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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I work with the soy blenders from pacific too. I've found that you can get great foam using it. to second several other people, the burnt taste is because soy tends to scald at a lower temperature than milk does. so if you are steaming your soy the same temp as your milk, it may come out burnt tasting and very strongly nutty. soy does tend to heat up faster as well so that target lower temp can really sneak up on you. I'm glad we all have such a wealthy source of knowledge, opinions, and other people's experiences/experiments to draw from with this forum/site! it's great!
Lewis Black said it best, "get that $*#@ away from my milk!" lol. technically it's soy juice yes?
We use a Moonrose brand silk at my shop; it is a little more difficult to get art-worthy microfoam out of it as it starts acting funny as soon as it hits 140 degrees, but it tastes & steams great, caps are no problem with a little practice. I have been very disappointed by every other kind of "off-the shelf" soy milk we have tried, at least for steaming purposes. Sounds like I need to give this "Pacific Soy Barista Series" a try, though.
Some of the best tasting and easiest soy I've worked with is just the plain Kirkland (Costco), weird as that sounds. Stuff's awesome. But here here to the Hemp, that's the business.

paulito said:
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.
Soy is big at our shop. We go through it like water. Although temperamental, one reason for heating faster is that we use a smaller pitcher than that of our whole or skim milk. Typically, a soy order is just one and therefore the smaller pitcher works better. I love the way it froths although I believe it gets grainy if brought any higher than 160. My opinion. PS, to drink, I don't like it either.
Pacific 'Barista Series' Soy...is all I have to say!
I've found a brand with a higher fat content now that works beautifully. My original frustration came from the costco brand kirkland. I wanted to throw things it made me so mad.

And to reassure, it was not my skill that was making the soy steam badly, if anyone is still wondering. I'm trying not to be affended by that assumption.
or offended either

Katy said:
I've found a brand with a higher fat content now that works beautifully. My original frustration came from the costco brand kirkland. I wanted to throw things it made me so mad.

And to reassure, it was not my skill that was making the soy steam badly, if anyone is still wondering. I'm trying not to be affended by that assumption.
Go Pacific. Also, as good as Silk tastes, that company has some serious ethical issues surrounding their "organic" status. I would be wary of Silk and go more local (if you're in North America and particularly West Coast) with Pacific, which I believe is made in Oregon.
We have been using Silk (regular, I had no idea about "Coffee House Blend") for some time and I had no issues with it. I could get a velvet textured froth every time but starting two months ago, it all went down hill. Same brand, same technique but the outcome was far from a smooth sheen. Our coffee manager buys are soy in bulk from the same source as usual so I can not figure out what went wrong.

Kevin Ayers said:
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.
Aaron McNany said:
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...

I also switched to the 'Barista Series' Soy, from Silk, because of cost issues, and customers have not voiced any opinions on the change. I find it to be creamy, able to make excellent latte art foam, and great cappuccino foam also. As stated in other replies, rice milk (I have never steamed almond milk) will not stretch, no matter what. I have used many brands of soy over the years, and for the money and the finished product, the 'Barista Series' is up to the task.
BonSoy -- made by Japanese Soy Masters! http://www.bonsoy.com/

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