I used to buy soy milk from the store in cartons. Aside from the fact it’s heavy (I transport groceries without a car), it comes in a tetra-pack, which is difficult to recycle. More importantly, commercial soy milk tends to include a number of ingredients I can do without, like chalk (calcium carbonate) and guar gum.
Unless you really like mucking with cheesecloth and lots of pots covered in soy scum, you owe it to yourself to buy a soy milk maker. After some research, I settled on the Joyoung CTS1048. This “filterless” model is a major improvement compared to earlier soy milk makers. Other devices require filter cups, which tend to get clogged with gummy okara (soy pulp) and are a terrible headache to clean. Instead, the CTS1048’s immersion blender head is contained inside a small steel cage. From there, the milk strains through a second, basket-style strainer. Clean-up is no harder than what’s required by a food processor.
Since the Joyoung makes 1.6 Liters per run, there’s plenty to serve up hot and/or store in the fridge. It doesn’t take long either, so you can always run it twice. Plus, it only costs around 15 cents a batch. I drink four times as much soy milk now, so the machine paid for itself in two months.
If you’ve never had fresh, hot soy milk, the way the Chinese like it, you’re missing out; it’s rich, foamy and all-around delicious. I always enjoy a warm glass as soon as a batch is done. Bonus: Aside from soy beans, you can add other ingredients. The Joyoung makes excellent coconut milk, for example, which eliminates an often preservative-laden canned good from the kitchen.
During my research, I discovered that most of the more-expensive soy milk makers are just rebranded Joyoung appliances, making the Joyoung the smart and economical pick. This is that rare product I can recommend with no reservations.
[Tip: Before starting, soak the beans until they're plump. Although the Joyoung features a dry-bean mode, our reviewers says the end product is inferior and your patience will be well-rewarded. -- SL]