Chickpea cappuccino: the foamiest coffee without milk

Israeli startup ChickP introduces custom chickpea protein isolates to make dairy-free coffee

If you want a frothier, creamier coffee, try using chickpeas.

Israeli food tech start-up ChickP says it has cracked the code for a creamy, high-foam milk substitute for dairy-free cappuccinos, using milk made with chickpea ingredients.

The company last week announced the introduction of protein isolates (highly concentrated and refined protein fractions) customized for barista-style coffee drinks and has developed a creamer made from chickpeas that contains nine essential amino acids and is also nutritious and tasty.

The solution was designed to serve food formulators working in the alternative dairy space to create compelling milk analogues specifically for creamy beverages like coffee, the company said.

ChickP uses patented technology to extract protein isolates from chickpeas to create ingredients used as a dairy-free alternative. Courtesy.

“We have developed a recipe with our isolated ingredients for customers who want to make non-dairy beverages,” ChickP CEO Liat Lachish Levy told NoCamels. “Today, the non-dairy creamers available on the market are mainly made from soy and recently rice, almond and oatmeal. The latter have a very low percentage of protein. ChickP protein is very suitable for consumers who wish to have a non-allergenic and highly nutritious option since chickpeas are considered non-allergenic with a complete nutrient profile, plus it also offers good solubility for the low pH of coffee.

Barista drinks can demonstrate just how versatile ChickP is and how it can solve the challenges of making better, tastier plant-based products, says Lachish Levy.

Many plant proteins on the market have bitter or unpleasant flavors, low protein content, and grainy or chalky textures. Even with added sugar or flavor modifiers, the results don’t have the look and characteristics of real creamy milk, ChickP said.

“Our ChickP protein ticks all the boxes,” says Lachish Levy. “It’s packed with highly nutritious complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. But more than that, it has a rich texture and offers a smooth and stable full foam, with a white color, perfect for showcasing the skills of the most astute baristas.

ChickP’s dairy-free cream is made from chickpea protein isolate. Courtesy.

Chickpea mousse isn’t a brand new discovery, according to vegan media brand VegNews, which cites aquafaba, the leftover brine in a can of chickpeas that has been used as a fluffy egg white substitute for years. ChickP uses its patented technology to extract neutral-tasting protein isolates into powder form, eliminating bitterness and other non-nutritional factors. The neutral flavor alleviates the need for sugar or flavor additives and allows beverage formulators to significantly shorten ingredients.

The ingredient also demonstrates excellent foaming abilities due to its high solubility and smooth texture, according to the company. The plant-based barista milk model contains 3% protein. Existing plant-based barista products typically contain less than 1% protein.

S930 G910 chickpea isolates are “the most refined form of protein” containing a high concentration of protein with the advantage of color, flavor and functional properties, she says. This makes them “an ideal raw ingredient,” noting that the company plans to use them for protein bars, hard cheese, yogurts and egg substitutes.

The refined texture of chickpea ingredients in a milk substitute can help baristas Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

The company has many new projects around the world, both for non-dairy applications such as cheese substitutes and yoghurts as well as meat/fish alternatives, egg substitutes for desserts and bakeries and many more, according to Lachish Levy. “We are confident that by late 2022, early 2023, we will see many new products available to consumers globally,” she said.

The challenges of plant products

ChickP is currently developing more than 20 plant-based applications with major food and beverage companies with its pure protein ChickP, Lachish Levy told NoCamels.

“Our customers have turned to us to solve major plant-based product issues and we have been able to provide complete solutions in terms of flavor, complete nutritional profile and functionality,” she says.

A significant challenge is that consumers who choose to use a non-dairy product for their coffee know that they will not compromise on flavor.

“Consumers want a holistic experience that’s better for you, but full of flavor,” she says.

Another challenge in using plant-based protein for barista drinks is having a stable product, avoiding drink breakdowns and supplementing knockdown techniques, or isolating protein from chickpea flour, no problem.

“Our technologists have taken full advantage of our new state-of-the-art application lab to overcome the organoleptic and technical challenges of creating creamy, dairy-free ‘milk’ for the perfect cappuccino,” says Lachish Levy, “ChickP has overcome challenges and obstacles that many startups face, including large-scale manufacturing, significantly increasing volumes, and meeting customer demand.

Chickpeas are an excellent source of vegetable protein. A one-cup (164-gram) serving provides about 14.5 grams of protein, which is comparable to the protein content of similar foods like black beans and lentils, according to Healthline.

According to The Good Food Institute, dairy-free milk accounts for 35% of plant-based food sales growth in the US market, with $2.5 billion in annual sales. Plant-based milk dollar sales have increased 20% over the past year and 27% over the past two years. Plant-based milk is a major entry point for households trying products in all plant-based categories.

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