There have been many rumors that goat milk does not taste good, but the taste of goat milk has a great deal to do with what they are fed and how they and the milk are cared for.
Within minutes of being freshly milked, most goat’s milk is inherently sweet and clean tasting, with no strong aftertaste. The tendency for it to taste strong or goaty is a result of how it is handled. Goat’s milk has a high amount of lactic acid, and this lactic acid can multiply fast in warm temperatures over the course of 3-4 days. If goat’s milk is stored at a temperature higher than 38 degrees (most fridges hang out around 45 degrees), then the lactic acid has the advantage. The lactic acid will increase and your result (over the course of a week in that environment), will be a stronger & more goaty tasting goat’s milk.
On the other hand, if you filter the milk, get it cold within 15 minutes of milking, and store at a temperature less than 38 degrees, you’ll have sweet tasting milk waiting for you for up to a month! Filtering the milk is also an important step.
WHY IT COULD BE GOATY
There are a few reasons why your goat’s milk could taste goaty right after milking. Goats produce strong pheramones and when kept in close quarters with bucks (male goats), the does (female goats) can be so affected by the buck’s odor, that the female hormones actually change the taste of the milk! In our experience, this doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it’s still enough of a concern to try to keep them apart. We’ve had bucks in the very same pen as our does and our does have still produced very clean & fresh-tasting milk. We’ve also had does that put off a strong musky flavor in their milk anytime they’re around a buck. It really just depends on the goat.
Finally, there are certain breeds of goats who are known for their pungent milk. Toggenburg & Oberhasi are the two breeds of goats who tend to have a very strong flavor from the second the stream of milk hits the pail. There isn’t a real explanation as to why this is, other than the fact that most people avoid these breeds unless they prefer the pungent flavor.
Goat breeds like Nubian, La Mancha, Alpine, & Nigerian are the most popular milking breeds. Nigerians are known for the sweetest tasting milk, so if you are on the lookout for a milking goat and are nervous about the taste of the milk, go Nigerian. You’ll get sweet, fresh-tasting milk every single time.
WHERE TO BUY GOAT’S MILK
Did you know that 65% of the world’s population drinks goat’s milk? In the US, more and more people are turning to backyard farming and realizing how easy it is to care for a few goats! We love our milking goats, and we only spend about 20 minutes a day with them. Correction: My kids spend about 20 minutes a day with them. My 11 & 9 year old take full responsibility of the goats, from feeding & watering, to milking twice a day. Want to learn more about how to care for & milk goats? Read my article, A Simple Guide to Raising & Milking Goats
If you’re not ready to buy a goat, toss it in your backyard, and milk it everyday, there are definitely still some options. Your best option for the freshest milk is going to be from a local source. But we would urge you to make sure that the farm is kept clean, the animals are kept in pastures, fed quality feed & the milk is stored cold right after milking. As long as the milk is cared for properly, you’ll have fresh goat’s milk every time!
Does goat’s milk taste goaty?
Lynne Clark July 15, 2015 at 8:48 am
I raised my son on goat milk when he developed an allergy to cow milk [about 34 years ago]. I bought it fresh frozen at a local farm. The milk was the most wonderful stuff I had ever had!! And it is easier for humans to digest,. The people I gave it to [before telling them it was goat] didn’t taste anything wrong with it either. There was NO smell associated with it. I’d still be using it if I could get to the farm.
Jo October 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm
People generally have their first experience with goat milk from a carton….and cartoned goatmilk is actually horrible…no ifs buts or maybes! The other reason is a lot of people who get a goat, aren’t old housecow/housegoat people, and don’t know the basic rule of milking in the morning after a night of resting chewing cud, as legumes esp clover and Lucerne, make fresh milk taste horrible. Do a morning and afternoon milk and taste the difference. The afternoon milk will taste like whatever is eaten throughout the day. And, unlike cows milk, goats milk does taste its best on day one and two, and by day 3, I prefer to use it for cooking only, as it does tend to taste a bit goaty.
Kris September 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm
I used to raise good quality Alpines years ago. There was only one doe whose milk had a slightly different flavor to it – but it didn’t taste bad. Years later, just out of curiosity, I tried a can of goat milk from the store. It was the most AWFUL stuff I have ever tasted. No wonder people have a bad impression of goat milk. The can promptly got poured down the drain. I can’t believe they sell that stuff and get away with it. How it gets that “taste” I have no idea, but I know that it is NOTHING like fresh goat milk.
Lorri September 13, 2014 at 6:23 am
We had our first experience with “goaty” milk a couple weeks ago. I made rice pudding for breakfast. I took a couple of bites and couldn’t get that taste out of my mouth! If I had never had boy goats I would not have recognized it. (My 2 pygmy bucks/billies were in the same pen as my doe). That day my sons moved their own to the other side of the property. Her milk is back to being glorious! Boy, do them boys smell strong now! Lol. So my lady is susceptible to a male in rut! 😉
Patti August 27, 2014 at 7:08 am
I got started drinking goat’s milk about 6 months ago (health reasons) and I have to say I think it is even better than cow milk…especially if the cow is a Holstein! 😉 I get my milk from a local farmer who is very reputable and clean. I’ve since purchased a cream separator and now make my own butter, as well as cheese all…from goat milk! I want very badly to invest in a couple of my own, but worry at present, with working full time, that I couldn’t give them my full attention. So until that day comes, I’ll keep just buying it.
Kelsey August 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm
Chelsea, I’m super sensitive to the goaty taste, but I can tell you that definitely not all goats milk tastes goaty. We got fresh goat milk from a local farm for a couple of years (until we moved away) and most of the time it was delicious and not at all goaty, but every once in a while we’d get a batch that tasted a bit off. Also, try cold goat milk – no matter how fresh it is, I never could use our goat milk in anything heated because to me, warm goat milk ALWAYS tastes gamey.