Everything You Need to Know (and more) About Minor Figures Oat Milk!
by Kennadee Wilkie
What Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a type of plant milk developed from whole grain oats by extracting the plant material with water. It is a vegan alternative that is quickly becoming a favourite in the coffee community among baristas and consumers alike.
What Is Minor Figures Oat Milk?
Minor Figures oat milk was specifically formulated by baristas for baristas. It is fully foamable - steaming and pouring like whole milk; a barista's dream! Minor Figures oat milk allows you to be in total control of the density and performance of your foam so that you can showcase your best latte art skills.
Like other Minor Figures products, their oat milk is plant-based, dairy-free, lactose-free, and free from animal protein. There are no added sugars, with the sweet flavour coming from sugar that is naturally occurring in the oats.
Minor Figures is one of three companies in the world that can use the favourable patented enzyme-process of producing the oat milk product.
Try some in a latte or pick some up at home at Genius Coffee N' Espresso Equipment in Burnaby, or at any of our amazing partners!
Who is Minor Figures?
Minor Figures is one of the leading brands in the United Kingdom coffee world. They create products designed for coffee professionals and enthusiasts. Their products are aimed at both customers and professionals, and blur the lines dividing the two, as the overlap between the needs of customers and baristas continue to increase.
Minor Figures celebrates individuality, curiousity, and enthusiasm, which has allowed them to create a strong brand with a hint of mystery. They want their products to surprise and delight people, and they strive to make these products both delicious and nutritious.
All Minor Figures products are 100% plant based with no added sugar. Despite these characteristics, Minor Figures ensures that there is no compromise on flavour, quality, or innovation.
Is Minor Figures oat milk Gluten-free?
Minor Figures has strict requirements to monitor and minimize gluten contamination, and therefore they can guarantee that their oat milk contains less than 100 ppm of gluten from rye, wheat, and barley. However, for a product to be labeled as gluten-free they must contain no more than 20 ppm of gluten. Therefore, even though none of the ingredients in Minor Figures oat milk directly contain gluten, they cannot guarantee that they are gluten-free and instead are categorized as being very low in gluten.
Is Minor Figures oat milk Organic?
For even more oat-y goodness Minor Figures has come out with a new all-organic oat milk option. Enjoy the same amazing taste and texture of the already favourite Minor Figures oat milk, this time with 100% certified organic ingredients. Minor Figures is the first on the market to offer an organic oat milk.
Try some out for yourself today - yes please I want organic oat milk!
Is Oat Milk Good With Coffee?
Oat milk is quickly becoming the star in trendy coffee shops. It is the best companion for specialty coffee, and is popular to drink because of the creaminess in coffee, cappuccinos, or lattes. With some milk alternatives, you can't taste the coffee characteristics, or the milk curdles. Almond and soy masks poorly-extracted coffee, but oat lets coffee speak for itself. When the roast profile, coffee origin, grind setting, etc. is adjusted, you will taste it with Minor Figures oat milk, just as it is intended.
Coffee is a fruit; if you value the growers, the processing, the roasting, and have pulled the perfect shot, why compromise it and mask the flavour with a heavy milk product? Instead, allow the espresso's brightness and natural character to be expressed with every drink made. Minor Figures oat m*lk effectively balances the acidity of espresso, without compromising the flavour and quality of the coffee. It blends fantastically with espresso-based beverages without slitting, allowing you to craft gorgeous latte art with a smooth, creamy taste. "When using oat milk, particularly Minor Figures, you aren't compromising the taste and feeling of the drink like with most dairy-free options." says Sadie Russell, manager of The Drive Coffee Bar in Vancouver.
Oat milk is favoured by baristas as their faux milk of choice thanks to oat milk's mouthfeel, taste, and foaming ability to swirl into latte art.
What Else Can Oat Milk Be Used For?
Not everyone owns or works within the coffee industry, and some people don't even like coffee! This poses the question on what else oat milk can be paired with.
Oat milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milks wherever you see fit! It tastes just as amazing in a latte than it does straight-up, in your cereal, or in cooking. Oat milk is perfect for use in savoury recipes! It is a fantastic option for thickening soups and stews. It can also be used in cooking such as pancakes, mashed potatoes, and casseroles. Oat milk can be used as a substitute in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. It is great in smoothies or protein shakes, and also for use in baked goods.
