Alternative Milks in Australian Cafes

Alternative milks have become a staple in Australian cafes, catering to a growing number of consumers seeking dairy-free options for health, ethical, or environmental reasons. This post explores the different types of alternative milks used in cafes, focusing on: Alternative Dairy Co. MilLab, and other significant brands.

1. MilLab

MilLab is a leading supplier of barista-grade alternative milks, known for their collaboration with baristas to ensure high performance in coffee applications. Their range includes:

  • Almond Milk:
    • Characteristics: Rich, creamy texture with a slightly nutty flavour. Designed to froth and steam well, making it ideal for lattes and cappuccinos.
    • Usage in Cafes: Popular for its ability to complement the taste of espresso without overpowering it. Almond milk is often used in dairy-free lattes, cappuccinos, and other espresso-based drinks.
  • Oat Milk:
    • Characteristics: Smooth and naturally sweet, with a consistency similar to dairy milk. Excellent for frothing and creating latte art.
    • Usage in Cafes: Favoured for its ability to froth well, making it perfect for lattes, flat whites, and cappuccinos. Its subtle sweetness enhances the flavour of coffee​ (MilkLab Co.)​​ (Let’s Go Vegan)​.
  • Soy Milk:
    • Characteristics: High in protein with a creamy texture. It is known for its robust flavour that pairs well with coffee.
    • Usage in Cafes: Commonly used in a variety of coffee drinks, including hot and iced beverages. Soy milk’s high protein content makes it a versatile choice for frothing.
  • Coconut Milk:
    • Characteristics: Light, tropical flavour with a thinner consistency.
    • Usage in Cafes: Often used in iced coffees, smoothies, and unique coffee beverages to add a tropical twist.
  • Macadamia Milk:
    • Characteristics: Nutty flavour with a creamy texture.
    • Usage in Cafes: Adds a rich, nutty taste to coffees, making it a unique option for specialty drinks​ (MilkLab Co.)​​

2. Alternative Dairy Co.

Alternative Dairy Co. is known for its barista-quality oat milk, which has become very popular among Australian cafes.

The main varieties offered include almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk, each tailored to meet the specific needs of baristas and café environments. (Alternative Dairy Co)

Product Range

  1. Almond Milk
    • Characteristics: Made from Australian almonds, this milk includes filtered water, almond paste, and a mix of oils and minerals. It’s designed to be smooth and creamy, enhancing the flavour of coffee without overpowering it.
    • Uses: Ideal for lattes and cappuccinos, almond milk is appreciated for its ability to froth well and create a rich texture suitable for latte art.
  2. Oat Milk
    • Characteristics: Creamy texture with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. Designed to froth well, making it ideal for latte art.
    • Uses: Known for its neutral taste and excellent steaming properties, oat milk is a favourite among baristas for its ability to create a silky foam and complement the coffee’s natural flavours.
  3. Soy Milk
    • Characteristics: This variant includes filtered water, soy protein, oils, and essential minerals. It’s crafted from non-GM soybeans, with a formulation perfected over decades.
    • Uses: Soy milk is celebrated for its balanced taste and ability to blend seamlessly with coffee, providing a creamy texture without excessive sweetness.
  4. Coconut Milk
    • Characteristics: Coconut milk from the Alternative Dairy Co includes coconut cream and water, with additional ingredients for stability and nutrition.
    • Uses: Often used for tropical coffee creations, coconut milk offers a sweet and smooth alternative that pairs well with a variety of coffee beans and blends.

3. Other Brands

Several other brands also play a significant role in the Australian cafe scene, providing a variety of alternative milks:

  • Bonsoy:
    • Varieties: Soy
    • Characteristics: High-quality soy milk is especially popular for its creamy texture and ability to froth well.
    • Usage in Cafes: Bonsoy is a favourite in many cafes for making soy lattes and other espresso-based drinks.
  • Nutty Bruce:
    • Varieties: Almond, cashew, and coconut milks.
    • Characteristics: Made with pure ingredients, no added nasties.
    • Usage in Cafes: Popular for its clean, natural taste. Used in a variety of coffee beverages.
  • Oatly:
    • Characteristics: Known for its creamy texture and versatility in coffee and cooking.
    • Usage in Cafes: Used extensively for its ability to froth well and enhance the flavour of coffee.
  • Pure Harvest:
    • Varieties: Almond, coconut, and flavored milks.
    • Characteristics: Focuses on natural and organic ingredients.
    • Usage in Cafes: Often chosen for its natural taste and quality, used in various coffee drinks. The range of plant-based alt-milks is available across Woolworths stores and independent grocers in Australia.
  • Coles and Woolworths Home Brands:
    • Varieties: Soy, oat, and almond milk.
    • Characteristics: Affordable options with good nutritional profiles.
    • Usage in Cafes: These home brands offer budget-friendly alternatives that still provide good performance in coffee​ (Let’s Go Vegan)​.


The Australian cafe industry has embraced a wide range of alternative milks, each offering unique benefits and catering to different tastes and dietary needs. Brands like MilLab and Alternative Dairy Co. have set high standards with their barista-quality products, while other brands like Bonsoy, Nutty Bruce, and Oatly provide excellent options that enhance the coffee experience. Whether for health reasons, ethical considerations, or simply for a change in flavour, alternative milks have firmly established their place in cafes across Australia.

Comment Below

Which one is your favourite and why?

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