A guide to milk-alternatives and tea

A guide to milk-alternatives and tea

Whether you’re trying to cut down on animal products or going dairy-free for health reasons, more and more people are switching to milk alternatives. From soya to hemp, oat to cashew, and almond to rice milk or pea protein -  each variety has its own distinct flavour and consistency. And when it comes to choosing which one goes best in which tea, it’s hard to know where to start.

So, we’ve tested out the three main dairy-free milk alternatives, soya, oat and almond (all unsweetened), with our four top milk-loving teas – and put together this handy guide to help you navigate the very important matter of what dairy-free milk to use in tea.

canton english breakfast

Top tip: The lower fat content of dairy-free milk alternatives struggled to balance out the tannins of a stronger English Breakfast, so we recommend reducing your brew time to 3 minutes rather than 4.

1. Oat – this was our favourite pairing for English Breakfast. It has the creamiest texture and produced the most balanced cup. Colour is an important factor for many people when it comes to English Breakfast and oat milk produces a soft burnt orange colour, typical of a regular English Breakfast with milk. However, oat milk does have quite a distinctive oaty aftertaste, which might not be to everyone’s liking.

2. Soya – this was a close second. Soya also produced a nice balanced flavour that was a little sweeter than oat but slightly less distinct. The oat milk just pipped soya on texture though.

3. Almond – almond milk produced the least harmonious tea, struggling to balance the tannins of these stronger black teas. 

If you want to avoid milk alternatives entirely, why not try Canton Darjeeling – a rich, fruity black tea that works best black.

canton earl grey

This was a tricky one. The authentic bergamot oil in the Canton Earl Grey and its punchy citrus aroma didn’t shine through with any of the milk alternatives. In fact, the experiment reminded us of our old adage: “if in doubt, go without”. The Canton Earl Grey was specially formulated to work just as well black as with milk, so just reduce the brew time from four minutes to two. 

If you can’t do without a milky Earl Grey, we’d recommend using soya milk. It’s delicate flavour worked best with the zesty bergamot and produced the most balanced tea.

canton matcha

One of the biggest tea trends of the past few years, the matcha latte has found its way onto many coffee shop menus and into the homes of tea-lovers. And with all the health benefits of this bright green Japanese wonder-tea, many want a healthy milk alternative to suit.

1. Oat – this produced by far the best texture and body for a matcha latte – really silky smooth. The flavour also worked well. In fact, our favourite latte used a hybrid milk of three parts oat to one part coconut (which we are coining the Oat-onut Matcha Latte). The creaminess of oat milk and the sweet, tropical flavour of coconut was a natural flavour pairing with the umami-rich matcha. We recommend the Oatly barista edition for all your matcha latte needs.

2.Coming in joint second are almond and soya milk, which both produce nice, distinctively flavoured latte drinks.

canton wild rooibos

Of all our herbals, Canton Wild Rooibos saw the biggest growth in sales during 2018. Its deep red colour, sweet malty flavour and suitability for milk makes a great caffeine-free alternative to English Breakfast. All three dairy-free milks worked nicely with the vanilla tones of our Wild Rooibos, with oat and soya coming in first, and almond a close second.

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