Vitamilk, Lactasoy, Nutrisoy, and More: We Try 7 Brands of Soy MilkJanuary 6, 2019
Before almond, hazelnut, rice, hemp, and whatever else-have-you “milks” came about was the O.G. of alternative “milks”: soy milk, or the resulting creamy liquid of soybeans that are soaked, ground, and filtered. Thought to have roots in Chinese dou jiang (soybean broth, a byproduct of tofu), it was popularized in the West over a couple of periods, eventually securing its place in mainstream consciousness as—for some time—a “healthier” sub for dairy (though this claim was to be challenged over the years that had followed). Styles differ across the world, with Asian versions often highlighting soy’s natural “beany” flavor and Western versions instead masking it (likely to better resemble cow’s milk).
Soy milk today maintains a polarizing reputation, with its fair share of fans and haters. As members of the former who appreciate the drink not as a stand-in nor for its nutritional value (or lack thereof?), but as a tasty drink in its own regard, we perused the supermarket shelves and found seven brands from around the globe. How do they compare?
Note: we narrowed down the selection to beverages marketed as soy milk, going for the most default or basic variants available. A number of brands include dairy in their blends however, often in the form of whole milk powder (likely for added flavor or creaminess). We took note of this wherever it appeared but for added security, always check the ingredients.
Green n Go
This local brand from the Zesto corporation comes in small glass bottles sealed with metal bottlecaps—not the most convenient to open, but plus points for using less plastic. It’s the sweetest of the bunch, tasting little of soy and more of sugar with a peculiar fruity undertone. This brand boasts of having added oat fiber, which seems to come across in a very mild oatmeal-y note (are we imagining things?); stay away if you can’t have dairy though, as you’ll find whole milk powder lurking in the ingredient list. Still, it’s easy to drink, flaunting a slightly crisp, liquid consistency balanced by a creamy feel underneath.
Sweetness: 5/5 | Creaminess: 2/5
Hailing from Thailand is Lactasoy, which is ultra-heat treated and comes in tetra boxes. Though the consistency is just between being creamy and liquified, it flaunts a fattier taste that can get overpowering, but makes this drink easy to dilute with ice as needed. The soy is mild and only secondary to its creaminess, likely because you’ll still find whole milk powder in the ingredients. While a distinctive taste we associate with UHT-treated milk makes its way toward the finish, it ends on a slightly salty note that keeps the mix from being cloying.
Sweetness: 3.5/5 | Creaminess: 4/5
Available as cans or tetra packs, this Singaporean brand bears a slightly thinner consistency that still brings a creamy finish to the tongue. Initially mild with a mid-level sweetness, it gradually introduces a deep, distinctly nutty tinge that strikes us as tasting more purely of soybean (perhaps a sweeter version of what you’d get on Taiwanese streets), building up to a full-on sensation that lingers long on the tongue. Just a touch savory toward the end, this is the kind of soy milk we’d happily pair with spicy dim sum and other Chinese or Singaporean bites.
Sweetness: 3/5 | Creaminess: 3.5/5
Not to be confused with a similar “unsweetened” variant also sold by this American brand, this “original” variant comes only very mildly sugary and not as specifically soybean-y in flavor—save for a whisper of grassiness a member of the team likens to the taste of parcooked soybean skins. It scores high on creaminess however, with a mild vanilla-esque note (despite not having any actual vanilla in the ingredient list) that makes it great for mixing into coffee. Call it soy milk for white people, if you will, but its relative neutrality makes it a good gateway soy milk for those dislike the beany taste of the traditional stuff.
Sweetness: 1/5 | Creaminess: 4.5/5
This Southeast Asia-wide popular brand goes for soy milk with a much thinner, more watery consistency than all others on the list. It’s barely sweet, delivering the soy profile in a diluted but distinctly earthy, nutty manner that comes through stronger as you sip. Though we were tempted to dismiss this as just another mild-tasting “textbook” store-bought soy milk, further sips revealed a tinge of maltiness—one that brings (specifically, cornflake-steeped) cereal milk to mind. Combined with the drink’s fluidity, the overall sensation is more refreshing than indulgent, making it far too easy to go back for another serving.
Sweetness: 2.5/5 | Creaminess: 2/5
Vitamilk is another Thai brand that’s successfully established itself on our shores. Commonly sold in glass bottles (though tetra pak versions are available as well), it goes by an off-white eggshell color and relatively viscous consistency with a slick mouthfeel. Though what hits the tongue first is a milky-sweet flavor (likely from the whole milk powder in the ingredient list), it builds up on the comforting profile close to fresh taho or scratch-made soy milk with a grassy and slightly savory aftertaste. Never mind that it’s on the sweeter side; we’d happily down this as a decidedly dessert-like soy treat.
Sweetness: 4/5 | Creaminess: 3.5/5
Hong Kong brand Vitasoy’s soy milk comes packaged in plastic bottles, and though its consistency veers toward the thin side, each sip delivers a slightly slippery feel on the tongue that makes for a creamier impression. It’s also on the mid-level of sweetness and bears the distinctly beany, slightly clay-tasting (but delicious) character that reminds us of fresh soy milk sold on the streets. Though a tad simplistic in its approach, it provides just the right amount of comfort to let you get through a dreary afternoon.
Sweetness: 3/5 | Creaminess: 2.5/5
The Verdict: Nutrisoy
With its balanced consistency and deeper, nuttier tinge that builds up and releases like no other brand, Nutrisoy is our soy milk of choice—one that we’d hanker for any time of day, delivering the distinctive soybean-y taste we so love. Coming close is Soyfresh, what with its mild but clean soybean profile and malty aftertaste; and Vitasoy, which goes for a slightly sweeter, less-creamy, but more casual approach to soy milk we nonetheless dig. Special mention goes to Vitamilk, whose thicker and sweeter mix makes for a decadent end to any meal.