I have heard to never reuse the water from the almonds, very very bad. But I have let my almonds soak for 20 hours before no big deal, I have even had to add more water to them cuz I let them sit for so long. But I never have had any problems. You should rinse the almonds after soaking also.
It is better to sprout the almonds. So soak them for 4-6 hours then drain, and sprout for 2 days.
Only really raw almonds will sprout, you can tell when they have sprouted because a little white tip starts to show in one end. All USA almonds are not raw, only non USA almonds are raw, unless you're buying them from the handful of seller that do not pasteurise their almonds.
Don't se almond soak water because it is full of tannins from the almond skin which isn't good for you.
For great almond milk, try adding a dash of lemon juice and a little pinch of salt, and a date or two. It really makes it nice.
Just experiment with consistency and amounts of water, if you put too much water in, add more almnds and vice versa.
Cheaper alternative is sprouted sunflower milk. A really nice touch is to add a handful of hemp sprouts for those omegas ;)
I only have a cheap blender too, it works fine. I run mine through a normal sieve when I am done. I let the blender go for about 5 mins as well.
I have found that using a nut milk bag made a better milk. It makes richer, it also is easier and cleaner. Use the pulp as a butter or in cookies. A question about the sunflower milk....how long do you soak/sprout your sunflower seeds? Have you tried sesime seeds? Also where do you find 'really raw' almonds?