Life / Food

Oat milk is the newest non-dairy milk contender

Oatkey Dokey owner Jackie Nguyen blitzes handmade oat milk.

Oatkey Dokey, a hand pressed, local and organic oat milk made by owner Jackie Nguyen.

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Oatkey Dokey, a hand pressed, local and organic oat milk made by owner Jackie Nguyen.

We’re well acquainted with soy, almond and even cashew beverages — but oat is fast becoming a non-dairy milk contender.

Drink your porridge, perhaps?

“It’s so soft and cleansing and makes you go to the bathroom nicely,” says oat milk entrepreneur Jackie Nguyen, 39, with a mischievous grin.

“It’s like soap for your innards.”

A mild, non abrasive, edible kind of cleanser, perhaps, which customers have been guzzling.

Since Christmas 2016 when first appeared on the shelves at a variety of small retailers around the city, Nguyen, a mother of three small children, has been in a commercial kitchen between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. a couple of days a week making the oat milk. She blitzes and strains about 100 bottles a week.

Nguyen’s four flavours — oat, cinnamon, cinnamon cashew oat and chocolate cashew oat — are neutral-hued beverages, poured into slender, glass bottles with labels designed by a local artist.

Jackie Nguyen is the owner of Oatkey Dokey, which produces hand-pressed, local and organic oat milk.

Torstar News Service

Jackie Nguyen is the owner of Oatkey Dokey, which produces hand-pressed, local and organic oat milk.

They lure shoppers away from other boxed milk alternatives.

Good thing — this brand’s a newcomer on the market.

With three lactose-intolerant kids and a picky husband, Nguyen began tinkering with ingredients, such as oats, nuts and dates, in her Vitamix a couple of years ago.

She served some to a vegan employee at Stellar Cellular — the College St. cellphone repair company she’s owned for about six years — and got rave reviews.

Other testers loved it too, so Nguyen developed her recipes and started a tiny, new business. Her oat milks are all organic, she says, and made with top-notch ingredients, including non-alcoholic vanilla, plump cashews and dabs of fragrant cinnamon.

Every drop of Oatkey Dokey oat milk is fashioned with personal attention — Nguyen’s own hands wring the oat and date sediment from the liquid several times to ensure it is silky (about $11.50 for a 500 mL bottle at Fiesta Farms). And she obsesses over quality and pits the dates herself.

Watching Nguyen work, there’s no doubt this oat milk is full of passion. It’s also full of flavour. The liquid’s mild colour belies its complex taste — slightly oaty, slightly sweet, and not overpowering in any way. Just clear and clean and smooth and a perfect thirst quencher.

Throw in a banana and a scoop of peanut butter for an instant smoothie. Or, mash a banana, toss in some flour and you’ve got pancakes, says Nguyen.

Sounds tasty, but I’ll stick to the drink.

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