The Almond Cow does meet its claims of "No straining. No mess. Easy cleanup." But the results may be more watery than you'd like, as there's less flexibility with the water to almond ratio. If you already own a food processor, you may be better off making almond milk in it instead (unless you really hate straining the milk once it’s blended).
Price: $252 (US$195) plus taxes and shipping
Almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based milk alternatives with more than 40 different products available in Aussie supermarkets. But the almond content and percentage of protein in the products can vary.
Making your own almond milk isn't difficult – you have control over the almond content and can create a more delicious milk that caters to your tastes. Plus, the product is fresh and you can use any leftover pulp to bake muffins and cakes.
But one of the biggest complaints about DIY almond milk is having to strain the nut bag or muslin cloth to extract the milk after blending, as it can be messy and time-consuming.
Enter the Almond Cow – a plant-based milk making machine that promises fuss-free almond milk in "less than a minute". We take a closer look.
The Almond Cow consists of a blender base and head (including a built-in immersion blender), metal filter basket, small plastic container/collector cup and removable power cord. When assembled, it looks similar to a kettle and is about the same size.
It has two major selling points: first, it separates the almond milk from the pulp, so you don't have to spend time squeezing; second, it can make milk in one minute.
The Almond Cow can also be used to make a variety of plant-based milk alternatives including oat, cashew, coconut, pecan and pistachio. But for the purposes of this review, we're focusing on almond milk.
Almond Cow: not to be confused with an edible Prunus dulcis seed or a furry bovine mammal.
I followed the recipe and instructions that were included in the box, and the result was a fresh-tasting milk with a subtle almond flavour. It was also similar in colour to other homemade or store-bought versions.
But it was also quite watery – a complaint many other users have raised in the comments section on the Almond Cow website.
The result was a fresh-tasting milk with a subtle almond flavour… But it was also quite watery
In response, the brand has offered several tips for making creamier milk, such as using warm water, using the collector cup inside the base so you can blend using less water, or running the cycle twice with fresh almonds (leaving the milk in the base of the machine).
I tried each of these methods and although they did make the milk creamier than the original Almond Cow recipe, it wasn't quite as creamy as the 'Fiona Mair recipe' made in a food processor.
The fact that I had to go through these extra steps to make the milk taste creamier also made me question the 'quick and easy' sales pitch of the Almond Cow.
How much almond milk does it make?
Following the original Almond Cow recipe, I ended up with about one litre of milk.
When I followed the collector cup method (same amount of almonds but less water), I ended up with about 350mL.
Once I'd added the almonds to the filter basket, I found it difficult to attach the basket to the head, as I couldn't push the blender blade past the almonds.
Almond Cow recommends tilting both pieces sideways to get the blender blade in. But it took me longer than I expected to fit it on and I had to jiggle the basket, losing some almonds in the process.
Cleaning the Almond Cow was easier than I expected. I assumed getting the almond pulp out of the metal filter basket would be time-consuming and difficult, but it only needed a rinse and a wipe. That said, you do have to be careful cleaning the blender blade and head, as you can't get the black 'head' wet – that's where the machine's 'engine' is and it can be damaged by water.
Is an Almond Cow better at making almond milk than a food processor? We made almond milk in both, following the Almond Cow recipe that came with the instructions leaflet.
Here's how the two appliances compare.
The Almond Cow costs $252 (US$195) plus shipping and taxes. In our latest food processor review, prices range from from $49 to $999, with 18 models costing less than the Almond Cow.
We used the Breville BFP660 The Kitchen Wizz 11 food processor, which we already owned, but retails at $370.
The food processor method took about nine minutes to make almond milk from start to finish, including set-up, blending, squeezing the milk and cleaning the processor.
The Almond Cow was faster, taking about five minutes from start to finish (including the advertised one minute blending time).
Ease of use
There were pros and cons to both.
The Almond Cow lost out to the food processor for ease of set-up due to the difficulty of fitting the filter basket to the blender blade.
On the other hand, you don't need to squeeze the almond milk with the Almond Cow, which saves on time and mess.
Both appliances were equally easy to clean and took roughly the same amount of time to clean.
We made the Almond Cow recipe in our food processor (and processed it for one minute, the same time the Almond Cow takes) and ended up with similar-tasting milk that was also quite watery.
But where the food processor really shines is that you have more control over your recipe and can change the almond-to-water ratio more easily than with the Almond Cow, to make for a creamier milk.
The manufacturer itself doesn't make any claims about the Almond Cow saving you money. But if you go on social media or do a quick Google search, you'll find many happy owners boasting of how they'll recoup the cost of the $252 machine in a few months by making their own milk rather than buying it in-store.
But when we crunched the numbers, these claims didn't stack up.
To make our milk in the Almond Cow, we bought an 800g pack of almonds for $16 and the recipe used roughly 185g of almonds to make about one litre of milk.
Slightly pricier than store-bought milk
Based on these figures, our Almond Cow milk cost us about $3.70. That's six cents higher than the average cost of store-bought almond milk, making it difficult to recoup the costs of the machine.
On the upside, using the Almond Cow (or food processor) does leave you with the almond pulp, which you can then use for baking. This means there's no waste, the pulp is freshly made, you know exactly what's in it, and you can tailor your recipe to your specific taste.
You can also use the Almond Cow to make milks out of other nuts, grains and seeds. So although it may not save you money, it's arguably still good value.