Almond Mylk. It Does A Latte Good

There’s almond milk, and then there’s almond Mylk. Crafted by the Los Angeles-based juicer Made With Love Wellness, Mylk is an artisanal brand of cold-pressed, organic almond milk that has caught on with local coffee shops in search of a better dairy alternative.

While baristas have long fulfilled requests for non-dairy creamers, lattes, and cappuccinos with soy and almond milk, the latest crop of so-called “third wave” coffee shops have grown more discerning about what goes into their brews. With their reputation for investigating the source and quality of every coffee bean and tea leaf, they’re applying similar scrutiny to find premium dairy and plant-based milks.

“There are many people who want almond milk. They just don’t know that they want a better almond milk,” said Brooke Rewa, owner of Made With Love Wellness and creator of Mylk.

Foodzooka (Alana's Coffee serving Mylk)
photo: Foodzooka (Alana’s Coffee serving Mylk)

Brooke versed herself in the benefits of raw, cold-pressed juices and almond milk for her own health when she became vegan. Almond milk is often a staple of vegan diets as both a beverage and an ingredient in recipes. Though widely available at grocery stores in refrigerated cartons or in shelf-stable boxes, most brands must use a number of stabilizers, preservatives, sugars, and other additives to extend the shelf life and tweak the flavoring.

“I started looking at the ingredients because I was trying to cut out processed food, and I realized there were all kinds of junk in almond milk. So I started to make it myself at home. And once you taste that, there’s no going back to the store bought stuff,” she said.

Brooke had already been selling organic cold-pressed juices as a vendor at the Mar Vista Farmers Market four years ago, when inquiries about almond milk persuaded her to add it to her lineup. Growing demand allowed her to open a permanent storefront location nearby on Washington Blvd. As she was able to increase production, she soon needed a commercial facility to create larger batches of the almond milk.

Mylk-almond milk line up-Foodzooka
photo: Foodzooka

While Brooke’s method of making almond milk continues to be the same as it was when she made it at home, it’s now on a bigger scale. The raw almonds are soaked overnight, blended with a natural flavor (honey, vanilla, etc.), and then pressed and strained through a filter. The key is to avoid heating the milk or nuts throughout the process. “You’re trying to keep as many of those micronutrients and enzymes as possible. But if you pasteurize it, you’re killing those micronutrients and enzymes,” she said.

She went on to explain that the sprouting mechanism that occurs when these raw almonds are soaked makes Mylk more digestible for those who may be less tolerant of other almond milks, as the enzyme inhibitors in the nuts that typically interfere with digestion are released during the soaking process.  

Because California almonds are required by law to be heat-pasteurized or treated with a fumigant, the organic almonds used for Mylk are sourced from Spain and Italy, where they’re sold raw and unpasteurized. “They’re picked off of a tree and put in a box for us,” said Brooke.

This attention to maintaining a pure and unprocessed product would not go unnoticed. When Blue Bottle Coffee came to Los Angeles, it was the first coffee company to ask about getting Mylk wholesale for their shops. The Oakland-based roaster ordered 20 gallons a week, which prompted Brooke to formulate an exclusive coffee shop version of Mylk to serve the needs of espresso drink makers: the Barista Blend. Now Mylk is used in lattes across more than 50 coffee shops throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.

“It was made to pair really well with coffee, so there’s no overpowering taste. It’s lightly sweetened, so it kind of reminds you of dairy,” she said. “And it foams really beautifully.”

Mylk - Kiff Kafe
photo: Mylk (Kiff Kafe)

Because Mylk is made with more almonds than other plant-based milks, its higher fat and protein content gives it the ability to foam. This past June, Brooke hosted a Mylk Latte Art Throwdown event to promote Mylk’s plant-based pairability with espresso and matcha. Held at Alana’s Coffee Roasters in Mar Vista, 62 baristas came to compete for prizes. About 300 spectators were treated to a festival atmosphere with lawn games, locally made vegan food, a beer garden hosted by LA Aleworks, and vodka cocktails mixed with juices from Made With Love Wellness.

