Mexican chocolate drinks are always some of my favorites. Mexican chocolate is a coarsely ground, bittersweet chocolate that is flavored with cinnamon or other spices to give it a subtly spicy kick and temper the richness of the chocolate. It can be used in many forms, but because it has a strong chocolate taste, it blends exceptionally well with coffee and milk. I often use Mexican chocolates such as Ibarra and Nestle’s Abeulita to make Mexican chocolate coffee drinks, but you can make one much more easily with Coffee-Mate’s Abuelita Mexican Chocolate Creamer, which I picked up at my local grocery store this week. I’m not always a fan of artificially-flavored chocolate creamers and products, but I couldn’t resist the appeal of the Mexican chocolate.
The creamer really surprised me and exceeded my expectations because it tasted like Mexican hot chocolate – or, more accurately, like chocolate milk – straight out of the bottle. It tasted like cream, cinnamon and spice, and while there was a distinct cocoa note to it, it did not taste artificially chocolaty. A splash of it was enough to give my coffee a nice sweetness and a good Mexican chocolate flavor. It was even better when I added a little whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the drink. It wasn’t as rich as using real chocolate to make a mocha, of course, but this is a great choice for the chocolate-lover looking for a quick and easy way to spice up their morning or afternoon coffee.
Keurigs can be used for making a variety of drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and tea, but the machine is generally used for making the basics – black coffee, plain tea – and not for making fancier coffee drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. This is because the machine doesn’t have the water pressure necessary to steam milk to a frothy consistency, though the water will get hot enough to dissolve the powdered milk found in some hot chocolate and mocha mixes. The Gevalia Kaffe Mocha Latte caught my eye because it promised to create a mocha with foam on top – and that made me curious enough to order a package to give it a try.
I’m not usually one to put creamer in my coffee, but every once in a while I like to sweeten things up and creamer is an easy way to get the job done. I happen to be a fan of Girl Scout Cookies and was intrigued when I heard that Coffee-Mate had teamed up with the Scouts to offer cookie-flavored creamers. When they launched last year, I initially had trouble finding them, but eventually found and tried their Coconut and Caramel Creamer (Samoas-flavor), which turned out to be pretty good. This year, I noticed that these creamers were a lot more widely available in my area, so I decided to give the Thin Mints flavor a try.
I initially thought that this would be a chocolate-flavored creamer with a hint of mint, but it is a mint-flavored creamer with a hint of chocolate. I am not a fan of artificial chocolate flavoring, so this turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. The creamer had a cool mint flavor that didn’t overwhelm the coffee and was only slightly sweet when compared to some other creamer flavors. It only had a hint of chocolate to it, just enough to evoke the cookie. If you wanted more chocolate flavor, it would be best to add some to a mug of hot chocolate or to a mocha.
Mint flavored coffee isn’t going to be my new favorite coffee drink, but the creamer was pretty close to its target and really reminded me of the cookie. I liked it best in iced coffee, rather than hot coffee, since the mint seemed very refreshing over ice. Overall, it was a nice change of pace from usual, even though I didn’t like it quite as much as my Homemade Thin Mint Frappuccino.
Coffee and donuts is a traditional pairing and I definitely enjoy a cup of coffee when I’m eating a donut. The coffee cuts the sweetness and grease of the donut perfectly when I have them side-by-side. Some people would rather dunk their donuts than simply have them alongside coffee, and some of the coffees in Dunkin’ Donuts new Bakery Series are clearly designed with these donut-loving coffee fans in mind. I’ve had lots of flavored coffees and can say that I was completely intrigued when I saw Old Fashioned Donut, Jelly Filled Donut and Chocolate Donut coffee flavors.
The coffees all come preground and are designed to work with a traditional drip coffee maker, though there is no reason why you couldn’t use your ground coffee in an refillable k-cup with your Keurig or put it into a pour over coffee maker if that is what you’re working with at home. I brewed up a few batches and put them to a taste test – although in hindsight, I do wish that I had picked up a couple of actual donuts to pair with them.
I got a few insider tips from a flavor scientist who worked on developing this line of coffees and he told me that they are all developed to be consumed with sugar and milk or cream added to the coffee. He said that the sugar and dairy really bring out and smooth out the flavors in the coffee, although you can drink them black if you really want to. I found his advice to be good, because these coffees all tasted noticeably better with milk and sugar and the donut flavors became more “real” and more compelling.