has 47 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 1.2 grams of sugar per 100 ml and it's the closest to regular oat milk than other tested products. Try it on its own and you can taste the oats, and a slight real milk aftertaste.
It's thinner, and slightly brownish than other milks we tested, but this is a semi type, rather than whole milk. It still blends really well with hot tea and doesn't foam. We do wish it was a bit creamier, though.
Does it taste like milk? Flavour is closer to oat milk.
Is it good for tea? Yes, but it may add a slightly oaty note.
What else did we like? Low sugar and blends well without separating.
You can get Semi Not Milk from Alpro website.
Wunda makes two types of milk alternatives – original and unsweetened. Both are a pea-based milks, with chicory root fibre and vitamins. We chose the original milk, which, although sweetened, didn't taste too sweet, but just right.
Considering it's made from pea we expected a lot of creaminess. And creamy it was, with only 35 calories per 100 ml and 2.3 grams of sugar and 1.4 grams of fat. It has a nice texture, very light yellowish colour and a quite light flavour. In tea, it's neutral so you can taste the tea and it doesn't separate.
Potato Dug Barista
The final milk we tested was a potato milk by DUG. DUG is a Swedish brand that specialises in potato milk. Currently, they offer three types – original, sweetened and barista. We tried the barista one.
Potato Dug Barista milk has 57 calories and 3 grams of sugar and fat per 100 ml, and a very specific, intense flavour. It's made from potato starch and pea protein and contains vitamins. This milk does contain the highest amount of sugars, though, and it's the sweetest of all tested milks. It's the creamiest one too, with a very light, almost white colour.
If you ever wondered how potato milk taste in tea would, the answer is – great. Although you can feel a bit of starchiness when you taste it on its own, in tea is completely disappears. It gives a very pretty colour to tea, doesn't separate, and foams only a tiny bit. This milk is a great alternative for adding to black teas, and unsweetened it would probably be even better. In fact, it tastes even better in tea than in coffee.
Does it taste like milk? No, but we didn't expect that from this one.
Is it good for tea? Yes, it's surprisingly great for tea, even better than for coffee.
What else did we like? It tastes really good in black tea.
You can get Potato Barista milk from DUG website.
Which Milk is the Best for Tea?
There are dozens of other alternatives out there that may be great for tea. Every tea drinker will have different flavour preferences and may choose milk based not only based on flavour, but nutrient content too. Potato milk is quite amazing for adding to black tea, MIGHTY M.LKOLOGY Barista Not Milk is perfect if you don't mind small clumps, Wunda Original is a good and afe choice, and Alpro Not Milk and Mighty M.lkology taste great in pure teas and teas with nutty and chocolate notes.