Slate Lactose Free Chocolate Milk: Taste Test and Thoughts

Athena ScalziIf there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I love chocolate milk. So when I got an ad for Slate, a company that boasts a delicious, healthier, shelf-stable version of the stuff we all know and love, I decided to give it a shot.

Slate’s version of chocolate milk is 120 calories per can, and has 17 grams of protein while only having 9 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fat. It’s also lactose-free! So, while this sounds good on paper, it makes you wonder if the taste gets nerfed from all the healthy benefits it boasts about.

I bought the 12-can variety pack, which as you can see from the photo above, comes with all three of their flavors: dark, classic, and espresso (the espresso contains 150mg of caffeine! There’s about 100 in a normal cup of coffee).

I do like the packaging, if that matters at all. The cans are thin and sleek and I like the minimalistic look a lot. I appreciate that they put the most important nutritional facts in a small enough print at the bottom that it isn’t distracting, but still make it clear what’s going on inside the can.

Anyways, I poured out shots of each one for me and my parents to try. Here’s the skinny on each flavor:

The classic is what we went with first. We figured we should start with the one we believed would be truest to the thing it’s trying to taste like. Did it succeed? Not exactly. This healthier chocolate milk mostly tasted like a Yoo-Hoo, an American watery chocolate beverage. It fell very short of the standard I personally hold for chocolate milk. It was thin, tasted kind of funny, and left an aftertaste that was less than desirable. So, I think of it less like a healthier milk, and more like a healthier Yoo-Hoo. Here’s a comparison of Slate and a Yoo-Hoo nutritional information, respectively:

As you can see, Slate has way less sugar and way more protein, as well as a ridiculous amount of potassium, calcium, and vitamin A. So, if you like Yoo-Hoo, you might want to try this flavor! It may not be a great substitution for the real thing, but certainly a good enough replacement for Yoo-Hoo.

Up next was the dark chocolate flavor. This had the same thin consistency as the classic, but a worse flavor, according to me and my mom. My dad, however, thought it was an improvement from the classic, and ended up finishing the rest of the can! He said the dark was a 7/10, while the classic was a 5/10 in his book. My mom and I disagreed, and poured the rest of our portions out in the sink.

Finally, we tried the espresso. This one actually wasn’t that bad! If you like the taste of coffee well enough, anyway. My mom said they taste just like the tall cans of Starbucks espresso drinks you can get from gas stations and whatnot. So, again, while this is not really a good replacement for real chocolate milk, it’s definitely a suitable, possibly healthier replacement for say, a Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso drink.

All in all, I wasn’t really that impressed with these. My family and I agree they were sort of “meh.” They definitely weren’t terrible! But they certainly don’t come close to the real deal. If you are someone who is lactose-intolerant, or trying to watch your sugar intake, this might be a good option for you!

They aren’t bad, but they aren’t great, and with a cost of about three dollars a can, I can’t say they’re totally worth it. Maybe I’d drink this as a post-workout drink, if I kinda just chugged it and didn’t focus too much on the taste.

(I couldn’t decide if I liked this photo or the one up top better, so you get both.)

I think what Slate attempted is a noble cause, I mean who doesn’t want healthier chocolate milk? They just need to work on the flavor aspect, and then they’ll be golden.

Oh, one more thing, they have free shipping! A lot of times when I go to purchase something like this, the shipping cost ends up being as much as the actual product, and I don’t end up buying it as a result. So, yeah, hooray free shipping!

Have you tried Slate before? What were your thoughts? Do you have a favorite brand of chocolate milk that really just hits different? I wanna know all about it in the comments! I hope you all have a great day.


21 Comments on “Slate Lactose Free Chocolate Milk: Taste Test and Thoughts”

  1. I haven’t ever tried Slate before, but one milk alternative my family has tried and actually rather like is Ripple. I first found it in the refrigerated/dairy section at Target with the milk and other milk alternatives, but now I can get it at my regular grocery store, too.

    Ripple has a thicker consistency (more like whole milk), is vegan, lactose-, dairy-, soy-, gluten-, and nut-free. It contains a lot of protein and comes in several flavors: vanilla, unsweetened, and chocolate at least. It’s pea-based, but it doesn’t taste like peas. I use the unsweetened instead of milk when I want to mix up a Carnation breakfast shake, and my kid drinks the chocolate right out of the bottle. I like the taste of the vanilla one a lot, too.

    It doesn’t work well as a substitute for creamer in my tea, and it’s perfectly acceptable but perceptibly not-milk in my cereal, but otherwise we’re big fans. It also lasts a really long time in the fridge.

  2. “high fructose corn syrup”


    I’ll second the recommendation of “Ripple” — it’s a tolerable nonmilk product.

    But for chocolate milk, we settled on a local dairy’s product. Check the refrigerator case at your local market.

  3. Just out of curiosity, is your standard of comparison whole chocolate milk? That might make a difference. My wife and I have been drinking only skim milk for years now, and when we occasionally treat ourselves to 2% chocolate milk, it seems impossibly rich, and dare I say it — thick.

    Probably wouldn’t affect the actual taste though. Whatever goes in instead of lactose probably is going to affect the flavor.

