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Monday
Jun252012

Non-Dairy Hemp Milk Review

When my oldest was in preschool he raved the day they had a test taste of all things bitter, sweet, spicy, crunchy and mushy. Since that day, he's loved to conduct taste tests at home.

As I cruised the milk aisle the other day, I thought it'd be fun to buy a bunch of non-dairy "milk" beverages and let him conduct a couple of rounds of testing. I left the store with seven flavors. 

In the coming weeks I will review each variety that I picked up—hemp, almond, coconut, and sunflower—based on creaminess, sugar content, and overall taste. For nutritional values, other than sugar, I have linked to each brands' respective site.

Today we are tasting hemp milk—"Original" varieties in particular.

For those new to hemp milk, it boasts a distinct nutty flavor and is made by blending water and hulled hemp seed. I make it at home on occasion—but always keep some of the store-bought stuff on hand for convenience sake. Here's a little more info on hemp.

CONTENDER #1:
LIVING HARVEST TEMPT HEMP MILK ORIGINAL

How it Fared: This was our least favorite—which is funny because it's the brand I always stock. It was middle-of-the-road creamy but had a slightly bitter aftertaste. The lower sugar content (6g per serving) appealed to me.

Ingredients: Hemp Nut Base (Filtered Water, Hemp Nut [Shelled Hemp Seed]), Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Tricalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12.

CONTENDER #2:
MANITOBA HARVEST HEMP BLISS ORIGINAL

How it Fared: Hemp Bliss offered the most pleasing milky-white color, contained only 6g of sugar, and was the smoothest, second to the Pacific Foods brand. However it was also the least creamy—on the verge of being watery. This was the kids' favorite. Alas! I now have to break the news that we will no longer be able to buy it! As I write this review and do all my "linking up" I have learned that Manitoba Harvest is pulling Hemp Bliss from the U.S. market (but not the Canadian market) due to low sales. Here's a statement from the company that includes a recipe for making your own hemp milk using their Hemp Hearts.

Ingredients: Don't matter, can't get it anyway—at least in the U.S.

CONTENDER #3:
PACIFIC NATURAL FOODS HEMP MILK ORIGINAL

How it Fared: From a taste and creaminess perspective, this was the shining star in my opinion—my husband agreed. No carrageenan for those sensitive to it. It was super creamy, smooth and quite tasty. The only boo hoo are the 12g of sugar it packs per serving. Twice that of the other brands. Yikes!

Ingredients: Hemp nut base (filtered water, whole hemp nut [shelled hemp seed]), Brown rice syrup, Disodium phosphate, Xanthan gum, Calcium phosphate, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin,Vitamin B12

All three brands state "Gluten-Free" on the packaging, however none appear to be certified gluten-free. Tempt and Pacific Foods come in unsweetened varieties but were not included in this taste test—probably should've been ... back to the store :).

Other Reviews

Hemp Bliss over at Go Dairy Free (for those outside the U.S.)
Pacific Foods Hemp Milk over at Learning to Eat Allergy Free
Non-Dairy Milk Review over at Vegan Baking

Reader Comments (16)

Interestingly enough, Son and I just tried the Pacific Foods Hemp Milk for the very first time yesterday. Diane had left some from the gfe retreat. We actually loved it, but yeah, boo hoo on the sugar content. Hemp milk is not something that our local stores carry, so it's unlikely to become a regular on our shelves though.

Thanks, Lexie! xoxo,
Shirley

p.s. I think it's so cool that your son is into taste tests! Any time that you can get them in the kitchen evaluating food/products is a good thing. :-)

I hate that these are sweetener with Brown Rice Syrup. I guess we will never be able to try them :/ We have a rice allergy in my home

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea G

My youngest daughter drank the Tempt hemp milk from ages 1 to 2.5 because of a protein intolerance issue in dairy and soy. A nutritionist actually recommended the Tempt (unsweetened of course). She drank it at every meal; I made her oatmeal with it. I tried to use it smoothies and it just tasted too dewy to me. When I was able to successfully switch her over to dairy milk, she cried and cried for her Tempt hemp milk. So in her taste test, Tempt hemp milk takes the top spot!

We use several different milks for different ways of cooking. We use the hemp milk, unsweetened for gravies. If you can convert the kids to the sugar free versions...much better for them! The unsweetened versions are hard to find, so I order most of them from vitacost.com or from a co-op that I belong to.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeana

So cool!! I love that you do this, its great to "just know" what tastes better without having to stand and stare for a good 5 minutes.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhannah

Shirley ... one day maybe hemp milk will replace cola on those grocery store shelves. Hmmm, but then wouldn't bet on it : ) xoLexie

June 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Andrea, I know, it's so hard. Everyone's diet is different and to meet every persons' needs in one product (besides the whole food) is impossible. Maybe you could try the unsweetened Tempt and then add your own sweetener ... or better yet, make your own. I buy hemp hearts form Costco. Blend with water and vanilla and sweetener if you like ... so good. xoLexie

June 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Gina, good for you! You are a rockin' mamma!!! When we went off dairy (at 16 months) I turned to almond milk. Wish I had turned to sunflower or hemp ... something a little less allergenic ... b/c I think our guy developed a slight nut intolerance as a result. Now at almost 5 I am trying to reintroduce nuts. It's either the nuts or the strawberries that are giving him pimples on his bottom. It's a never ending mystery : ) xoLexie

June 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Jeana ... thanks for the great tip on Vitacost.com. So appreciate your taking the time to share as do others.

Hannah ... so glad the post helped. I do my fair share of shelf staring : )

xoLexie

June 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Sadly, none of the hemp milks have "flown" in our house. Thanks for updating me on Manitoba! I didn't know. Will spread the word ...

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Funny, we only get two brands here (one is Hemp Bliss) and I found that I liked the "other" one (can't even remember its name!) better. I've never been a huge fan of hemp milk--will have to see if I can find the brands you mention! But sad to hear that Manitoba Harvest is pulling it. . . I know theirs is one of the most popular brands here in Canada.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

I'm excited about these reviews! I'm a big fan of almond milk, but always curious about the other seed milks!

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Ricki ... no alarm : ) According to the company's statement, Hemp Bliss will still be sold in Canada. Lucky you! xoLexie

June 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Alisa ... it is somewhat of an acquired taste, I will agree, but a great sub for those who cannot tolerate nuts and who want a break from rice and coconut milk. xoLexie

June 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Hi Lexie,

Healthline recently finished researching the best allergy Apps and we were wondering if you would consider sharing the link with your network of followers. You can find the complete list at: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-allergy-iphone-android-apps

Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Warm Regards,

Tracy

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy Rose

Hi Lexie,

Healthline recently finished putting together a collection of the best online allergy videos. You can find it at: http://healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-videos-allergy

We encourage you to share the list with friends, followers, and subscribers.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Warm Regards,
Tracy

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy Rose

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