“We wanted to show these baristas that you can do really cool things with our almond milk,” Brooke said. The Mylk Throwdown also marked the launch of a new product: flash frozen pouches of concentrated Barista Blend, branded for wholesale as Goodmylk. This repackaged option allows coffee shops to order and store larger quantities for longer periods. Because freshly made raw almond milk must remain at 41 degrees and only has a shelf life of five days, coffeehouses had been reluctant to place large orders and would often run out of almond milk. The new packets make Goodmylk more accessible to more shops, and the flash freezing doesn’t affect the taste or compromise the quality.

“Flash freezing happens super quick; there’s no degradation of the nutrients and the product,” said Brooke. In the freezer, the pouches have a shelf life of six months.

GoodMylk - wholesale barista blend
photo: Goodmylk.co (wholesale barista blend)

So far, some of the other coffee shops and cafes in the Los Angeles area using Goodmylk include Refined Grind10 Speed Coffee, Espresso Cielo, Civil Coffee, The Conservatory, Chaumont Bakery, Kiff KafeGracias Madre, Gjelina, Uplifters Kitchen, Bardonna, Green Table Cafe, and La Colombe Coffee.

The portability of the pouches means they can go far beyond Southern California. Brooke plans to expand Goodmylk into San Francisco in August and break into Portland and Seattle in the fall, eventually working its way over to the East Coast by next year. The product even has potential to be sold directly to consumers.

“Hopefully, it will go to retail, and you can go to your freezer and have homemade almond milk at home,” she said.

Although the Barista Blend is currently only sold wholesale, you can buy fresh bottles of Mylk at the Made With Love Wellness shop in Culver City or at the farmers markets in Mar Vista, Studio City, and Pacific Palisades, all held on Sundays. There you’ll find up to 10 different flavors of almond Mylk to choose from, including vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry, matcha, and lavender. Pint-sized bottles are handy as a quick beverage, or you can take home quart-sized bottles for your smoothies, granola, desserts, and other non-dairy recipes. Local delivery is also available for larger orders made on their website.

If you’ve built up an appetite or need a post-workout pickup, try a Mylkshake. These drinks have a base of almond milk plus several more satisfying and filling ingredients such as pistachios, cashews, dates, goji berries, and coconut meat. You’ll also get the benefits of additional nutrients such as chlorophyll and astragalus, and turmeric. “There are a lot of healthy fats and proteins in there. They’re pretty hardy,” Brooke said.  

Mylk-mylkshakes-Foodzooka
photo: Foodzooka

Made With Love Wellness also continues to create juices to address specific health aspects, such as anti-inflammation, promoting healthy skin, balancing hormones, and boosting energy. Some of the choices include Glow (pineapple, cucumber, spinach, kale, apple, and probiotic), Inflammation Flush (pineapple, orange, red pepper, cilantro, cucumber, celery, lemon, habanero, and probiotic), and Heart Happy (beet root, beet greens, apple, chaga, chia seeds, lemon, ginger, and probiotic).

Aside from the beverages, the boutique features a number of nutritional supplements and health and beauty products, some made exclusively by Made With Love Wellness and some from other local vendors. A few edible goodies made by local artisans are also available, such as bite-sized date morsels from Magic Dates and salted caramels from Freedom Farm.

Made With Love Wellness - artisans - Foodzooka
photo: Foodzooka

Toward the back of the shop, you can even get a cyrotherapy treatment in a chamber that blasts your body with liquid nitrogen nearing -250° Fahrenheit. This brief jolt of ultra-low temperature is thought to stimulate blood flow to help heal problematic areas.

All of the products sold at Made With Love Wellness have a similar theme of improving your health. “You boost your immunity and your overall health, your longevity, your vitality,” Brooke said. “There are so many great side effects to go along with getting into this type of lifestyle.”

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Made With Love Wellness - Foodzooka
photo: Foodzooka