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Taste test: vanilla almond milk

Almond milk might be a perfect drink. It's made from ground almonds and water and is safe for those with milk, soy or gluten allergies. It's low in fat and calories, rich in vitamins and minerals and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But, our tasters know if it doesn't taste good, consumers won't drink it. We sampled five brands of vanilla-flavored almond milk. A few contained added sugar, making those the favorites of our panelists.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
The Fresh Market 79Silk Pure Almond 56So Delicious 55
Judges'

comments
Judges liked the texture of this drink for its smoothness. The taste was a pleasing balance of vanilla and almond. "It has a rich dairy flavor," said one panelist. "I would love to pour it over some nice oatmeal." The color of the almond milks were a bit off-putting to some judges, but the Fresh Market brand was an appealing "buff" color, they said. "It's like 2-percent milk in texture, not too thin, not too thick," said one. "I think kids would especially like this because of the vanilla flavor." Another panelist said, "It's almost like a very thin vanilla milk shake."This brand of almond milk had the appearance of eggnog. "It's super thick and very viscous," said one judge, adding that the almond flavor was strong. "I think it would be especially appealing in coffee," she said. Another panelist said the milk tasted "like a happy almond." He said it was extremely smooth. "A dash in a cup of espresso would be heaven," he said. One judge said it would be best over a bowl of Cheerios or in a weak cup of tea.Sweet, watery and thin were words judges used to describe this milk. A couple were disappointed in the deep beige color and the skim-milk texture. One said it had a slightly sour aftertaste. Another panelist said the milk was the color of dishwater, but he said he loved the taste. "It would be great with granola and berries," he said.
Would

they buy?
Four of the five judges said yes.Three of the five judges said yes.Two of the five judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.49 for a half-gallon.$3.18 for a half-gallon from Walmart.$2.59 for a half-gallon from Earth Origin's Market in St. Petersburg.


Also Sampled: Trader Joe's in Sarasota ($2.99 for a half-gallon, 46 points)

and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze ($2.88 for a half-gallon, 42 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar in Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All products were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeOne cupOne cupOne cup
Calories909070
Fat/Fiber2.5g / 1g2.5g / 0g2g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium15g / 150mg16g / 160mg8g / 95mg
Carbs/Protein16g / 1g16g / 1g8g / 5g

Taste test: vanilla almond milk 04/16/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 15, 2013 5:57pm]

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