Two Brissy ladies keen to help out with health habits city-wide are Emma and Alicia from Genki Milk Co.
I happened upon them during their first week at the Jan Powers Markets in Newfarm, and was instantly drawn to their thoughtfully crafted array of almond milks.
Genki almond milk tastes completely different to the almond milk you buy in a longlife carton in the store, mainly because store-bought almond milk contains an embarrassing 2% almonds, while Genki Milk is comprised of a whopping 20% almonds.
That means more delicious creamy almond goodness, less chemical nasties.
Actually in Genki Milk's case there are no chemical nasties at all, with the girls ensuring no non-food fillers, stabilisers or additives make their way into their artisanal milk creations. This does mean you have to drink your almond milk within a few days, but good luck keeping these tasty drinks in your fridge for that long!
We had a chat with Alicia and Emma to find out why they're nuts about the humble almond.
Current flavours in the Genki range include Pure Almond, Matcha Almond, Cacao Almond and Gold Almond which is a tumeric blend.
We tried them all and we genuinely could not get enough of these tasty drinks that also pack a serious health punch. These almond milks are rich and creamy in texture, and are all flavoured with natural ingredients including dates and vanilla which gives them a lovely, wholesome sweetness.
Each Genki almond has been soaked, blended, and then hand pressed like you would in your very own kitchen. I would say "lovingly hand pressed", but after the 300th press the girls' hands may feel otherwise!
Let's find out though.
60 Seconds with Emma Heather and Alicia Ferguson, Genki Milk Co.
What's behind the name 'Genki Milk'?
Emma: We get this question a lot. haha. "Genki desu ka?" is a Japanese greeting that is pretty close to the English translation "How are you?". Literally though it translates to mean, "Are you vital/healthy/well/energetic?" all in one.
Alicia: We decided to call our company Genki Milk Co. because we want to bring good energy, health and vitality into the lives of everyone involved with our business. We're all about those Genki vibes.
How did you start out making almond milk?
Alicia: Well neither of us drink dairy, soy milk makes us both sick and other boxed plant-based milks just don't make the cut. Almond milk, when prepared correctly has real health benefits. It's so nourishing and healing for the body and once we realised this we could never drink any other alternative again.
Emma: We were in Melbourne earlier this year and many cafes offered fresh, real almond milk. We kinda got spoilt with quality, creamy goodness and then we got back to Brisbane and it was back to boxed chemical "milk". So we started working on an almond milk that would complement coffee and realised other people might be interested in a fresh and healthy alternative too.
Where do you source your produce from?
Emma: Our almonds are pesticide/ insecticide free and sourced from South Australia. Our dates are from Gurra Downs and we use Murray River Salt. All ingredients in our Pure Almond milk are Australian made!
Alicia: In our flavours we include a few other ingredients. For our Matcha we use a premium Japanese Matcha from Uji, Japan and an organic vanilla bean. Our organic Peruvian Cacao is Fair Trade and delicious. Our organic turmeric featured in our Gold Almond milk is specially grown for its high curcumin content and is internationally recognised for its quality. Included in this recipe are a secret mix of sustainably sourced organic spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper).
How did you decide on your flavours?
Alicia: Travelling has inspired our flavours a lot. Matcha was our first flavour because we had it everyday when we were in Japan and once we got home the dream ended so we had no other choice but to develop an equally as tasty Matcha drink here in Brisbane. I also lived in India for 6 months and had a lot of delicious life-changing golden chai. I learnt about Ayurvedic principles and wanted to create something that respected your body and tasted true. As for Cacao Almond, who doesn't love a choccy milk?
Emma: We are both very interested in natural food based health. We didn't want our products to be laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners but have true flavour ingredients that are antioxidant and healing for your body.
When I met you guys at the Jan Powers New Farm Markets, you mentioned you’d been up since 3am making almond milk! What is a typical day for you to get your milk made, packaged and put to market?
Emma: haha. We actually woke up at 3am to get to the Powerhouse markets. The milks were made the night before, so we did manage to squeeze in a little shut eye in between.
Alicia: To prepare for a market we soak our almonds to activate their beneficial enzymes and bio-nutrients. Then we lovingly massage them until they are ripe and ready to be blended and squeezed, separating the healthy liquid of fats and oils from the fiber of the almond.
Emma: Yes we massage our almonds. Lets just say they get a whole lotta love from us during the making process!
What has the public response been to Genki Milk in its early days?
Alicia: Very supportive. A lot of people want to support local business, and discussions about fresh sustainable food are hot on everyone's lips, so we've drawn a lot of positive attention which has been wonderful. We are very grateful!
Emma: Yeh we were surprised by all the interest and love from everyone. Many cafes are supporting us too and are keen to support fresh products and local business which is just amazing!
What does the future hold for Genki Milk?
Emma: We want to make our fresh nutmilks available and accessible for the wider Brisbane community. There are definitely some ideas floating around between us for a Genki commercial kitchen space.
Alicia: One of the first steps will be reaching enough demand that we require a cold-press. Right now we still hand squeeze every litre of almond milk (we wear gloves, don't stress). When we have a cold press we'll be able to pump out more milk to reach way more people. One of the most important things we've learnt from other business owners is to be patient with big financial decisions and wait a while before taking any huge risks.