We had hoped to be able to name this post “We Can’t Believe It’s ‘NotMilk,'” and we might have been able had we gone with the opinion of only five of our ten tasters. But when all opinions are present and accounted for, NotMilk — a plant-derived milk substitute — is not indistinguishable from cow’s milk, though it comes closer to capturing the the flavor and mouth feel of milk than any non-dairy milk product we’ve tasted to date.
What Is NotMilk?
The answer to this question according to the ingredients panel is water, sunflower oil, and pea protein with lesser amounts of pineapple juice concentrate, cabbage juice concentrate, and a half dozen or so ingredients with lengthy chemical names. According to the company’s website, NotMilk is the end-product of an artificial intelligence algorithm that could learn how to combine an infinite combination of plants to replicate the flavor and texture of animal products.
NotMilk is sold in half-gallon containers that can be found in the milk section of supermarkets (ours came from Whole Foods, where it sells for $4.99). There are both whole fat and 2% fat versions.
How Does It Taste?
We sampled NotMilk straight up as a beverage, and in cooking. We made a Mornay sauce using the product in place of cow’s milk and steamed it for cappuccino.
In a blind tasting, half our panelists believed they were drinking milk. Several described the whole fat alternative as unusually rich. Even those who noticed the difference between milk and NotMilk found the latter to have a pleasant flavor, claiming to detect a hint of sweetness.
Heating the product really accentuated its differences from cow’s milk. The sauce, for example, exhibited a gritty texture and a slight bitterness on the tongue. The product did a commendable job of frothing for cappuccino but left the drink with a distinct aftertaste.