I Tried Pea Milk and It's Definitely Not the Worst Thing I've Ever Tasted
Yeah, there’s a new milk alternative in town — which is good for those who can never have too many choices.
Is there no end to the milk alternatives? Those who, for whatever reason, eschew dairy, have a ton of options, each with its own advocates: You got your soy milk and almond milk, your cashew milk and rice milk, your oat milk, hemp milk, pecan milk and coconut milk.
That is undeniably a lot of milks. Whether it is enough milks is another question. Recently a new milk has entered the scene: pea milk.
Go ahead and giggle at the name (because … pea milk … hahahaha), but apparently it’s a serious new contender for consumers’ milk-alternative attention.
Whole Foods U.K. recently included it on its list of food trends to watch for in the coming year, the high-end supermarket’s “predictions for what’s going to be in our kitchens in 2019.”
Already available in the U.S., it certainly doesn’t seem to be widely so — at least if my experience is any indication. Determined to taste it, I went looking for it at four different grocery stores (driving from store to store because I couldn’t bring myself to call up and ask if the stores carried “pea milk”), before finally finding it at my local Whole Foods — where I probably should have looked in the first place.
The brand I found, Ripple, boasts 8 grams of protein per serving, which it says is equal to what you would get from a serving of regular milk -- and eight times as much as you would from an equal serving of almond milk. It also claims to contain 50 percent more calcium than 2% milk – and way less sugar than regular milk and less, too, than almond, cashew or coconut milk. (In a couple of Ripple flavors there is no sugar at all.) Plus it promises to deliver DHA Omega-3s, Vitamin D and Iron — but not a lot of saturated fat.
Add that to the declaration that Ripple is nut, lactose, gluten, soy, GMO and of course dairy free — not to mention 100 percent vegan, plus purportedly good for the environment and your waistline — and a pea milk seems like it would be at least worth a try.
So I tried it …
And? Well, for starters, it wasn’t super-cheap. A 48-ounce bottle of cost me $5.29 at Whole Foods. Target sells the same bottle for $4.29. I usually pay around $2 for a 32-ounce carton of almond milk, my go-to milk alternative.
As for taste, Ripple makes pea milk in five varieties: Original, Unsweetened Original, Vanilla, Unsweetened Vanilla and Chocolate. I bought the Unsweetened Original – perhaps because I am virtuous but really because that’s what my Whole Foods had left in a mostly empty case, which for all I know means the other flavors are preferable to the pea-milk-buying public.
The Unsweetened Original pea milk was beige-ier than regular milk and tasted a little like flour on its own. (My husband compared it to drinking a whole-wheat cracker, just to give you a second opinion, though neither he nor our teenage son was especially turned off by it.)
It was a little on the thick side and so seemed a bit gluey on my cereal. But it actually works pretty well as a creamer in my morning coffee. The floury aftertaste is imperceptible in this context, and the thickness means a little goes a long way.
Verdict? I’m not sure whether I will buy it again — I do enjoy my almond milk — but I might. I’ll certainly finish the bottle I already have in the fridge without any dread. After all, it can be good to mix things up a bit.