Tried & Tested: Bonsoy Soya Milk

After recently reviewing a selection of Orgran’s gluten-free range, I was pleased to be invited to sample another of their premium quality products: Bonsoy Soya Milk.

Bonsoy is the ‘original and the best’ soya milk, created by Japanese soy masters using traditional age-old recipes. It’s also thought to be the only soya milk capable of making perfect coffee (all other milks separate) and is therefore favoured by baristas as a non-dairy milk alternative (see recipe for ‘The Perfect Soy Latte’ below). Using only whole, undamaged, organic soya, it’s certainly not cheap (£3.09 for one litre) but that hasn’t stopped the company from selling ‘mega amounts of the product’ and, from what I can gather off various health forums and review sites, comes highly recommended from the soy-latte crowd and other vegan virtuosos.

Personally, I tend not to be a fan of dairy-free milks and on a previous elimination diet, the thing I found hardest was finding a good milk substitute for my morning cup of tea. Luckily it transpired that I have no problem with dairy products, but I am still always curious to see what’s available for people who do struggle with dairy, or choose to live a vegan lifestyle. This milk in particular is high on all-natural demands with no added preservatives, colours, chemicals or oils, kombu (S/VEG) or artificial additives. It’s created by bulling and splitting the soybeans before cooking and finely grinding with purified hot water, which gives it a unique mellow flavour and consistency. Unfortunately it’s this ‘trademark flavour’ which I remain unconvinced of. The distinct taste of soya creeps into every mouthful and lingers with an unpleasant aftertaste that’s almost quite sickly. Similar to Alpro’s popular almond and hazelnut drinks, the subtle sweetness of Bonsoy does little to masquerade itself as regular cows’ milk and, while this is admittedly creamier than other dairy-free milks I have tried, still feels too thin and watery to make a decent cuppa.

When drank cold, Bonsoy is far more palatable and I could definitely see myself having a small glass if I ever wanted to increase my intake of soya (Bonsoy in particular delivers an excellent source of vegetable protein). It’s also said to be perfect for cooking and baking, and I have happily spent the past week making my morning breakfast of protein pancakes from the soya milk with no discernible difference to the finished taste.

For me the only problem with Bonsoy is in its comparability with regular milk. As someone who loves both the taste and texture of regular cows’ milk, I am reluctant to accept any variations – the allergy-friendly cows’ milk from the a2 Milk Company about as far as I am willing to venture. However, if you do like soya milk and aren’t so averse to any meddling with the taste and texture of regular milk, then Bonsoy may just be the drink for you. It’s certainly garnered almost ‘mythical status in Soyaland’ with its distinctive golden packaging, and has almost hipster-credentials with London’s independent coffee shops. Because this is a Soya Milk for serious soy drinkers, those discerning enough to know the difference and appreciate the beanie flavour for what it is.

The Perfect Soy Latté – ‘The Barista’s Secret’
Heat Bonsoy to 55-60°c.
Hold the steamer just below the surface of the milk.
Do not put the steamer to the base of the jug as it may cause the milk to burn.
Bonsoy can then be stretched and free poured into your favourite latté art design.

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