Over the past few years, as animal-free diets have risen in popularity both nationwide and at Washington University in St. Louis, animal-free products subsequently have as well. Such products include dairy-free milk—the icon of veganism in the eyes of many. Now serving up products that align with the popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets, Paws & Go, the beloved and convenient mini food market at WashU, recently began offering Ripple Dairy-Free Milk to students.

Made mostly from peas and pea protein, Ripple Dairy-Free Milk is an allergy-friendly dairy substitute that's rich in protein, a nutrient that vegans and vegetarians alike may struggle to incorporate into their diets. As a vegan myself, I was eager to try this product and test the most important parameter, which is how it tastes, of course. After trying the three flavors, currently sold at Paws & Go for $8.90, I've finally sorted out my thoughts about Ripple Dairy-Free Milk's Original, Unsweetened Vanilla, and Chocolate flavors.

The Flavor

I'm completely at peace with the flavor of Ripple Dairy-Free Milk's products. Overall, I wouldn't choose to drink these dairy-free milks straight-up, with the possible exception of the chocolate flavor, which tastes as sweet and delicious as chocolate milk should. But, the fact that I wouldn't drink the other two flavors straight-up may be because I've never really enjoyed drinking a plain old glass of milk.

If you're looking for a flavor that's most reminiscent of dairy milk, I think the Original product should be your first choice. It has an underlying, subtle sweetness with a more neutral and milky flavor profile than almond or soy milk—both of which are also usually available for purchase at Paws & Go. On the other hand, the Unsweetened Vanilla product didn't quite do it for me. The vanilla flavor is a little too subtle for my liking, and the lack of sweetness makes it taste a bit bland. However, this flavor would make a great option for those who are more conscious of their sugar intake than I am (or should be). I would most likely use this flavor in my oatmeal where the taste would be slightly subdued and the dairy-free milk could help improve the texture of the oats.

The Texture

Overall, I was quite content with the texture of Ripple Dairy-Free Milk's products. The products are generally creamy and thick, as I think a high-quality milk alternative should be. At times, they come across a bit of a chalky. That's when the protein powder-like quality comes through, which doesn't really phase me given that I am familiar with this quality in many dairy-free alternatives. But, I can see how this textural aspect may seem a bit strange at first for those who aren't accustomed to dairy-free milk products. Also, because of the added protein, the dairy-free milk tends to separate in coffee and tea, so I don't think these products would work as good creamers. I have, however, found Ripple's products to be a solid addition to breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and smoothies.

Overall Usefulness

I've definitely become a fan of Ripple. The dairy-free milks are now an amazing addition to my breakfasts and are helping to serve me well nutritionally. As a busy student who doesn't regularly find the time to go grocery shopping off-campus, the fact that these products are now so easily accessible at Paws & Go is a huge gift that I've certainly been utilizing.

If you follow a diet that's dairy-free, are seeking to reduce your animal-product consumption, or are simply looking to try something interesting and new, I definitely think Ripple's products are worth your time.