At the dawn of the modern non-dairy milk age, there was soy. Then we converted to the wonders of almond milk as our drink of choice. Somewhere along the way banana, hemp, pea, macadamia, coconut, rice, flax, and probably others that I can't think of at the moment all began to vie for our attention. And now, as we enter the year of our Lord 2020, oat milk is the one true monarch of the alt milk universe for all your coffee-balancing, cereal-eating, and cookie-dunking pleasures.
You've probably seen oat milk at your favorite coffee shop. It's in grocery store aisles across the country, and there was even a black market for it not too long ago. I confess, I'd never tasted any oat milks or other such products before getting this assignment. But having tasted it and investigated it thoroughly I can now truthfully say that I'm no longer a skeptic. I’ve drunk the oat milk Kool-Aid...so to speak.
For those of you who are still confused by what I even mean when I say "oat milk," let's start with the basics.
Oat milk -- if you can even call it "milk," usage the Swedish government has banned for non-dairy drinks -- is made using a process not unsimilar to other non-dairy "milks." Commercial products tend to add salt for flavor, oil for mouthfeel, and various vitamins and minerals for nutrition. Swedish scientist Rickard Öste first created it in the 1990s while studying lactose intolerance. In looking for an alternative to dairy milk that was good for Mother Earth, he invented the dairy-, soy-, gluten-, and nut-free beverage that has become the phenomenon it is today.
Presumably looking to cash in on his invention -- or, perhaps more nobly, simply wanting to spread the gospel of oat milk -- Öste founded Oatly to bring his product to the masses.