Single O sources coffees from all over the world, but when it came to the perfect oat milk to serve in its own cafés and recommend to customers, the answer was right on its doorstep.
‘We’re not saints – there’s currently no way to avoid accruing thousands of shipping miles to get our coffees here. So, when you’ve got a quality product on your doorstep, it’s a way we can support local. We were looking for an oat milk provider that used a higher quantity of locally sourced ingredients, and from a supply chain perspective, with less emissions or ‘food miles’ that went into transporting the products. The Alternative Dairy Co came out on top,” says Tobias Aubrey-Poiner, Head Trainer at Single O.
“They’re just up the road on the Central Coast, so The Alternative Dairy is fairly local to us too. It means we can easily get on the phone or visit their production facility. That’s why we looked so closely at The Alternative Dairy Co initially and it was backed up by its quality and approach to sustainability.”
Single O achieved carbon neutral status in April 2021, this involved an assessment of all the company’s emissions across the supply chain. The roaster then reduced what it could and offset the rest through investments in tree planting & ecosystem regeneration projects, via Green Fleet.
This process encouraged the Surry Hills roaster to look closer at the products it’s using too.
“We started offsetting our emissions by contributing to carbon capture projects but that wasn’t enough for us. We’re on a ‘Mission Against Emissions’. Climate change is threatening the future of specialty coffee; We’ve been highlighting this with our No Death to Coffee campaign, and as part of that, must continue to reduce our impact across the whole supply chain,” Tobias says.
“The industry has a good understanding of the emissions it produces when it comes to the coffee, but when you look at dairy and dairy alternatives, and think about the high percentage of customers drinking milk-based coffees, it becomes a bit of an oversight. Moving to a locally produced oat milk was a no brainer.”
Not only did The Alternative Dairy Co Barista Oat Milk perform best in terms of sustainability, Single O taste tested 12 different oat milks with all four of its blends – Reservoir, Killerbee, Paradox, and Yeehah! – and whilst there was some tough competition, it was the most consistent performer.
“When it came down to it, we had to base our decision on the quality of the oat milk. We held over 70 blind testings with people from across the company, with people who already drank plant-based milks as well as traditionally dairy drinkers to cast a wider net, and landed on The Alternative Dairy Co,” Tobias says.
“They’ve clearly spent a lot of time creating a product that is barista focused. It steams up, pours, and performs just like dairy. Most experienced barista should be able to handle any dairy alternative, but that usability is crucial for those just starting out.”
Finding and serving high-quality dairy alternatives has become increasingly important as more coffee drinkers turn to plant-based milks for their morning brew.
“People are shifting from dairy to alternative milks and the demand is going up every week. It’s driven by a few things, but mainly it’s people being more diet conscious and environmentally aware,” Tobias says.
“As a trainer, I’m on the ground a lot or out in customers’ cafés and am seeing oat milk open up plant-based milks as an option to more people who traditionally drink dairy. It’s a little bit more neutral tasting than previous options and that’s helping people make the change, which I’m witnessing across our wholesale network, even regionally.”
Moving into 2022, Single O will continue to reduce its carbon footprint and The Alternative Dairy Co will play a part in that.
“With New South Wales opening back up, we’ll be doing more events. Latte art competitions are always fun, but in the back of my mind is how wasteful they are with the amount of milk poured down the drain, which is lessened if you’re using an oat milk with a smaller footprint to begin with,” Tobias says.
“With The Alternative Dairy Co so nearby, I’m excited to be able to work a lot more closely with them in 2022.”