Almond Milk vs. Oat Milk
Go into any coffee shop or cafe, and you’ll see an ever-growing list of alternatives that you can use instead of dairy milk. Almond and oat milk are popular choices, but when it comes to almond milk vs. oat milk, how much do you know?
Both can be used in coffee, but you have to play to their strengths. While almond milk works great when blended or mixed into coffee, oat milk can be steamed or frothed better.
These plant-based milk options are great for people who don’t like or want to avoid dairy. When fortified, their vitamin and mineral nutrition content rival that of cow’s milk. Either almond or oat milk for coffee can be a healthy choice.
As we look more into this topic, here are some things we’ll cover:
Why Choose Oat Milk or Almond Milk?
While dairy milk remains the most common version of milk, many people are choosing to experiment with plant-based options. The most common — soy, almond, coconut, and oat milk. However, there are many other alternatives. So why are people choosing plant-based milks?
There are several reasons why people decide to move away from dairy milk:
- Allergies are a big influence. People who are allergic to dairy or are lactose-intolerant obviously want to avoid it.
- Vegans exclude all animal products, including cow’s milk from their diet.
- Those who are trying to make healthier choices feel that plant-based milk is better for you.
- Some simply prefer the taste.
If you want to know more, check out our guide to the best non-dairy milk for coffee.
All About Almond Milk
Almond milk is — you guessed it! — made from almonds that are ground or crushed and soaked in water, then filtered. If you’re purchasing it from a store, it may contain other ingredients like sweeteners or thickeners. And, if you’re allergic to almonds or tree nuts, it goes without saying, you should avoid.
The unsweetened version is low in both calories and sugar. It’s also a low-fat beverage, and it doesn’t contain much protein. Natural almond milk carries a creamy, nutty flavor, while its texture is thin and can appear watery. What’s more, as it’s low in fat and protein, it doesn’t steam or froth very well.
Assuming that almond milk is unsweetened and fortified, it’s a healthy drink — containing calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
Almond milk nutritional information (8 ounces/one cup):
- Calories: 39.3 Kcal
- Fat: 3.0 grams
- Protein: 1.05 grams
- Carbs: 3.4 grams
- Dietary fiber: 0.524 grams
- Calcium: 24% of Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 4% of DV
- Vitamin D: 18% of DV
- Vitamin E: 110% of DV
All About Oat Milk
Made from groats, the whole-grain kernel of oats, rolled, or steel-cut, oat milk is made by blending with water, then straining. Store-bought oat milk may also contain additional ingredients like sweeteners. If you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, make sure you look for gluten-free versions.
Oat milk has a creamy texture that’s very similar to that of dairy milk. You can steam and froth oat milk, but it may take a little longer to get the texture just right.
Unsweetened oat milk does have more calories than other plant-based milk, but when it’s fortified, it also contains vitamins B2, B12, D, and A, along with calcium. Some evidence suggests that oat milk may help lower LDL, the bad cholesterol.
Oat milk nutritional information (8 ounces/one cup):
- Calories: 120 Kcal
- Fat: 4.99 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Dietary fiber: 1.92 grams
- Vitamin B12: 50% of Daily Value (DV)
- Riboflavin: 45% of DV
- Calcium: 25% of DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of DV
- Vitamin D: 20% of DV
- Vitamin A: 20% of DV
- Potassium: 8% of DV
- Iron: 2% of DV
Almond vs. Oat Milk Similarities and Differences
Besides the obvious fact that they’re both plant-based, there are other similarities between oat vs. almond milk. And of course, when side by side, there are also some distinct differences.
Almond milk and oat milk come in sweetened and unsweetened varieties. And, when purchased commercially, they’re typically fortified with vitamins. Check the labels carefully to verify that you’re buying the type you prefer.
Both also contain allergens, albeit different ones, so proceed with caution if you have a history of allergies. However, either one is a good choice for people who are lactose-intolerant or those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
When it comes to oat milk vs. almond milk, calories are a big difference. Unsweetened almond milk is lower in both calories and carbohydrates than unsweetened oat milk. However, the former has a slightly higher fat content, simply because almonds are naturally high in fat. Both are still healthy choices, but if you’re trying to lose weight, almond milk wins here.
That said, oat milk is a better fiber source than almond milk, contains more protein, and may taste sweeter — even the unsweetened version. Oat milk also froths better than almond milk, so if you’re considering oat milk vs. almond milk for coffee, take that into account.
Differences: Eco Impact
Manufacturing almond milk is more water-intensive than oat milk. According to the BBC, one glass of almond milk needs 74 liters, or 130 pints of water. By comparison, a glass of oat milk requires far less. However, almond milk still uses less water than traditional dairy milk processing.
Continuing the environmental impact of almond vs. oat milk, the latter does require more land space than almond milk. Almonds come from trees, while oats require open fields.
Oat vs. Almond Milk — Which One Is Best for Coffee?
Whether almond milk is better than oat milk or vice versa really depends on your reason for and how you plan to use it. Almond milk works well when it’s blended with coffee, rather than layered with texture or foam. Oat milk blends well, but it can also be used for steaming or foaming.
If you’re experimenting with oat milk vs. almond milk in coffee, either is a great choice. Oat milk has a natural sweetness, plus it’s creamy like the dairy version. Almond milk is thinner, with a nutty taste that can complement certain coffee flavors. From a health standpoint, almond milk is a better choice, at least the unsweetened version, since it’s much lower in calories and carbohydrates.
Plant-based milks are here to stay, so remember the details of almond milk vs. oat milk to make your choice.
Almond Milk vs. Oat Milk FAQs
Is Oat Milk Better than Almond Milk for Coffee?
Both can work well, but you have to know how to use them properly. Oat milk can be blended with coffee, and it can also be steamed and foamed, although it might take a little longer than dairy milk. In contrast, almond milk doesn’t steam or foam brilliantly, but it can complement coffee flavors nicely when blended.
Does Oat Milk Separate in Coffee?
Yes. This is thanks to too much acidity when oat milk is combined with already acidic coffee. Super hot coffee can also cause oat milk to separate. To prevent this, make sure that your oat milk is fresh, and brew your coffee at a slightly lower temperature.
Is Oat Milk or Almond Milk Better for Weight Loss?
If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll want to avoid sweetened forms of oat and almond milk, as both are fairly high in calories. In unsweetened form, almond milk has fewer calories and is the better choice for weight loss.
Does Almond Milk Change the Taste of Coffee?
Yes. There is a distinct nutty flavor to it, so that’s going to alter your coffee’s taste, at least slightly. If you use a coffee that has a nutty flavor profile, almond milk will increase that flavor.
Is Iced Coffee Better with Almond Milk or Oat Milk?
We’d suggest oat milk in iced coffee, mostly because it won’t alter the taste the way almond milk might. Oat milk is creamy and naturally sweet, so you may not even need to add sugar.
What Does Oat Milk Taste Like?
Oat milk, even the unsweetened version, has some natural sweetness. Its taste is milder than some other plant-based milks, and it has a creaminess that’s comparable to dairy milk.