NüMilk stations are already in a few New Jersey Whole Foods locations
When it comes to almond milk, you basically have two options. You can go to the store and grab a carton, or you can DIY. Packaged almond milk can be watery and packed with fillers, and while homemade almond milk has a creamy-dreamy texture and flavor, it takes hours and involves a lot of gear to make. A new company called NüMilk presents another option.
“It’s a make-your-own vegan milk machine,” Ari Tolwin, co-founder of NüMilk, told me over the phone. NüMilk is the result of a gap in the non-dairy market. There was little to no freshly-made almond milk available at the grocery store, and if there was some for sale, it was really expensive. NüMilk stations mill almonds on demand, making them an affordable way to get fresh, creamy almond milk any time.
Even on a small scale, almond-milk production requires a lot of water and creates a decent amount of food waste. If you’ve made it yourself, you tossed the pulp after squeezing and straining the soaked almonds, right? NüMilk doesn’t run into that problem. “At home you wouldn’t be using a professional piece of equipment to fully mill the almond,” Tolwin said. “With our machine, we use the entire almond, so you’re getting slightly more protein and fiber than if you were when making it at home. Plus you’ll avoid that mess and effort.”
In addition to creating a food waste-free free product, Tolwin feels strongly about eliminating carbon from the supply chain. Carbon is a product of refrigerated transport of many packaged almond milks, as well as reusable packaging. He also wants to and getting rid of the fillers often used to make the beverage. “Most of the stuff on the shelf is two to three percent almonds. We’re 12 percent almonds,” Tolwin said. “Those companies make up for some of that difference with things like guar gum, locust bean gum, and acacia gum, which are thickeners.” While these almond milks will likely have a similar creaminess to a freshly made product like NüMilk, it’s artificial.
Even if you don’t particularly care about what fillers are in your milk, Tolwin claimed that NüMilk has another leg up on packaged milks: "Our milk works really well in coffee. It even foams beautifully. A lot of almond milks on the shelf won’t because they have such a high water content. Plus, gums don’t foam.”
NüMilk is still in its very early stages. There are a few stations in select Whole Foods locations in New Jersey selling sweetened and unsweetened almond milk for $3.99 per liter. But it’s highly unlikely Tolwin and the team will stop there. Though he couldn’t confirm anything yet, keep an eye out for that “fresh almondmilk” sign in your local store. I know I will.