Browsing articles in "Coffee and Tea Reviews"
Oct 31, 2014

Starbucks Franken Frappuccino, reviewed

Starbucks Franken Frappuccino, reviewed

A few days ago, Starbucks quietly announced the launch of a “secret” seasonal drink – the Franken Frappuccino. Also known as the Frankenstein Frappuccino at some stores, this drink did not appear on any regular menus and was said to be available for three days only leading up to Halloween. A quick survey of stores in my area found that some were promoting this secret drink on their chalk menu boards, while others had no signs of any kind posted about it. Whether there was a display or not, every single one knew exactly how to make it.

The frappuccino is made with a green tea base, to which white chocolate mocha and peppermint syrups are added, along with java chips for color and texture. A mocha drizzle on the side of the cup gives it a creepier overall color scheme and the drink is topped with whipped cream and a mocha drizzle to finish it off. The drink has an underlying matcha flavor with a generous dash of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s not as sweet as you might expect, since the matcha really reins in the sweetness of the white chocolate and peppermint. The mocha drizzle and java chips were a really nice touch and the frappuccino looked perfectly Halloween-y. Despite its swamp-thing appearance, it actually tastes very good. That said, it wasn’t my absolutely favorite, but only because I am not a huge fan of matcha frappuccinos and ice blended drinks in general. If you do like matcha, this is a Halloween treat that is worth tracking down.

If you want to give it a try when you head out to trick or treat tonight (10/31), the Franken Frappuccino will still be available through the end of the day. If you go after 2pm, all grande sized Frappuccinos will be only $3, which amounts to a savings of about $2.50 on the Halloween drink.

Oct 20, 2014

Coffee-Mate Chocolate Chip Cookie Creamer reviewed

Coffee-Mate Chocolate Chip Cookie Creamer reviewed

It is a well documented fact that I am a sucker when it comes to chocolate chip cookies of all shapes and sizes, so it should be no surprise that I was interested in trying Coffee-Mate’s new Chocolate Chip Cookie Creamer as soon as I first saw it in stores. I loved the idea of this creamer, since cookies and coffee are a delicious combination that is just as good as cookies and milk are. When I eat a chocolate chip cookie with a cup of coffee, I expect to taste melting chocolate, along with notes of brown sugar and toasted butter – and coffee, of course – so my hopes were quite high as I poured this into a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

On its own, the creamer tastes a lot more like melted chocolate ice cream than a liquid cookie, but it mellowed out once it was combined with coffee and produced a drink that was primarily chocolate-flavored, with a toasted brown sugar note that I could easily attribute to a cookie. It doesn’t taste exactly like a chocolate chip cookie, however it is still quite tasty because it delivered a chocolate drink that was not overly sweet and had no strange artificial chocolate notes to it (which is a common problem for chocolate creamers).  The creamer worked well both hot and over ice. If you want to get really crazy with it and go for a drink with a lot of cookie flavor, combine this with coffee, ice, and a real chocolate chip cookie or two, then throw everything into the blender and mix it up until you have a chocolate chip cookie flavored ice blended drink!

Oct 17, 2014

Archer Farms Dulce de Leche Latte K Cups, reviewed

Archer Farms Dulce de Leche K Cups

There is a lot of variety when it comes to k-cups. In the past, you were choosing between just a handful of different coffee brands. These days, there are whole aisles in the grocery store dedicated to k-cup coffee options, as well as tea and a handful of other drinks, like hot chocolate and cider. Flavored coffee drinks is the only category where there aren’t all that many options yet – even though it seems like it should be easy for manufacturers to combine the hot chocolate and the coffee into one single mocha-flavored pod! Fortunately, there are a few options that will appeal to coffee-lovers seeking a sweet drink and the Dulce de Leche Latte K Cups from Archer Farms (a Target brand) are one of them. They specifically caught my eye because I like dulce de leche so much. I originally assumed that these would be flavored coffee, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were single-pod lattes!

The k cup is filled with coffee, dried milk powder and flavoring, so you get everything you need for your latte with the touch of a single button. The drink is sweet and creamy, with distinct flavors of vanilla and caramel, with a hint of that dairy flavor that makes dulce de leche so unique. It’s not a strong dulce de leche flavor, but it is a pleasant caramel flavor overall. While the latte is sweet, you can still taste the coffee in the finish, which helps to keep it balanced. Just to be clear, this isn’t a replacement for a much more expensive latte that you could find in a coffee shop. It is, however, a very easy alternative to adding regular milk and sugar or cream to your coffee when you want something sweeter than a regular k cup!

The only real caveat with these is that they need to be made on my Keurig’s smallest setting – 8-oz – to ensure that you get the best results. I found that brewing the latte on larger settings made it too watery. This means that they’re not a great choice for iced coffee, as the extra water from melting ice will water the drink down faster than it should. These definitely aren’t a bad option when you like sweet coffee drinks, but they would be a little more versatile if you could brew them at different sizes.

Oct 2, 2014

Nescafe with Coffee-Mate, reviewed

Nescafe Coffee and Creamer Combo

When you work in an office, you probably have access to office coffee. Unless you happen to work at a place filled with coffee snobs or a place that actually produces/provides coffee (such as Starbucks, etc.), the office coffee is probably not all that good. Office coffee is rarely good, but we drink it when when have to in order to get through the day. I don’t always want to run across the street or down the block to get a fresh cup of coffee, so I’m always open to alternatives that could help out.

Nescafe with Coffee-Mate is a new line of products from Nescafe that blend their instant coffee with Coffee-Mate creamer flavors, delivering a two-in-one product for those who like their coffee on the sweeter side. Currently, they’re available in three different flavors: Original, French Vanilla and Hazelnut. The original is a classic sweetened cream flavor that is not overly sweet and allows you to taste the Nescafe coffee underneath. The vanilla has a strong, sweet vanilla flavor that is ideal for a vanilla lover or someone with a bit of a sweet tooth. Hazelnut is slightly milder than vanilla and blends in with the base coffee flavor, though it still comes through as being sweeter than the Original flavor. Of the three, Vanilla is my favorite simply because I am a vanilla-lover and enjoy the extra flavor boost, however a few friends who helped me do some taste testing thought that the Original was idea for delivering a nice balance of sweet, cream and coffee.

I loved the convenience of this product as something that was both ready to drink and very tasty right out of the package. The directions on the resealable containers are ok, though I found I preferred to use slightly more of the powder in my drinks for a stronger coffee flavor. They are on the sweet side, however, and you may find that they are sweeter than you prefer if you typically drink your coffee black. Fortunately, you can also use them as a substitute for regular coffee creamers (since they are creamers with coffee built in) to both sweeten up and strengthen a cup of the existing coffee that might be brewing at your office.

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