I already have a favorite almond milk, Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Almond Beverage, which I first bought because the box looked cute. Well, I fell for cool packaging again. Walking through the dairy section of Ralphs on my way to the eggs, I saw this futuristic-looking bottle of MALK Cold-Pressed Pure Almond Milk. It looked like a prop from a sci-fi movie. Can’t you just see Dave Bowman and Frank Poole sipping this stuff on board the ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey?
The ingredients list was also appealingly short and sounded healthy. I know, “Himalayan salt” is probably not much different from regular salt. It’s one of those marketing tools to get hippies like me to buy stuff. Guess what? It worked.
When I brought my MALK home, I still had some Trader Joe’s almond milk in the fridge, so I did a head-to-head taste test. The difference: Trader Joe’s has a subtle nutty flavor, while MALK has a strong almond-extract flavor.
I happen to like that flavor in certain contexts. It’s a staple in many Taiwanese desserts, for instance. At BlackBall in San Gabriel (yeah, that’s really its name), I had a hot almond soup with mochi balls in it that was weird and pretty awesome.
But I digress. Back to MALK, almond milk of the future. After tasting its strong flavor, I decided the best use of MALK was in an almond milk tea. This is another Taiwanese classic you’ll see at most boba tea shops. It’s iced black tea with a non-dairy milk, almond-flavored syrup, and optional boba pearls. I usually find almond syrup to be overpowering and too sweet, but by using MALK, I achieved a more balanced almond-extract flavor without adding syrup.
My experiment turned out well, but for most of my almond milk needs, I still prefer a subtler flavor. So even though MALK has the best packaging, I’ll be sticking to Trader Joe’s Almond Beverage.
But I can’t bring myself to toss this bottle in the recycling bin. I’m saving it for my next space mission, where all food comes in tubes and all drinks come in cool bottles like this.