A lot’s been made of Mighty Drinks’ new series of dairy-free milk. Touted as the first in the UK to employ biomass fermentation technology, the brand has doubled down on its promise that the new line tastes just like conventional dairy. As an avid dairy drinker in my pre-vegan days, I just had to know. So I tested Mighty’s M.LKology products to see how they held up.
Known for its foremost pea protein milk, Mighty’s new range opts for a mix of pea protein, grape juice concentrate and oats. The Whole, Semi and Barista milk are made using precise or biomass fermentation — or, as Mighty calls it, Plantech. The oats are the fermented ingredient here, which helps modify the flavour without using GMOs. The range is now available in all major UK supermarkets and online.
We tested the Whole and Barista milk for this review in five applications.
Straight up and plain
We wanted to first test drinking the whole milk as is, straight from a glass. It’s strikingly similar in colour, which was a good sign. But it smells quite fruity off the bat, probably due to a combination of the grape juice and fermentation.
So I took a sip. And oh no, that is not milk. You could taste the oat if you’re a regular oat milk drinker. The pea protein isn’t noticeable but the grape juice certainly is. The M.LKology Whole is slightly sweeter than you’d expect. While it does have the consistency of whole milk, this feels more like drinking juice — and I hate using that phrase when it comes to plant-based milk.
When you heat it up, that funky, fruity flavour is very muted, with the fermented oats taking centre stage, albeit subtly. There’s a slight chemically off note, but altogether it’s bordering on a neutral flavour. It has a mellower aftertaste, but there is no way this can disguise itself as milk. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t taste bad at all, just not like milk. If you drink dairy straight from a glass, this wouldn’t cut it for you.
Result: It gets a 6/10 in my book.
I find it very hard not to like Oreo O’s. So it was only fitting to see whether the M.LKology whole milk would test my resolve. Plus, it’s a chocolate cereal, so the other important factor was to see if this would take in the chocolatey flavour as it sits.
And I’ve got to say: this is a lot better in cereal than it is plain. That chemical flavour is just slightly more pronounced here. Combined with the fruity, ferment-y notes, it’s quite a wild ride.
The milk holds the cereal well and has a perfect consistency. And it gets infinitely better as it sits, letting the chocolate infuse and seep into the whole milk’s own flavour.
Result: This is a 7/10 for me.
Espresso-based hot drinks
Time for the big guns. The Mighty M.LKology Barista is aided by more oats (non-fermented) and some coconut cream to round out the flavour and fat. Just for the sake of clarity, I tasted this plain before testing it in coffee and tea. While it doesn’t exactly taste like milk, it does have similarities in terms of the mild natural sweetness and overall neutral flavour. A lot better, then, than its Whole counterpart.
The M.LKology Barista smells incredibly dairy-like when heated up, frothing quickly and really well. Unlike some barista milk that can be overly thick, this has just the right texture when frothing. A good marker of plant-based barista milk is how well the foam holds up after being added to espresso. Here, even after more than five minutes, there’s a thick head of froth at the top. A massive plus.
While the foam itself is quite fruity — and not sweet — the flavour of the milk in the cappuccino is, for the most part, incredible. Mighty’s new Barista milk is very neutral and a great carrier for the coffee. It is wildly similar to dairy in espresso-based drinks and brings out the flavour of the coffee.
However, it is just the tiniest bit watery in both the mouthfeel and aftertaste, with a hint of that fruity flavour, too. Overall, it matches dairy functionally and just about flavour-wise too, especially with that hint of natural sweetness — so much so that my lactose-intolerant flatmate immediately winced and semi-gagged. That’s a win for what the milk is trying to do.
Result: This one’s an easy 9/10.
Getting a milk — plant-based or otherwise — right for cold brew is a tough gig. There’s a lot going on in the slow brewing process, when the coffee develops very subtle and complex flavours. Keeping those intact while elevating the overall flavour and mouthfeel is no mean feat.
The Mighty M.LKology Barista has a slightly thicker consistency when it’s cold, which means it does need a proper stir when poured into an ice-cold glass of cold brew. While still neutral and very dairy-like — with no notes of pea or that fruity fermented background whatsoever — this tastes like advanced oat milk. Which, I guess, it is?
It blends really well with the milk and amplifies the flavour of the coffee instead of overtaking it all together. And as you drink it, your palate gets familiar with the oat and it isn’t discernible. There is the slightest hit of sweetness here, which is a plus. It’s very close to dairy, but easily more oat-forward than in espresso.
Result: A solid 8/10.
I’m Indian, so tea for me is chai. There are no suffixes to that word, by the way. Maybe a prefix: instead of just dunking it cold in a mug of black tea, I took this to the holy grail of tea tests, the masala chai.
This was important both for flavour and functionality. Milk, owing to its fat content, acts as a vessel for spices to dissolve in and release their flavour molecules. Many plant-based milk options miss that mark in something like chai, where they need to both release the tea’s compounds as well as facilitate the spices. Sometimes, they’re also too watery.
This chai had cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ginger, and cardamom, but I didn’t sweeten it because I wanted to judge the milk for itself. And to better understand it, I compared it side-by-side with full-fat oat milk.
The flavour of the M.LKology Barista does stand out. Again, it is very, very akin to dairy, but it takes over the flavour of the tea. The spices mostly get lost and muted, instead of masking any residual oat, pea or fruity flavours the milk may have.
Initially, the tea is also not as thick as it can be. That’s a shame, even if the M.LKology Barista has marginally less fat (3.2%) than its 3.4% Whole counterpart. This means that minute watery consistency is still there at the beginning. However, as it sits and cools down, the milk thickens up and makes for a better chai. And it doesn’t form a skin.
The oat milk carries the spices much better, but its flavour is too sharp and the consistency slightly thinner. It makes for an even more watery tea, which means M.LKology triumphs in the textural end. It’s mellower and easier to drink, but there’s a lot left wanting in the way of flavour.
Result: A respectable 7/10.
I’m not too sure about all the “revolutionary” talk that this range was released with — I’ve tasted better plant-based whole milk — but it is quite a stride in plant-based milk technology. The Plantech, which Mighty holds exclusive rights to, is indeed a breakthrough in the industry and a sure sign of progress.
The M.LKology Barista is particularly striking in its similarity with dairy, and it has the potential of outperforming most (not all) barista milk. That said, the M.LKology Whole won’t fool you even if you haven’t had dairy in a decade — but I know many people who won’t mind that.
The Mighty M.LKology Barista, Whole and Semi plant-based milk are available across UK supermarkets and online, retailing at £2.10.
All photos Anay Mridul for Green Queen.