Nelson The Seagull - Vancouver, BC
Nelson the Seagull is a family-run business specializing in sourdough bread, brunch, and coffee. They are located in one of Vancouver's oldest heritage buildings in the vibrant historic neighbourhood of Gastown. Their open-concept space welcomes everyone and anyone.
What are Oat Milk’s Qualities and Benefits?
"It looked frothy and creamy like milk, but it tasted different: richer and full-bodied. It felt nourishing and wholesome in a way that is hard to describe." - Zara Stone, Journalist
Low in calories, cholesterol-free, and free of soy, nut, coconut, and dairy - Minor Figures oat milk is also rich in unsaturated fat and helps maintain a recommended cholesterol level. There are no emulsifiers or other additives.
Minor Figures oat milk is not overly sweet or excessively heavy. It has a smooth and creamy texture and an obvious oatmeal-like flavour. Sadie Russell from The Drive Coffee Bar in Vancouver describes it as "whole milk that has been left in a bowl of oatmeal."
Oat milk froths into stable-textured foam with few bubbles that is easy to pour. Sweet, thick, and rich, with a nice mouthfeel and a mild flavour.
Oat milk has many health benefits thanks to the oats within, and these benefits include soluble fibre and vitamins.
The Benefits of Oats:
Oats have received extensive interest due to the presence of dietary fibres, phytochemicals, and high nutritive value. They are also one of the promising raw materials for preparation of functional plant-based milk because of its health benefits. It possesses various health benefits such as hypocholesterolemic and anti-cancerous properties.
Oats are nutritious, and give lots of fibres, proteins, and good fats. Fibre is good for your gut health, helps move nutrients through your intestines, and has a positive impact on reducing various gastrointestinal diseases. Oats contain the B vitamins thiamin and folate, and the materials magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper, as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Oats are uniquely nutritious as they contain an excellent lipid profile. They have a good balance of amino acids and are a good source of antioxidants and polyphenols. Oats have 7-8% oil, most being unsaturated which means a good amount of good fat.
Interest in oats are mainly due to the presence of beta-glucans, sugars in cells of cereal grains that are often used in medicine. Beta-glucans are soluble fibres and possess nutraceutical properties. Oats contain a significant amount of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient. Oats are a sustainable grain that grows in fairly arid areas and can withstand fairly harsh climates.
What is the History of Milk Alternatives?
Soy milk predates all other alternative milks both as a cultural and commercial product. The use of soy milk was first reported 2000 years ago in China. It was the first plant-based milk which serves the purpose of providing nutrients to a population where the milk supply was inadequate. Much attention has been given to soy milk in the past as it is a nutritious and healthy alternative to cow milk, but recently attention has shifted away from soy towards the utilization of cereals, oil seeds, and nuts for new milk alternatives.
With the increase in consumption of soy milk, a large market for non-dairy milks were created. Other plant milks' origins date as early as the 13th Century, but oat milk is a modern creation. Oat milk was developed in the early 1990s by a Swedish food scientist as a lactose-free sustainable milk alternative and to diversify oat consumption.
Non-dairy milk began as a lactose-free alternative for vegans and non-dairy consumers, but the rapid rise in popularity can be attributed to more than just a must-have swap.
Discovery Coffee - Victoria, BC
Discovery Coffee is driven by the desire to create authentic and enjoyable experiences by placing and maintaining the focus on quality coffee, approachable education, and exceptional customer service. They are a family-run company that has been around for 14 years. They strive to stay involved in the coffee community and be leaders and role models on a local and national level.
Why Is Oat Milk Getting So Popular?
In today's world, beverages are no longer considered simply as thirst-quenchers, and consumers look for specific functionality in drinks to form a part of their lifestyle, such as boost energy, fight aging, fatigue, stress, and target specific diseases.
Alternatives to dairy milk are on the upswing, a shift related to health, welfare, and environmental reasons. Many people are compelled by dietary concerns, ethical worries, or lifestyle to ditch dairy and meat for plant-based alternatives. The consumption of plant-based milks have been increased due to the absence of cholesterol and lactose, making it suitable for the population suffering from lactose intolerance and heart disease. Consumers continue to demand higher quality through natural ingredients, provenance, authenticity, fewer additives, no preservatives, and environmental awareness.
