If I say that I need an energy drink, that usually means that I want a cup of coffee – not a strangely flavored, slightly carbonated canned beverage. That said, I have found many canned and bottled coffee drinks that I enjoy over the years, and am always interested in giving new ones a taste to see what might provide a good, quick fix when I’m on the go. So, I was a bit torn when I first saw the new Java Monster Kona Blend, which was both an energy drink and a canned coffee drink in one! The use of Kona coffee won me over and convinced me to give it a shot – and I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised!
Java Monster Kona Blend is made with real Kona coffee, blended with milk, sugar and Monster’s energy blend, which includes taurine, ginseng and guarana seed extract, as well as some additional caffeine. It’ll definitely wake you up if you’re sensitive to caffeine, though I didn’t feel too much more of a “rush” than I would with a regular cup of black coffee. The drink is smooth, with a great blend of rich coffee and creamy milk flavors, plus just the right hint of sweetness. I didn’t intend to like it when I picked up the can, since I always prefer to get my energy from coffee or tea over an engineered “energy drink,” but this wildly exceeded my expectations and was better than many other bottled (or canned) coffee drinks I’ve had. In short, it tasted very good. The drink is offered in other flavors, which I haven’t tried, but the vanilla, mocha, toffee and irish cream flavors definitely sound interesting!
Coconut water has been growing in popularity over the past couple of years to the point where I see it just about everywhere. The first offerings were plain coconut water, with advertising that usually promoted how great for hydration the water was. These days, there are many more flavored options of coconut water – including coffee-flavored options, like Coco Cafe. This is a line of coconut water cafe lattes, boxed drinks that are intended to be tasty, give you a little caffeine boost and help hydrate you. I was hesitant about this combination, but I couldn’t resist giving Coco Cafe Vanilla a try to see how it tasted.
The drink is definitely refreshing and it captures the flavors of coffee, milk, vanilla and coconut water, more or less in that order. The very first sip will remind you of a canned Starbucks coffee drink, with smooth espresso and dairy flavors, combined with a nice hint of sweetness. The vanilla is a little bit more subtle, though it is present, and there is a lingering hint of coconut water flavor. It’s definitely a unique drink, and I’d have to say that it’s a pretty good one, especially if you’re a fan of coconut water in the first place. I didn’t think that I would enjoy it, but I ended up drinking one quickly and wanting another! It contains as much caffeine as one shot of espresso (120mg), which is enough to perk you up in the morning if you want to sip one of these on your commute or down one after a workout at the gym. I think that a regular iced latte would bet a better choice if you’re looking for a drink to savor and sip slowly, but the Coco Cafe is so refreshing that it is a great option when you are on the to.
I haven’t been getting Frappuccinos lately because the past few weeks have been so hot and so humid that I have stuck to more refreshing drinks, like Refreshers and iced teas at Starbucks. Frappuccinos are a little bit more like dessert, as far as I’m concerned, and I prefer to have them when I can enjoy them – not because I have to suck them down quickly to cool off! The other day, I glanced at the Frappuccino menu and noticed that there was a new option on the menu: a Caffe Espresso Frappuccino. As luck would have it, I was in the mood for a blended drink and I was armed with my camera, so I ordered on to give it a try.
The Caffe Espresso Frappuccino is essentially a coffee frappuccino that is topped with coffee/espresso flavored whipped cream and a drizzle of sweet espresso syrup. These may sound like small additions, but they turn a relatively plain drink into something delicious. The Caffe Espresso tastes a lot like tiramisu. I attributed this both to the caramel-like syrup and to the cloud of whipped cream, which really seemed to lighten up the texture of the drink in addition to boosting the coffee flavor. I wouldn’t mind topping off more frappuccinos with this combination and think it would be a great way to temper the sweetness of a caramel frappuccino or boost the coffee flavor of a mocha.
Fizzio is the name for the new line of all natural sodas that Starbucks has begun rolling out to some of their stores this week. There are quite a few Starbucks customers who are looking for non-coffee and tea drinks to go with their afternoon snacks, and sodas are just another alternative to smoothies and the creme-based Frappuccinos – not to mention that they’re an alternative to regular Refreshers and tea lemonades for customers who just like a little carbonation! The sodas are made one at a time in a machine that is similar to a SodaStream, with specialty syrups and are available in three flavors: Spiced Root Beer, Golden Ginger Ale, and Lemon Ale.
I’m a big fan of ginger beer and ginger ale in general because they are generally very refreshing, so that was the first soda I decided to try. It was delicious, with a strong ginger spice and a nice sweetness. I felt that it seemed a bit less sweet than many regular ginger ales, which pushes it go the ginger beer side of the spectrum for me – and that is a good thing. I’ll definitely be putting on my “to-order” list any time I’m looking for a refreshing, fizzy drink to go with a salty snack, even though I know that I’ll still be sticking to coffee most of the time.