I have a pretty refined palate. When I was thirteen, my parents blindfolded me and I successfully identified various types of water (tap, Evian, Dasani) and ketchup (Heinz, Whole Food, Hunts). Fast-forward to this morning in my kitchen. With the sun out, the fridge door open and my palate ready, I am about to see if I can taste the difference between “gourmet” and “normal” milk.
The cup on the left is Whole Foods whole milk, which is like any other whole milk only it’s from Whole Foods and therefore is expensive. This is the normal milk. The milk to the right is Fairlife whole ultra-filtered milk. This is the gourmet milk. As they write on their website, ultra-filtered milk “is a new twist on a classic favorite. Deliciously creamy and full flavored but now with 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and 50% less sugar than typically found in milk.” This is achieved via a state of the art filtration system in which milk scientists at Fairlife can keep the desirable things like protein, calcium and vitamins in the milk while filtering away bad things like sugar and lactose. My job, as the fella with the refined palate, is to see if I can taste a difference between the two.
I close my eyes and my mom hands me a cup of milk. I take a sip and swish the milk around in my mouth. It tastes like milk. I have my mom hand me the other cup of milk. I again swish it around in my mouth. Hmm. This one tastes sweet. This could very well be the “special” milk. I swallow and immediately take a sip of the first milk again. This time it come across as watery and bitter. This must be the Whole Foods “normal” milk. I open my eyes and find out my palate has served me well again. The first milk was in fact normal and the second milk was gourmet.
“It has a good, smooth and rich taste,” said my nine-year old brother Simon of the ultra-filtered milk. This is a pretty accurate description of Fairlife milk and this wonderful tastes stays in your mouth for awhile after a sip. The Whole Foods milk leaves an aftertaste, but it is not a pleasant one, coming across as artificial and processed. Drinking Fairlife is like drinking milk fresh from the udder, if milk fresh from the udder came in hip and colorful packaging.
I have never actually had udder-fresh milk, so I’ll make a more appropriate comparison. Fairlife milk is like an In-N-Out milkshake and Whole Foods milk is like a McDonalds milkshake. Shakes from both of these places taste good since they are milkshakes and milkshakes by nature are tasty. Upon closer inspection, however, a McDonalds milkshake begins to tastes artificial and gross, much like the Whole Foods milk. An In-N-Out shake, however, no matter how much it is scrutinized, will always taste like ice-cream and milk and in a similar fashion, Fairlife milk when analyzed tastes like milk and nothing else. So next time you are in the dairy section of the market ask yourself do I want to drink milk or do I want to drink something that vaguely tastes like milk? If you pick the former, buy Fairlife and if you pick the latter, well…I have some more convincing to do.