I have issues with soy milk.

I think it's yucky... always. I know it's necessary for lactose intolerant people, vegans, etc. so i wonder if there's a better way to do it so i don't feel like i'm poisoning my customers.

Perhaps I'm steaming it wrong or using a bad brand? Maybe rice or almond milk would be better?

I would love to hear some opinions on the matter.

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What's happening when you steam it?

Soy has a place - there are some drinks that turn out better, due to the slightly sweet nuttiness it adds (unsweetened soy, that is). I've been playing with a drink with wasabi and ginger, and nori flakes, which really won't work in anything BUT soy. It's also great if you want to fiddle with tea lattes, because the water content in the soy milk allows for a pretty decent tea steep, whereas moo juice just doesn't pick up tea well at all.

It does depend on brand, though. I've noticed the soy we use in my shop doesn't want to mix with the coffee at all when it's cold. I can't remember the brand off the top of my head, but it stays really cloudy and separates out, so customers often think it's gone bad.

Some soy that I've worked with won't produce foam at all, whereas others turn out very milk-like (I once got in an argument with a customer while working at a big chain - she wanted a soy cappuccino, and I suggested a latte because I'd never had decent foam out of soy. She insisted, and lo, for some reason this company's soy actually did produce foam).

I've experimented with rice and almond milk - the rice milk wouldn't produce any foam whatsoever, and turned out really thin and watery. The almond just got incredibly nutty in flavor, in addition to also being pretty watery. Maybe others have had different experiences.

Coconut milk is fun, but it gets INTENSE, and seemed to really just accentuate sourness with the espresso.
try hemp milk!!! it can be a little finiky in the foam department but it has a super unique flavor to it. experament, let us know what you come up with, cheers, paulito

Samantha Bako said:
What's happening when you steam it?

Soy has a place - there are some drinks that turn out better, due to the slightly sweet nuttiness it adds (unsweetened soy, that is). I've been playing with a drink with wasabi and ginger, and nori flakes, which really won't work in anything BUT soy. It's also great if you want to fiddle with tea lattes, because the water content in the soy milk allows for a pretty decent tea steep, whereas moo juice just doesn't pick up tea well at all.

It does depend on brand, though. I've noticed the soy we use in my shop doesn't want to mix with the coffee at all when it's cold. I can't remember the brand off the top of my head, but it stays really cloudy and separates out, so customers often think it's gone bad.

Some soy that I've worked with won't produce foam at all, whereas others turn out very milk-like (I once got in an argument with a customer while working at a big chain - she wanted a soy cappuccino, and I suggested a latte because I'd never had decent foam out of soy. She insisted, and lo, for some reason this company's soy actually did produce foam).

I've experimented with rice and almond milk - the rice milk wouldn't produce any foam whatsoever, and turned out really thin and watery. The almond just got incredibly nutty in flavor, in addition to also being pretty watery. Maybe others have had different experiences.

Coconut milk is fun, but it gets INTENSE, and seemed to really just accentuate sourness with the espresso.
My cafe switched from Silk soy milk to Pacific 'Barista Series' Soy milk about a year ago, and we love it.
The fact is, soy milk is the cheapest, most practical alternative to real milk. I've messed around with rice and hemp milk (not almond milk) and they cause too many taste problems in the final drink. Rice milk seems too watery and hemp milk is very dry and sedimentary. So regarding your personal problem, it sucks, but soy milk is 'in' for now.

But that doesn't mean that, perhaps, the soy milk you're using isn't up to the task - most soy milk wasn't made to be steamed to 155. The soy we use has given us a more 'milky', foamy texture in lattes and capp's, as opposed to the Silk soy we used previously that would tend to 'bubble up' more. As soy is water based, the trick is to make it not bubble up...
The best luck we have had is steaming soy with the same technique as we would for a cappuccino. Steaming no more than 15 seconds. Do not force foam after it starts to roll. Let me know how it works out for you.
I second Aaron on Pacific Foods "Barista Series" Soy milk. It has a higher fat content so that it textures similarly to whole milk. We actually have soy drinkers that will get whole milk now if we for some reason run out and pick something else up at the store. As far as taste I wouldn't really say there is an alternative.
Thanks for all the great comments. We've used several brands, but the common problem I have is that it bubbles too much and ends up burnt. My customers haven't complained much because their mostly strays from the starbucks that closed down the street, but I have gotten a few comments on it.
Silk "Coffee house blend" steams pretty well. We used "regular" silk for a long time and as soon as we tried the coffee house blend we switched right away. Good tight micro-foam. You can get nice caps and even get decent latte art. As far as flavor it's pretty sweet, a lot more than normal soy milk anyway. Other than that its just like vanilla soy milk. I can only imagine some of those "baristas choice" soys are even better...never tried any though.
to be completely honest, i have never had problems with soy. You should just buy a few containers for your self and practice steaming it, cause it can be tricky. We use the barista series pacific soy milk.
sometimes when it is spinning in the pitcher and there are a couple of bubbles, try getting the bubbles to spin to the center and fold under a with a little air.
Katy said:
Thanks for all the great comments. We've used several brands, but the common problem I have is that it bubbles too much and ends up burnt. My customers haven't complained much because their mostly strays from the starbucks that closed down the street, but I have gotten a few comments on it.
IT also has carageenan (or more carageenan) which is a seaweed extract. Carageenan acts as a thickening agent so the "milk" holds air better. You can definatly get great latte art with the Pacific Soy "barista series". Steam to a margionally lower temp and you won't get the burnt taste.

Katy, I don't mean to be too overly critical. But if you try a specially designed soy and you still get to many bubbles and a burnt taste, then you need to refine your technique. Good Luck!

Joshua "Yeshi" Longsdorf said:
I second Aaron on Pacific Foods "Barista Series" Soy milk. It has a higher fat content so that it textures similarly to whole milk. We actually have soy drinkers that will get whole milk now if we for some reason run out and pick something else up at the store. As far as taste I wouldn't really say there is an alternative.
We also use Pacific Foods "Barista Series" soy at my shop. I myself have never had any problem steaming it. The only only difference that I have noticed is that it heats up a lot faster than whole milk or even skim. I've gotten some really great latte art out of it too :)
Thanks for the advice. I finally took charge of the ordering and got some better soy using all the suggestions, and i'm not having as big of a problem anymore.
i also agree with pacific "barista series" i'm trying to become vegan and as someone who trying to not drink milk i love it. not as nutty and off tasting as all other soy milks.

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