Following a successful launch in 2018, Alternative Dairy Co has received the backing of a Melbourne coffee institution and a former Australian Latte Art Champion.
St Ali is a prominent name in the Australian coffee community.
Inside the roaster’s South Melbourne store, every detail is considered: the music, lighting, flower arrangements, even the staff attire with baristas sporting ‘feels good’ branded socks. Image is everything to St Ali, but so is taste and quality, including with its alternative milks.
St Ali has chosen Alternative Dairy Co to supply almond and soy milks at all of its stores, and recommends it as the diary alternative milk of choice to its café clients.
“When the opportunity to work together presented itself, it was a no brainer,” St Ali General Manager Lachlan Ward says. “Now in 2019, St Ali and Alternative Dairy Co are working closer together than ever before.”
Alternative Dairy Co Brand Manager Emma Seberry says aligned values of quality and great taste as well as a drive for success make St Ali a perfect partner for Alternative Dairy Co.
“The credibility of St Ali is undeniable. They are experts in their field and like Alternative Dairy Co, St Ali is constantly seeking the best,” Emma says.
When developing the barista milk range, Alternative Dairy Co approached several coffee roasters, baristas, café owners, and consumers for feedback on its formulation. St Ali was one of the roasters to provide input to this development process.
“Our more formal relationship is pretty fresh, but these guys have worked in the café and coffee scene for a really long time,” Lachlan says. “They’ve created a product that fits into that very specific market.
“Alternative Dairy Co has been very forthcoming and open to feedback and suggestions. That extends beyond product development to how our brands talk to and about each other.”
Alternative Dairy Co’s Barista almond and soy milks have been crafted specifically for use with coffee. Its almond milk is produced with peeled and unroasted almonds to provide a lighter taste. Whereas most soy milks only use soy protein as a base, Alternative Dairy Co uses a blend of protein and fibre, giving the milk a smooth mouthfeel.
The Alternative Dairy Co range was in development for several years prior to its official release at Fine Foods Australia in September 2018, with St Ali providing comments on its taste and performance since 2017.
“Our guys are very serious about what they do, and are willing to giving honest and open feedback about products,” Lachlan says.
“Working so closely in the milk’s development, the last piece of the puzzle was to stock them once they launched.”
Alternative Dairy Co’s range is crafted at its Berkeley Vale factory on the New South Wales Central Coast. The soy and almond milks are fortified with calcium to ensure its drinkers receive the same benefits they would from dairy milk, with fewer kilojoules and saturated fats. Emma says Alternative Dairy Co is an advocate for the benefits of plant-based foods and living a healthy lifestyle.
“We believe in giving Australians healthier choices that are good for them and better for the planet,” she says.
“It is an exciting time to be in the dairy-free milk business with more and more consumers seeking a plant-based lifestyle. Alternative Dairy Co is very excited to continue producing quality dairy-free milks and delivering consistent and reliable service to our customers.”
St Ali’s Lachlan says the decision to serve Alternative Dairy Co ultimately came down to taste.
“Regardless of the other details, a product has got to taste great for us to consider using it,” he says.
“The milks have a balanced sweetness and richness of texture and flavour that sits nicely with coffee. Alternative Dairy Co has finally delivered a milk that truly complements espresso.”
Lachlan says customers approve of the dairy-free milks, commenting that the strong almond flavours do not overwhelm the coffee.
“Feedback from our customers has been excellent, especially from people who drink almond milk but don’t necessarily appreciate the taste,” he says.
“[Alternative Dairy Co] has got the right balance. It’s not too over the top with that roasted almond flavour, and there’s a natural sweetness to it.”
St Ali’s baristas have also taken to the product, appreciating the ease with which they can handle the almond milk in particular.
“While there’s always challenges with alternative milks because of the protein structures being different to dairy, we’ve found [Alternative Dairy Co] consistent and easy to steam,” Lachlan says.
“It heats a little quicker than dairy milk, but that just means it requires a bit of early aeration. As far as products on the market go, it’s much easier than some of the other almond milks. In our opinion, this is the best alternative milk on the market.”
In addition to the St Ali partnership, Australian Specialty Coffee Association 2018 Australian Latte Art Champion and St Ali Trainer and Coach Shinsaku “Shin” Fukayama has signed on as an Alternative Dairy Co Brand Ambassador.
“Alternative Dairy Co milks have great functionality. They texture and stretch perfectly for latte art and enhance the coffee experience,” Shin says.
Emma says Shin’s latte art credentials made him an obvious choice to represent the company and demonstrate what its milks are capable of.
“Shin will represent Alternative Dairy Co at key trade events, and also coach coffee art classes on our behalf. He also has an amazing smile and positive outlook, which is perfectly suited to our brand,” she says.
Alternative Dairy Co’s next major event is Fine Foods in Sydney, September 2019. However, the company will hold smaller events with Shin and St Ali throughout the year which it will advertise via Instagram at @thealtdairycobarista.
“Based on the initial feedback we have received since launching the brand, we are very excited for the year ahead,” Emma says.
“Baristas are very happy with the way the milk textures and stretches. Meanwhile, consumers are also pleasantly surprised by the great taste. When choosing alternative dairy milk, you do not have to compromise on taste and quality.”
This article appears in the April 2019 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.