Califia Farms Pure Almondmilk – Product Review with a Warning

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I was visiting a friend in Austin, TX in August (FYI – go there, but do not go there in August.), and like I do, sampled lots of food and beverages.

In addition to tons of great food — ranging from amazing barbecue to tasty vegan dishes — Austin has excellent coffee! On average, I tried coffee from 3 cafés per day. In one little shop, I was introduced to the best commercially produced almond milk I’ve had to date – Califia Farms Pure Almondmilk. I first became acquainted with the brand through their Barista Blend. I later had the Original & Unsweetened Vanilla varieties both solo and in coffee. Nice texture. Good flavor.

The night I returned to New York I took a trip to the Whole Foods on Third and 3rd in Brooklyn (go there, too), and was super psyched to see Califia Farms Almondmilk in the refrigerator case! I bought the 2 flavors they had – Vanilla Protein, and Salted Caramel Iced Coffee.

Boyfriend and I had eaten dinner there, and then indulged in a Whole Foods vegan baked good when we got to my apartment. We washed it down with Vanilla Protein Almondmilk. A little on the sweet side, but delightful still!

And then it happened… About 15-20 minutes later my stomach slowly hardened as it ballooned out to a gigantic DAIRY BABY! Perplexed, I recounted everything I had eaten that day. No obvious causes. The absolute last thing I suspected was ALMOND MILK. Alas, when I was cleaning up & rinsing the bottles, I glanced over the ingredients and found my culprit. There was WHEY in my almond milk! This is so incredibly frustrating, but it has once again taught me, the hard way, to ALWAYS READ LABELS.

After reading through the ingredient lists on the website, it appears the Vanilla and Chocolate Protein flavors are the only non vegan varieties. According to the company, the inclusion of whey is because they value all dietary and lifestyle choices, not limited to vegan or dairy free. I get it and totally agree.. I just wish it was a little more obvious on the front of the packaging. Although the experience was frustrating, it was completely my fault for not reading the label.

So aside from the absurdity (to me) of milk protein in one variety, Califia Farms Pure Almondmilk is by far the best packaged almond milk I’ve had. In addition to making a great product, they are going the extra mile to operate responsibly. Califia Farms is a California based company that is committed to sustainability. As of the writing of this post, they produce almond milk, cold brew coffee, citrus juices and aguas frescas. Most of these are Non-GMO Project Verified. All coffee in their beverages is grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. In addition, they employ heat recovery systems and reduced lighting practices in their factory, use reconditioned equipment when possible (rather than producing new), reclaim & reuse corrugated boxes, and repurpose 90% of their post-production byproduct. Like most packaged milk alternatives, they use some thickening agents and stabilizers. However, their percentages are quite low – less than 2% in most cases. I highly recommend you try it! I’d love to hear your opinion.

What is your favorite brand and type of commercially produced milk alternative?

One comment

  1. I had almost the same experience yesterday. Happily drank my almond milk with my gluten free blueberry bar as a snack after shopping at WF. Was cramping and bloated w/in minutes. Currently, 17 hrs later, I find myself on the sofa sick due to drinking the chocolate version of the same almond milk protein drink. The labelling is awful and the small letters that inform about the whey and milk should be in large RED letters or something. Or a large NOT A DAIRY FREE PRODUCT imblasened across the front perhaps!

    Comment by maria on May 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

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