  4. When I hear “Ripple” I think “cheap wino booze”. But I’ve been in AA for 27 years…

    “ certainly a good enough replacement for Yoo-Hoo.”
    Talk about thin praise. …

  5. Well, the stupid Slate finally did it. Gonna comment after lurking around these parts since…(checks release date of Redshirts)…2013!

    Slate is AWFUL. I have poured all three variety cans down the drain after trying them. I’m exactly the target audience for them and I HATE it.

    Do I want a healthier alternative to chocolate milk? Check!
    Do I like protein milk? Check
    Do I need lactose free products? Check
    Do I usually tolerate healthy products even if their taste isn’t as good as the original? Check

    And I still hate it. That taste is awful and maybe it’s because I grew up in Germany with good ol’ German chocolate milk, but it’s soooooo bad.

    Anyway, my wife saw the faces I made during my taste test and didn’t even try it. Had to give away the rest of my variety pack to my “friends”. It’s a wonder they still let me call them that…

  6. Never tried Slate and don’t need to. (I thought I had developed a lactose intolerance once, but it turned out to be stress — I quit associating with three people, and could drink milk without prolonged toilet visits again.) But just out of curiosity, did you shake the cans before opening? I used to keep meal replacement drinks at work as a fast-food alternative, and if I didn’t shake them before opening they tended to be watery because all the solids had settled to the bottom.

  7. I’m from north of the border and have been idly and intermittently wondering since childhood what a Yoo-Hoo tastes like. Now I know!

  8. How does it compare with getting Lactaid or other lactose-reduced milk at the grocery and mixing it with chocolate syrup (whether Hershey’s or better)?

    Or with using that to make an egg cream (which is plain soda water, some milk, and chocolate syrup, classically U-Bet brand)?

    (I’ve still got name-overlap confusion; I was expecting from the title to be a reaction to a article on lactose free chocolate milks :-)

  9. Lactaid Chocolate Milk is pretty decent. It’s ingredients of course include sugar high on the list, but it doesn’t say what kind of sugar.

  10. I prefer Fairlife to other lactose free, high protein alternatives. It comes in a variety of refrigerated versions, including whole milk, several reduced fat varieties, fat free, and chocolate milk. Besides being lactose free, these have much longer shelf lives than regular milk (generally 2-3 months out, which has been a real plus during the pandemic.

    In addition, Fairlife sells shelf stable individual serving bottles of its chocolate milk. You can buy them at warehouse clubs in packs of 15.

    Fairlife also has chocolate and vanilla shelf stable individual serving versions of lactose free protein shakes. These taste much better than Slimfast, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Muscle Milk, etc. I have found these in most warehouse clubs (Sam’s and BJ’s, but not Costco).

  11. Like a few others here, we also drink Ripple. We like the Original and the Chocolate versions. The Chocolate is a deep and rich chocolate. Sometimes I cut it with regular Ripple to have a lighter taste. None of us liked the unsweetened and we haven’t tried the Vanilla, but Original is good in cereal and works beautifully in recipes. We also buy the half and half for quiche and things like that. Slate doesn’t sound like something we’d enjoy so I’m glad of the warning.

  12. Never liked Yoo-Hoo, not a milk drinker anyway. One piece of good dark chocolate daily gives me my fix.

    I am by no means an ‘organic’ head but too many new foods are as over-engineered as a German automobile. No thanks!

  13. My favorite chocolate milk is the Belgian style chocolate milk from Cocoa Metro. They sell it at my local grocery store. I have no idea about the ingredients and it’s not lactose free. It’s expensive compared to other brands but I buy it every once in a while as a special treat and I love it. It’s the perfect chocolate taste and not too thin/thick.

  14. Haven’t tried it, but I’ll have to bear it in mind… I’m lactose-intolerant and try to avoid HF corn syrup, but I do like a good canned iced coffee drink. Thanks for the review!

  15. If you want really good chocolate use real cocoa powder (pure grinded cocoa beans). I prefer it in whole milk with maybe even some cream added and a little bit of sugar, but you could also use soy or almond milk. To dissolve the powder properly you have to heat the liquid, but you can cool it down afterwards. The less processed your food is the healthier it is.

  16. Regards Fairlife:

    My local grocery store carries the Fairlife line, but I’ve never bought any because I have an issue with the labeling: life is not, in fact, actually fair, and I very much doubt drinking these folks’ milk will change that.

  17. The best chocolate milk is Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate milk- Of course it is not at all low fat or lactose free, and you have to be in NZ to get it. So I hope you get there one day! ( I do enjoy hearing about the USAnian foods- I’m a great lover of supermarket tourism)

  18. Thanks for saving me some money. Ive been seeing ads all over my FB feed for Slate and thought about giving it a try. Ill stick with the chocolate milk from the local dairy. Its not as healthy as Slate but I dont drink it for its health benefits. :)

  19. I am utterly unable to accept any form of premixed chocolate milk, since I believe in adjusting the taste myself. Currently using Hershey’s syrup with organic 2% milk which is okay! Certainly not bad! But I’m grew up on Nestle mix which I gave up for several reasons — being gluten free is one, Nestle as a company being odious is another, although I’m not sure Hershey is much better. So the current syrup has too much of a corn syrup taste for me and I’m open to trying new combinations of milk/flavoring. However, I will happily pass on Slate since I consider Yoo Hoo to be an abomination to the world of chocolate milk.

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