Let’s just start by clarifying that you don’t actually need to use a milk in preparing your cacao. Traditionally it was made with just water. We like to combine water with milk, it adds a rich creamy quality that we enjoy.
Plant milk, (including nut milks) have really come into their own recently. You could be forgiven for thinking plant milk is a new age phenomena but they’ve actually been prepared by different peoples around the world for centuries.
In our experience, most cacao connoisseurs make their brew with plant milk. A couple of cacao facilitators we know specifically recommend using plant milk, as dairy milk is said to block the effects of the cacao. In all honesty we can’t really opine on this point but have heard it from a couple of different sources, so wanted to mention it.
We’ve always used plant milk in preparing our cacao because it’s downright delicious, earth friendly and really compliments the decadent flavour of our cacao paste.
Different plant milks and our favourites
Our favourites are (in descending order) (1) Oat milk, (2) Almond milk (3) Coconut milk. We love these three because they are cost effective, tasty and really easy to source.
Hemp milk is also delicious – although has a distinctive flavour so may not be for everyone. It’s made from hemp seeds, which have a rich nutritional profile including omega 3 and omega 6. We found that it blends well with the cacao. If you have access to the seeds, it is easy to make as well. Venus Hemp are located super close to us in Devon and are our local source of hemp seeds (support UK farmers and source local).
We’ve never tried pea milk with cacao but are open to it – let us know if you’ve tried this!
We’ve made our own cashew milk at home too, and it was decadent when combined with cacao – although not necessarily recommended if you’re on a budget.
You can also use soya milk, which is widely commercially available. It’s not our favourite, but some people love the taste of soya milk. We’ve noticed that lots of soya milk is fortified with vitamins and minerals too, certainly a plus.
Finally peanut milk – we’ve only ever had this freshly served in a street market in Oaxaca, Mexico and it was incredibly delicious. We couldn’t tell you how to make it or where to source in the UK, but it was so tasty…it could be the ultimate when combined with our cacao paste.
Plant milk recommendations for the UK:
These are recommendations based on what we have tasted and really loved over the years in the UK.
Oat milk: Our favourite is Rerooted Organic oat milk. It’s delicious and comes in glass bottles that they recycle, plus they are based in our village Totnes (ticks so many of our boxes). We also love Minor Figures barista grade oat milk, a super convenient option available at most supermarkets. We really enjoyed Oatly, but diverted to Minor Figures after learning about their trademark battle against a family run farm…(just being transparent).
Coconut milk: Again, Rerooted do a cracking coconut milk. Our friends at Coconut Merchant also do a lovely coconut milk – and they’re a team committed to being ethically sourced (easy to source online and in your local health food shop).
Play around – see what works best for you, and as always, share with us your successes!