"Dairy is the status quo for coffee - not the gold standard." - Minor Figures
Most milk alternatives lack nutritional balance when compared to cow milk, however they contain functionally active components with health-promoting properties which attract health-conscious consumers.
The options for milk alternatives are endless, but oat milk is up-and-coming and quickly gaining popularity from nutritionists and consumers alike. Common complaints with non-dairy milks are that they are too thin, too bitter, and contain a long list of artificial thickeners and preservatives. Almond and soy no longer fit the bill as an ideal milk alternative, as baristas look for a milk alternative that is creamy, latte-art-capable, healthy, and sustainable. The once-dominant soy milk is now questioned for potential health issues, and almond milk is criticized for its high consumption of water in the production process.
In terms of new entrants, oat milk is the king of the milk alternative aisle and is a recent emergent in the market, owing to its health benefits and favourable qualities.
"As a coffee professional it ticks a lot of boxes for me: it steams really well, I can still pour great latte art...and it really tastes great." - Brittany Davies, Discovery Coffee & SCA Canada
Oat milk is tapping into a major shift in eating habits. Oat milk may be consumed to replace dairy milk in vegan diets, or in the case of medical conditions where dairy or lactose is incompatible. It is a good choice for those with allergies or intolerances to dairy and/or nuts, as well as to those looking to limit saturated fats in their diet. It is generally safe for people who have a gluten intolerance to consume too because of the very low gluten content.
In countries where mammal milk is scarce and expensive, plant milk substitutes serve as a more affordable option.
As interest in plant-based diets are rising, many people say that oat milk is the most similar to dairy milk compared to other milk alternatives on the market. Oat milk is easy on the stomach and provides an immediate source of pre-workout energy.
In the coffee industry, oat milk is booming. It is quickly taking over as the go-to choice for baristas and customers alike. Its perfect pairing with coffee, favourable froth, and tasteful, smooth mouthfeel is similar to cow milk but with all the benefits of an environmentally-friendly and health-friendly milk alternative.
The Rise of Veganism:
Searches for veganism have doubled in the past year, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, sales of plant-based milks are up more than 61% since 2012, with about $1.6 billion made in 2018 alone. Globally, the milk-alternative market is expected to reach $41 billion by 2025.
The Drive Coffee Bar - Vancouver, BC
The Drive Coffee Bar aims to be a meeting place of a community. They want everyone to feel welcome, whether you be a regular they see every day or a visitor from out of town.
How Does Oat Milk Compare to Other Milk Options?
per 240 ml
Soy - 4 g
Oat - 16 g
Almond - 2 g
Coconut - 7 g
Dairy - 11 g
Oat milk is not as nauseatingly-sweet as soy or almond milk can be. Oat milk tends to be higher in carbohydrates, but it is providing energy through these carbs opposed to fat, which can typically be the case with most nut milks. Cows milk contains 2-8% lactose which gives the cow milk a certain amount of sweetness without added sugar.
The resulting particle sizes created in oat milk are not as uniform as dairy milk. This variation in particle size is due to the vastly different lipid and protein molecules.
per 240 ml
Soy - 4 g
Oat - 4 g
Almond - 3 g
Coconut - 5 g
Dairy - 10 g
Oat milk has somewhat less total fat than cow milk, but only about 1/10 the content of saturated fat. Coconut milk has a very high fat content.
Oat milk is particularly accessible, cheaper to make, and more environmentally friendly. Producing a glass of dairy milk every day for a year requires 7000 square feet of land, which is more than 10 times as much as the same amount of oat milk. Cow milk also comes with the issues around animal welfare.
Oats need relatively small amounts of water to grow, which is significantly modest in comparison to almond milk. One almond requires about 1 gallon of water to grow. A single glass of almond requires 74 litres of water - more than an average shower. Rice milk also requires an abundance of water for production, about 54 litres per glass. However, both almond and rice milk still require less water to produce than a glass of dairy milk.
How is Oat Milk Made?
Production of oat milk is similar to that of most other plant milks. Plant milks are manufactured by extracting the plant material in water, separating the liquid, and formulating the final product.
