April 14, 2014

How Does Goat Milk Taste?

This is a question I hear often: what does goat milk taste like? Some of the askers have tasted the nasty stuff from the grocery store; others have heard rumors and tales of how "goaty" goat milk tastes. Properly handled, fresh goat milk tastes good. It is very similar to whole cow's milk; most people can't even tell the difference.

The canned goat milk from the grocery store does taste pretty bad, I'm told. In my opinion, the canned cow's milk from the grocery store tastes pretty bad too. But that's not good, fresh milk, so I think it's comparing apples to oranges. Both apples and oranges are round and grow on trees, but that's where the similarities end.

Factors that affect the taste of goat milk include freshness, the goat's diet, her environment, and how the milk is handled after milking.

If you were to buy goat milk in a carton from the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store, keep in mind that the milk is several days away from the goat. It's not fresh. On the other hand, if you own your own goat and collect fresh milk every morning, that milk is FRESH. The taste will prove it.

Many plants and herbs will affect the taste of the milk. Eating wild onions, for instance, will give the milk an onion-y taste. We've noticed that ragweed will change the taste, as can other plants. Another culprit is feed that includes soy.

A goat that lives in a dirty environment, lying around on dirty straw, will produce off-flavored milk. Keeping a strong-smelling buck near the does, or in the same pen, can also cause the milk to taste "bucky". If you've ever smelled a buck in rut, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Milk Handling
How you handle the milk once it comes out of the goat's udder is a big factor as well. Chill the milk as quickly as possible - I wrote about this here. Keep it cold. Drink it while it's fresh. We drink this morning's milk today; tomorrow we will drink tomorrow morning's milk.

Keep everything clean, clean, clean, from the milk bucket to the jars that store your milk. Milk your goat in the cleanest environment possible. Wash your equipment thoroughly and rinse it very well.

If you are used to drinking 2%, 1% or even skim milk from the store, goat milk might taste "funny" at first. Fresh goat milk is whole milk, with none of the fat removed. Switching from 1% cow milk to whole cow milk will taste funny too.

Goat milk is naturally homogenized, but the cream will eventually separate a bit and rise to the top of the jar. Simply shake the jar to mix it up again, or spoon off the cream to go in your coffee.

So, how does goat milk taste? It tastes like milk.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Love this. I still haven't tasted goat's milk, but I'm sure I would love it. I'm kind of a milkaholic, LOL.

  2. A "milkaholic" - I like that term, Rose. :-)

  3. I have never tasted fresh goat's milk - only the nasty stuff at the grocery store. I admit that my idea of goat's milk was tainted by that stuff. Now, I am so curious to taste fresh goat's milk. Thank you for this post!

  4. It's not at all like that nasty stuff, Angela. I hope you'll give it a try if you ever have the opportunity.

  5. This is a familiar question as I grew up drinking goats milk and still am blessed to have my parents share milk with our family so we can drink it. We do notice flavors now and then (due to something they eat) but mostly it is just good milk!

  6. I don't have goats yet. But I do drink goats milk every day. I buy a gallon of the most sweet, creamy, delicious goats milk at our farmer's market every Saturday morning. My milk is produced by a Mennonite family farm. That Saturday milk is still delicious and soul satisfying by the last drops on Friday.

  7. Hm, I wonder if some people just can't taste the difference between cow and goat milk, while other people can't. I have never raised goats, so the goat milk I've had has never been quite as fresh as yours. But I do sometimes get it from a Vermont farm where they advertize that it tastes just like cow milk. But to me and my family, it does not. It is good, I like it, but it has a distinctive flavor recognizable as goat milk, the same distinctive flavor you get in goat cheese or goat milk yogurt. It's better than the stuff in the carton at the grocery store (which isn't bad, to me), but no way could it pass as cow milk to my taste buds. It's sweet and delicious, but quite different from cow milk. Found this post via Backyard Farming Connection.

  8. I tasted goat's milk for the first time last month and it did taste like what I remember cow's milk tasting. It was delicious and quite refreshing.

    Thanks for sharing this on The Maple Hill Hop!

  9. Abbi, Shannon and Daisy - you've found goat owners who know what to feed their goats. :-)

  10. Janet, I'd be curious to know what those goats eat, but yes, some people can taste the difference even when it's slight. I've noticed that the taste of goat milk (all raw milk, actually) changes as the days go by, which is why I drink the freshest milk each day.

  11. Ahhh, I can't wait till we start milking again, about one more week! My children are excited as I only allow the store bought cow milk (during the off season) for just kefir and yogurt making. But when we have our goats' milk they get to drink it by the glass. My kiddos prefer goat milk to cow milk. The transition to the store bought milk goes over with weeping an gnashing of teeth...ok, maybe not that bad :-) They do, however, notice the difference and they don't care for it.

    A couple of years ago we had a new milking goat (born from one of our good milkers) who had great udder/teat conformation, and a wonderful supply. I was sooooo excited...until we tasted her milk. Oh. My. Goodness. It was horrid!! I tried everything, but nothing would fix the horrid taste. We kept her for the next year to see if it was just a fluke for her first milking season. Sadly it was not. Strangest thing, since all of our other goats' milk tastes awesome!


  12. Kerri, how disappointing that must have been! But I know it happens, some goats just make bad-tasting milk. I had an alpine with that problem, I sold her just like you did. I'm glad your children love goat milk so much.

  13. Mmmmmm! You've got us excited for milking season! Only a few more months...

  14. I'm glad it helped you. I hope kidding season goes well for you!

  15. Great post! One of my grandmothers was next to a goat farm. While the milk does taste different, its a wonderful experience everyone should have. Stopping by from the farm blog hop and yumeating.com (non blogger site)

  16. Thank you for stopping by, Chrystal!

  17. Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist. We hope to see you again this week!

  18. When we first started drinking goats milk, my sister said she felt sorry for my girls (they complained to her about it) I gave her a glass, she drank some..and said oh, it taste like milk!
    She quit feeling sorry for them :)
    I have had bad tasting goats milk, though-handling it so important.

    1. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead2:05 PM

      Sandra, how you handle milk is so important, isn't it?

  19. Great post! I just recently tasted fresh goat milk for the first time, and I love it! My son loved it too.

  20. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead2:09 PM

    It tastes like milk, right, Mary?


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