Plant milk is a great alternative to dairy milk, offering a variety of flavours, textures, and nutritional benefits, there are so many delicious plant milk options to choose from. These include almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, macadamia milk and flax milk. All of these plant milks are dairy-free, vegan-friendly, and can be used in a variety of beverage recipes.
Plant milks, especially those that are fortified with calcium and other minerals, can leave residue in your coffee machine. These residue can build up over time and impact your machine, affecting its performance. There are numerous other elements of plant milks that may impact your machine and how it needs to be cleaned. Let's explore the two main factors and how they are different from dairy milks:
Plant based milks generally need to be heated at lower temperatures. If the temperature is too high when steaming milk, the milk can scorch or curdle. Scorched milk can be very hard to remove and result in stubborn stains requiring the right product to help break down the burnt milk from milk jugs or steam wands.
Plant milks, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, often contain additives, these additives are used to improve texture, flavour, and nutritional value. Some common additives include, sugars, vitamins, minerals, gums, stabilisers, and emulsifiers. These additives are generally considered safe and are used in small amounts to enhance the overall quality of the product. It is these additives that can leave behind a residue in coffee machines because they don't disperse as easily as dairy milk.
Alternate Milks in cafés vs. home use
If you go to the supermarket and buy oat or almond milk, you'll notice that you've got two options: your regular alternate milk or barista quality. The regular alternate milks are more for smoothies and milkshakes, whereas barista milks are more suited for Café usage, and the difference is in the added sugar content. Cafés use barista milks that contain added glucose which makes them velvety and easier to steam, this is what gives you that glossy texture you see when you order your barista coffee.
Interestingly enough, the Specialty Coffee Association World of Coffee Championships in Athens this year was the first time we witnessed a number of competitors use alternate milks. In fact, Denmark who came 6th used 10% coconut milk.
Around the world and in Australia especially, soy milk was the most popular alternate milk, then almond. But we've recently seen oat milk really storm onto the scene as the fastest growing alternate milk and has overtaken soy in many parts of the world. What does the next 5 years mean for plant based milk? Time will tell!
However your enjoy your plant-based milk, it's important to take care of your machine by protecting it from milk residue and hard water scale from milk lines and frothers. Whether your coffee machine is working with hard water or if you need a cleaner that can break down build up from milk-based products, our Milk Cleaner range has a product to suit any type of machine. 🥛