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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s a rising star in the coffee world, and it’s leaving soy and almond milk in the dust.
According to “Square Incorporated,” it turns out coffee drinkers in Pennsylvania now prefer a splash of oat milk, which is faux milk made from a plant.
If you’re grabbing a latte in Pittsburgh this National Coffee Day, chances are you can get it made with oat milk.
Alexis Shaffer owns 21st Coffee and Tea.
“I think it’s because it has the consistency and the body of real milk,” says Shaffer.
And she’s selling out of oat milk every day.
“We’ve been in business almost 13 years, and at first it was soy milk only, and we weren’t happy with it, but we wanted to offer people a dairy alternative, and then we went to the almond milk,” Shaffer said.
The quest for the perfect dairy alternative led her to an unlikely liquid, and she’s not alone.
Nationwide, there’s been a 425 percent increase in oat milk sales, according to data from Square Incorporated, a payments company used by millions of small businesses.
And Pennsylvania is the first state to spice up more lattes with oats instead of almonds.
“And I think that’s the word, it’s the cool thing. Does it have any benefits? It depends, again, I’d say why are you using it?” Shaffer said.
Registered Dietician Judy Dodd studies the latest “milk alternatives” at the University of Pittsburgh’s Food Lab.
“You’re drinking the liquid of a plant, that’s fine, but that plant nutrient density is going to vary,” she says.
Dodd said if you’re someone picking a milk alternative because it’s the cool thing to do, she said you have to check for three things: the first thing is calcium, and then vitamin D and the last thing is protein.
“Why are you drinking it? If you’re only drinking it because you like the flavor and it’s the cool thing, go for it. But if you are really looking for something to replace dairy because you’re lactose intolerant or you’re allergic to dairy then that’s not your best choice,” Dodd says.
If you’re not concerned about the nutrients, Shaffer suggests you buy whatever you think tastes best.
“I like oat milk the best because it has that same body, that same texture,” she said. “In fact, sometimes I’ll say did you really make my drink with oat milk? Or is it real milk?”