I’ve done you the supreme favor of making a quiz that tells you what alternative milk you are. And now, dear reader, I’ve done you another solid. I bought the Almond Cow.
For the uninitiated, there are many ways to make non-dairy milk. I usually use a blender, but after Instagram targeted ads got to me, I found the Almond Cow. What sold me on the machine was reading how much you can save on milk like oat milk by making it on your own. I’m an oat milk slut, and this house is an oat milk house. I’m partial to the Chobani Extra Creamy one that I can only find at an expensive organic grocery store.
I watched YouTube videos on the Almond Cow and saw many Black women reviewing the machine, and if there’s one person I trust it is a Black woman. I did all my research, weighed the pros and cons, and decided to get one for myself.
The Almond Cow arrived at my apartment in a big box with a cute little almond-shaped cow on it. Very nice marketing. I love cows, I love non-dairy milk — this machine was already speaking to me from the box!
I took the thing out of the box and cleaned all of its parts, carefully examining them and being cautious not to get certain outlets wet. The Almond Cow comes in four basic parts: the base where you put all the water, the collector cup where you can also put water, the basket where you put your ingredients, and the head, which comes with a blade attached. The collector cup also holds the basket when it is attached to the head, but it is primarily used to make more concentrated milk or creamers.
The next morning, I drained and rinsed the oats. They had become kind of slimy, which I didn’t like. I added them to the ingredients basket with a dash of salt (for preservation and flavor) and a few glugs of agave nectar.
Once the basket is filled, you attach the head and the blade by tilting both at an angle and twisting the basket to the left. It sounds more complicated than it is, and there are arrows that help you along the way on each part.
After that, I filled the base to the minimum line which is about five cups of cold, filtered water. One of the cool benefits of the Almond Cow is that, unlike a blender, it doesn’t heat up the milk because of intense blending. So you can serve it chilled fresh out of the machine.
I put all the parts together, plugged it in, and pressed the cute little almond cow button on top of the head.
In all of the videos of people using the machine, it sounds like it makes but a whisper or they cut out the blending portion of the video. Don’t be fooled by this — this thing is loud! Also, don’t be fooled when it goes quiet: It runs in three cycles all at different times, stopping between each session. So only remove the head of the machine when the green light on top becomes solid green.
The milk came out kind of thin and was very frothy on my first go. I tasted it, and it had a weird aftertaste. I was not impressed. I figured that soaking the oats added to this and resolved to not soak them the next time. Unfortunately, I was now faced with my thin oat milk that I didn’t want to drink.
Reader, I poured it down the drain.
I know I know. Food waste is bad! But I couldn’t stomach it. The shit was nasty, you hear me?? Also, did I mention it made me throw up!? Not because of the taste, I think my body just wasn’t used to the raw ingredients, and I puked. Gross, I know.
I rinsed all the parts and made the next thing I wanted to try: a vanilla cinnamon oat creamer. This time I filled the collector cup to the 500 mL line and added all the ingredients to the basket, etc.
I did NOT soak the oats, and after running the machine I immediately noticed the difference. I now had a thick, very tasty creamer to add to my coffee in the morning. I added it to a cup of tea that night and it didn’t separate. Success!
A few days later, I tried my hand at making more oat milk. It went better than the first time, but I still wasn’t nailing what I wanted to: that thick, creamy texture that wouldn’t break up in hot coffee and tasted oat-y and sweet. Because oat milk is made from a grain, it has very little fat. This is often supplemented in factory-made oat milks with the addition of oil for its lipid content. This gives the milk its creamy texture.
So, I tried adding oil to my next batch of oat milk. It came out creamier at first, but then the oil separated and just…sat all sad on top of the milk. Homemade milk separates, it’s not as stable, no big deal, just shake it up. But I wanted that Chobani-like goodness, that thiccc milk!
Thinking about the lack of fat in my milk, I turned to my next favorite alternative milk: cashew. I bought a bag of raw unsalted cashews and added about a half cup to my NEXT batch of milk.
I should say, the Almond Cow can make a full half-gallon of milk if you fill it all the way. I was only filling it to the minimum line and was drinking roughly five cups of milk in about 4-5 days. I was making chocolate milk, adding it to smoothies, pouring some in my coffee, and the like. So when I made my first cashew-oat milk, I had tried a couple of batches of just plain oat, and had high hopes.
I made the cashew oat milk with a half cup of oats and a half cup of cashews, a dash of salt, and those glugs of agave nectar. I ran the machine, it churned and growled like an animal. I removed the head and under all that frothy foam was some thicc-ass milk.
The milk was thicker now and had a wonderful oat flavor. But I still wasn’t satisfied. I thought to myself: What am I doing wrong? How can I achieve the mouthfeel and flavor I want from this stuff? I tossed and turned at night until I rolled over into the arms of my phone and ended up on the Almond Cow YouTube page. The first video I saw was one on how to get thicker milk.
I shook my head no at a couple of options, then landed on one that piqued my interest. The video suggested running the machine twice, and on the second run using a fresh batch of ingredients. So, you run it once. Rinse out the basket, add new ingredients, then run it again. This means you add more ingredients to the first batch of milk, resulting in a luxurious viscosity.
I tried this method the next day.
Biiiiiiitch, my milk!
It was so creamy, so thick, so flavorful. I poured it into the glass jug that I bought with my Almond Cow, and it flowed like a river of gold. I added it to my morning coffee, with no separation. Added it to my nightly cup of tea, absolutely heavenly, added it to my smoothies and milkshakes, the perfect addition.
So I now had the perfect recipe and perfect process for thick milk. I want to try making plain oat milk with this method, for my friends with nut allergies, but I’m in love with the cashew-oat mixture. It is so good! It even steams well. A blissful milk combination that doesn’t taste too oat-y or too nutty.
There’s some sitting in the fridge right now, and to be honest, I’ve got a hankerin for it. I’m so in love with this milk I’m using words like “hankerin” like I’m a Midwestern white father of four.
I saw a cute video of some kids making “unicorn milk’ using the machine, a pink milk that is achieved by using beet powder and vanilla extract for sweetness. I want unicorn milk. I’m a femme that loves pink, and I’m gay!
They’ve even got recipes for potato milk, which, as much as I love potatoes, I will not be trying. I will be trying to make horchata though, or maybe purple milk using beet powder and blue spirulina! That will probably taste like ass, but it will be pretty! Look at the number of exclamation points I’ve used in the last two paragraphs and tell me you don’t see a woman in love, a woman whose zest for life has been invigorated, all because she’s saving on plant-based milk.
Are you sold, will you buy the Almond Cow? Have you already bought one?! Let’s talk!