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!
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.
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.
Trader Joe’s Single Serve Coffee Cups, made for Keurig machines, have been around for about a year now. They’re made with their signature Joe’s Blend, a medium roast coffee that has a pretty broad appeal and is easy to adjust in strength by selecting different cup sizes on your brewer. That said, Trader Joe’s offers a lot of great coffees and I know that I wasn’t the only one interested in seeing some more of them offered in K-cup form. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s recently released some new French Roast Single Serve Coffee Cups. These cups are sold in packs of 12 for $4.99 (at my SoCal store), which brings the cost to about $.41 per cup. French roast has been a long-time TJ’s coffee staple, so it’s not surprising that they opted to make it their second K-cup release.
The format for these cups is the same as the originals: the pods have soft coffee-filter walls and plastic lids, and are individually wrapped for freshness. I found that the cups worked well in my machine, though I know that others have reported leakage from the soft walled cups.
I liked the idea of a darker roast for my k-cups and do enjoy the regular Trader Joe’s French Roast from time to time, but I wasn’t wowed by these new k-cups. The French roast is a bit dry, with a toasted cocoa flavor that is smooth and fairly flat, without much complexity. The coffee is easy to drink, but it is also a bit boring. You could blame the packaging for the coffee not tasting as good as fresh-brewed, however I felt that the original Joe’s blend k-cups packed a lot more flavor into their pods, and the packaging is all the same. Overall, it’s a good effort and the cups do brew a darker cup of coffee if you are looking for a strong cup of joe to kick-start your morning. That said, I’ll probably stick to the originals for now and keep my eyes out for any other k-cups that Trader Joe’s releases!