Got oat milk? Plant-based milks have been quite a thing these days, whether we happen to be cutting down on dairy, or are setting out to be make more environmentally-friendly choices in the supermarket aisle. That said, none of the rest of the dairy alternatives have taken off quite like oat milk has.
Tried and tested, we have good reason to believe that it’s mostly because the oat milk x coffee pairing’s hard to beat, and we all love a good latte. Coffee appreciators will tell you that soy milk often feels too sweet, while other nut milks don’t live up to the delicious nutty aroma and foamy texture that perfectly complements roasted coffee beans. And while it looks like the market’s already full of contenders, there’s still enough room to get excited over this one — OATSIDE, a homegrown label that offers plant-based milk, which you might just prefer.
The OATSIDE difference
Baristas have often told us that the Asian — and Singaporean — coffee palate leans towards full-bodied, less acidic blends, those on the nutty and malty side. To complement that, OATSIDE’s star product, the Barista Blend oat milk is made to be creamier and maltier than other plant milks you might have tried. Two other variants are also available, a just-as-delicious Chocolate, and a rich Chocolate Hazelnut, for all you Nutella lovers.
The buzzy start-up, complete with vibrant marketing visuals, was founded in the midst of the pandemic by Benedict Lim, who takes pride that OATSIDE is a “full-stack” oat milk brand. What this means is that the Singapore-based label manufactures all their products in-house, and has full control over their sourcing and production process.
“It was a challenge developing the right product with existing set-ups at contract manufacturers in the early days, so we took the longer approach of building out our own production line that allowed us more customisation and control over the oat extraction process,” said Benedict Lim, Founder and CEO of OATSIDE.
During the pandemic lockdown, the 31-year-old entrepreneur had experimented with making his own oat milk at home, using different ingredients and extraction processes to achieve the perfect oat milk blend. “What surprised me when I started experimenting was how extraction methods were leading to much bigger differences in taste and texture than oat provenance, which is the opposite of what I had expected.
“It’s like making pasta. The same ingredients of water, flour and eggs yield completely different results in the hands of different chefs. We must have made more than 50 versions — experimenting with different oat provenance, extraction and processing methods — before landing on the final product, all of which I subjected family, friends and baristas to,” he continued.
All their dairy-alternative oat milks are made with Australian Oats and natural spring water, which is key to the recipe, said Lim. OATSIDE is also produced in the mountainous region of Bandung, Indonesia, where there is direct access to natural spring water in its purest form.
Why is oat milk good for us?
The health benefits of oats include the fact that they contain beta glucans — making it good for your heart, while lowering cholesterol and boosting immunity — and is low in saturated fats as well. OATSIDE also makes sure to do away with artificial flavours, gums, emulsifiers, preservatives and colouring; everything on the menu is Halal-certified too.
As for oat milk’s environmental benefits, you’ll be glad to know that the production of oat milk requires 90% less land and water, and produces 70% less emissions compared to its cow’s milk counterparts. OATSIDE also sources Rainforest-Alliance certified ingredients, including cacao beans and hazelnuts, and uses recyclable paperboard packaging.
OATSIDE’s trio of oat milk variants
Here’s a closer look at all three oat milk variants —
- OATSIDE Barista Blend, $6 — A smooth, creamy, and malty oat milk that’s best paired with coffees and teas, though it’s just as good on its own. It creates beautiful microfoam when steamed for your latte art too. 100% plant-based with no saturated fats or added sugar; the natural sweetness comes from just the oats.
- OATSIDE Chocolate, $6 — The dark and rich blend is made for adults, and uses less sugar than most chocolate milks. For a more complex flavour, it’s made with 100% Rainforest Alliance certified blend of Indonesian-African cacao beans, twice the amount compared to other oat milk brands.
- OATSIDE Chocolate Hazelnut, $8 — This one’s velvety smooth, with intense notes of dark- roasted hazelnuts coming through. Instead of adding flavours, its distinct taste comes purely from high-quality hazelnuts, which are 100% Rainforest-Alliance certified and sourced from Turkey.
A short Q&A with OATSIDE’s founder
To find out more about the local brand we reached out to Benedict Lim for some burning questions we were eager to know — why did he settle on “creamier and maltier”, the story behind OATSIDE’s processes and its vibrant visuals, as well as his preferred way of drinking oat milk. Read on for the answers.
1. OATSIDE is said to be “creamier and maltier” than other plant milks — how did you decide on that particular taste profile?
Benedict Lim: “Creamy and malty is a personal taste preference that I feel is also reflective of what many people love. Especially for those in Asia, a common comment we get from non-plant-milk-drinkers is that OATSIDE tastes incredibly familiar.”
2. What were the top three qualities that you felt like you had to perfect while creating OATSIDE?
BL: “Our top priorities were achieving taste and texture, while staying true to being a clean label product and not using gums, emulsifiers or artificial flavours.”
3. How much longer did building your own production line take, compared to just working with a contract manufacturer?
BL: “It took us more than 12 months longer to set up the production line. We faced many challenges along the way and in the process built up a lot of technical knowledge and experience within the organisation for future footprint projects.”
4. What are some of your favourite ways to drink OATSIDE?
BL: “Neat, coffee, tea, cereals, smoothies — all’s fair on the OATSIDE. My recent favourite is a banana peanut butter oat milkshake I tried at Trapeze in Singapore.”
5. Can you tell us more about the vibrant artwork across the cartons and brand visuals?
BL: “OATSIDE as a brand is optimistic, adult and as-is. The artwork was a way to convey our brand world — the OATSIDE of life; the bright side of life told in all its unfiltered, modern glory. The packs’ artwork are cartoons and yet have a feel and tone that speaks to adults, which is our intention.”
OATSIDE, available on REDMART and SHOPEE in the Barista Blend, Chocolate and Chocolate Hazelnut variants.
you may also find them at Baker & Cook, PPP COFFEE, Chye Seng Huat Hardware, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf islandwide and more.