1- Milling of Cereal Grains:
Cereal grains like oats are indigestible when unprocessed due to their hard, outer hull. Therefore processing is necessary to create a product suitable for manufacturing as a liquid. Oats are sourced from farms, stored in silos, and funnelled to the production floor where they are then measured and milled to break apart their outer hull.
Oats are soaked and stirred in warm water and blended into a slurry. Soaking and subsequently extracting nutrients from the oats have the most direct implications on the final product.
3- The Extraction of Nutrients:
Increasing the yield may be assisted by chemical catalysts, enzymes, or a temperature increase in order to remove nutrient molecules from the solid byproduct and incorporate them into the liquid. Chemical catalysts increase the pH of the mixture, enzymes induce partial hydrolysis of the proteins and polysaccharides, and higher temperatures increase reaction rates.
Enzymes are used to liquefy raw oat kernels into rich milk in a way that still retains their digestion-boosting fibres. The natural sweetness of the drink is aided by the enzymatic breakdown of the oats, and can be adjusted by breaking down the oat carbohydrates into smaller molecules such as maltose. The base is made creamy by affecting the viscosity, thickness, and how far the enzymes are to break down the long-chain carbohydrates into soluble molecules.
Temperature is an important factor in perfecting the taste of the oat milk. Heat is required to stop the enzymatic process, and this tends to smooth out the oaty flavours in the process. The high concentration of starch poses a problem in preparation during the heat processing of oat milk. On the application of heat, starch begins to gelatinize and liquid milk tends to attain a viscous, gel-like consistency, leading to its lower acceptability. In order to maintain the beverage's fluidity, producers use an enzymatic hydrolysis of starch by alpha and beta-amylase, producing maltodextrin, which gelatinizes at higher, more suitable temperatures.
Separating the liquid from the solid byproduct is a simple step achieved through filtration, decanting, or centrifugation. The leftover oat pulp has the bulk of the fibre and protein, but the liquid result does retain some of the oats' nutrients.
5- Adding to the Base:
Once the liquid base is isolated, adding other ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, salts, oils, etc. formulates the final product. The addition of these nutrients is necessary for the product to be a direct nutritional substitute for dairy milk, as it is naturally lower in calcium, iron, and vitamin A.
Adding ingredients as fortifying nutrients is a difficult procedure. The nutrients must be bioavailable and stable in the final product, otherwise the quality of effectiveness of the product may be insufficient. In the same way that cream may be added to milk to give it varying levels of fat, plant-based oil is added to provide fat content to the oat milk base. The oat fibres plus this added oil give the milk a thicker, smoother consistency to produce a stable, undulating foam that will hold for a long time.
Homogenization and heat-treatments such as pasteurization or ultra-high temperature treatments are used to extend the product's shelf life. Decreasing particle size, improving particle solubility, and using hydrocolloids and emulsifiers are common ways to improve product quality via homogenization. These treatments are necessary to improve the suspension and microbial stabilities of the product, so that it can be consumed as-is, or be processed further into fermented dairy-like products.
How is Minor Figures Oat Milk Made?
Minor Figures oat milk is one of three companies in the world that is able to use the patented enzyme process during production in order to extract and combine the nutrients more effectively. It ensures the product is flavourful, smooth, properly combined, and filled with nutrients. Unlike other companies within the patent, Minor Figures doesn't use chemical catalysts in the process of extracting nutrients.
Minor Figures oat milk does not need to be refrigerated prior to opening and has a shelf life of approximately one year. After opening, it is recommended to consume the milk within 7 days for the best drinking experience.
Where Can I Get Minor Figures Oat Milk?
For home or office use of this amazing product, check out our online shop HERE for all things oat!
For wholesale inquiries in British Columbia and Alberta please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get you started!
Contact HERE for any further information and inquiries about Minor Figures.
Read about Minor Figures chai HERE.
Thank you for the help...
Brittany Davies - Education Manager at Discovery Coffee Roasters, and the National Education Coordinator at SCA Canada
Evelyn Neves - Owner of Nelson the Seagull.
Sadie Russell - Manager of The Drive Coffee Bar, and Coffee Specialist at La Grotta del Formaggio.