As a, now, lactose-free human being I’ve been through the trials and tribulations associated with choosing a non-dairy beverage. I’ve shopped around, I’ve experimented and come to the following conclusions:
Best alterna-milk for just plain drinking: Silk Vanilla Organic
. o O (It has the best flavour, it has little to no chalk after taste/mouth feel. To me it tastes like a really great old fashioned milkshake. It’s thick, creamy and filling. I find the organic is slightly richer and closer to real milk. It is a large bonus that the organic is priced the same as the regular here and it doesn’t have any unpronounceable additives, natural or artificial flavours.)
Best alterna-milk for steaming and drinking straight: Earth’s Own Almond Fresh Vanilla or Chocolate
. o O (It has a nice simple flavour. Good for mixing with tea or just drinking steamed and warm on a cold night. I like that the mouth feel isn’t too slimy like other brands I’ve encountered. The vanilla has a lovely aroma of the filling of oreo cookies. The chocolate is like chocolate covered almonds and make for a quick hot chocolate, just add marshmallows! [If you’re ohkay with corn that is :)])
Best place for soy beverages: Starbucks
. o O (I’ve tried soy based beverages out quite a bit and starbuck’s blend of sludgy coffee sweet syrups and not-so-chalky soy milk make it the best I’ve tried. The second cup soy choice leaves your throat very dry, timothy’s coffee seems to have a bad after taste. Many independent coffee shops use either So Good or Silk. I don’t find either other them steam up very well. So Good has a chalky taste to begin with and it’s made worse by heating. Silk really doesn’t foam very well. It creates more bubbles than anything else and they pop all too quickly. I find that Silk also doesn’t hold heat very well. It cools down all to quickly.)
Best alterna-milk for sugared cereals: Ryza Rice Milk
.o O (It has a nice mouth feel and the lack of flavour allows the sugared cereal to take over. I’m not a huge fan of sugared cereal and frankly can’t eat any of them now, but I thought I’d include this anyway.)
Personally I enjoy Silk’s Vanilla on my non-sugar cereals. It makes spoon-size shredded wheat taste like those stacked vanilla wafer cookies. I find that it gives a unique flavour to my favourites and it has the closest mouth feel to real milk.
All of the above are becoming more widely available which makes life a lot easier.
A buying guide:
Safeway carries Ryza’s rice milk, all Silk milks and now the coffee “cream”, Earth’s Own original and chocolate almond milk.
IGA carries Ryza and Silk.
Superstore carries Ryza, all Silk and all of the Earth’s Own Almond milks including the vanilla.
I haven’t been to Walmart recently, but last year they carried the Ryza and Silk.
I hope this helps you out on your alterna-milk search.