Are chickpeas the key to a frothy vegan cappuccino? Israel-based company ChickP says it has cracked the code for recreating that rich milk foam using animal-free ingredients. The company specializes in chickpea protein and just developed an advanced prototype for chickpea milk that froths just like its dairy counterpart. 

ChickP was founded in 2016 by Ram Reifen, MD, with the goal of creating a protein that can help feed the world while benefiting consumers and food manufacturers. The company now holds a patent for its chickpea protein isolate (which features a 90-percent protein content) and creates products that highlight the power of the humble legume. Using ChickP’s protein isolate, the new barista milk prototype has been optimized to deliver a smooth texture without any chalkiness, graininess, or after taste. 

“Plant-based barista drinks set new challenges,” ChickP CEO Liat Lachish Levy said in a statement. “Consumers want a holistic, better-for-you, yet full flavor experience. Our technologists took full advantage of our new state-of-the-art application lab to overcome organoleptic and technical challenges in creating creamy, dairy-free ‘milk’ for the perfect cappuccino.”


Do chickpeas make the best dairy-free cappuccinos? 

The frothiness of chickpeas is not a brand new discovery as aquafaba—the brine leftover in a can of chickpeas—has been used as a fluffy egg white replacer for several years. ChickP has taken it a step further by isolating the proteins found in chickpeas using its patented technology to perfect in-demand animal-free products.

“Consumers are looking for plant-based milk, but they also demand great taste and texture. Our chickpea S930 and G910 isolate are the most refined form of protein with the advantage of matching color, flavor, and functional properties to food and beverage applications,” Maor Dahan, Application Manager of ChickP, said in a statement. “This protein has great solubility, exhibiting excellent water dispersion properties across a wide range of pH. It has a low viscosity and an optimized flavor.”

While many vegan milks mimic dairy in nearly every way, baristas can attest that perfectly frothy dairy-free cappuccino is more difficult to achieve than one might expect. That’s because the protein content of plant-based milk sometimes does not provide enough structure for a stable foam to form. 

However, ChickP’s technology, Lachish Levy says, is about to change that with a chickpea barista milk that features three percent protein (compared to the one percent protein content of typical dairy-free milks). Using chickpea isolate in this way allows for shorter ingredient labels as its neutral taste does not require adding flavorings to balance flavor. Using chickpea protein is also more allergen-friendly than both dairy milk and many vegan milks made with nut bases. 

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


Chickpeas function as milk and egg replacers

The company is demonstrating how its isolates can be applied in a barista milk after showcasing its chickpea protein as an egg replacer in creamy vegan mayo. ChickP believes that the possibilities for chickpea protein are vast and is working on a variety of products to maximize its potential. 

“We currently are developing over twenty plant-based applications with leading food and beverage companies with our pure ChickP protein,” Lachish Levy said. “Our customers turned to us to solve major challenges of plant-based products and we were able to provide comprehensive solutions in terms of flavor, complete nutrition profile, and functionality. Together with our customers and partners, we are unlocking the potential of our ChickP protein to offer the best solutions across multiple applications. Our customers confirm that ChickP isolate offers the best dairy-like solution on the market today.”

ChickP is showcasing its cappuccino-ready barista milk prototype at the first annual IFT (Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology) Expo in Chicago this weekend where it will also highlight the functionality of its chickpea isolate as a whey replacer in protein powders and sports nutrition bars. 

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