NEWS: Get Ready to Hoard Pumpkin Spice VIA Ready Brew Packets Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Fans

Starbucks Pumpkin?

Update: Click here to read our Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Pumpkin Spice review

There are many people out there who wish the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte was available year round. Heck, I’m pretty sure if some of them could control the weather they would maintain fall/winter weather year round if it meant they could enjoy their beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte throughout the year.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is returning September 4, but this year it’s also bringing Pumpkin Spice Starbucks VIA Ready Brew packs with it. So if you have enough cupboard space, you can stockpile those puppies like you were preparing for shadows to be seen on Groundhog Day.

Each Pumpkin Spice Starbucks VIA Ready Brew box comes with five single serve packets, much like other Starbucks VIA products. Each packet contains an Arabica instant coffee blend with natural flavors and cane sugar. Just add hot milk and, after you’ve stirred it, you’ll have yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte to enjoy and laugh with as you think of all those poor souls braving horrible weather conditions in order to get their own Pumpkin Spice Latte from a Starbucks.

Much like the original Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Pumpkin Spice Starbucks VIA Ready Brew will be available for a limited time.

Source: Starbucks Melody

Image via flickr user Chris Breeze / CC BY 2.0

REVIEW: Limited Edition Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino Coffee Drink

Limited Edition Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino

It’s easy to make fun of Starbucks, what with their high prices, stupid names (I refuse to call their drinks anything but small, medium, and large), and crushing pervasiveness.  I used to go once or twice a year, when some demon urge came over me to get a vanilla iced whatsit thingamajig, but since (shockingly) there’s not one in my area with a drive-thru, and with the unveiling and continuing expansion of McDonald’s McCafe line of premium coffees, clown beats mermaid every time.  I realize I’m just trading one giant evil company for another, but at least at McDonald’s I don’t have to leave my car.  Or learn Italian.

So, I stick my nose up at Starbucks, out-douching the douches standing in line for their soy half-caf god-knows-what, pretending I’m better than them because I don’t kowtow to The Man.  I put my pre-ground packaged coffee in my coffeemaker every night, and every morning it is waiting for me when I wake up.  I like my coffee like I like my- oh, forget it.  I drink it black.  That’s all.

There’s a little secret I keep deep inside my fast-beating, over-caffeinated heart, however.  I love Starbucks’ bottled Frappuccinos.  I don’t buy them very often, because they are overpriced just like everything else Starbucks sells, but I love the little buggers, no matter what the flavor.

So when I heard that Starbucks had come out with Limited Edition Cookies & Cream bottled Frappuccinos, I nonchalantly offered to review them, then broke speed limits and ran red lights to get to the store.  Lo and behold, there they were, four little bottles in their cute yet sophisticated-looking carrying case.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen something claiming to be cookies & cream flavored look so adult.  There have been many times where I’ve refused to make eye contact with the cashier as they rang up something I’d bought to review, but this was not one of those times.  For once, I was not an obviously childless adult purchasing a single box of Kid Cuisine.  This is a Serious Drink for Adults, motherfucker.  Don’t judge me.

Oh, can you hang on a second?  I forgot to grab some gummy worms.  Okay, now you can judge me.

When I think cookies and cream, my mind generally gravitates towards Oreos, probably because you can’t throw a rock without hitting someplace that has an Oreo shake, sundae, or other Oreo-related product. Plus, they turned 100 this year – without doing any research, I’m going to assume that makes them the original cookie/cream combo.

While it’s not exactly fair to other cookie flavors, this means I expect my cookie flavor to be chocolatey and my cream part to be a cavity-inducing haven of sugary sweetness. Sorry, oatmeal raisin cookies – I guess you’ll have to wait for your own Frappuccino flavor. Don’t hold your breath. Your…cookie breath. If only morning breath could smell like cookie breath. Divorce rates would plummet.

Getting back on track, Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino sticks to the chocolate formula. “Shake well” is not just a suggestion; you can see a rather prominent layer of chocolate at the bottom of the bottle, and you have to shake the hell out of it to get it evenly distributed.

I should amend my use of the word “chocolate”. It’s actually “cocoa processed with alkali”, which makes me think of batteries but is much less ominous than it sounds. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just call it chocolate.

Limited Edition Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino Glass

As a Starbucks bottled Frappuccino, Cookies & Cream delivers. It’s smooth, sweet and creamy, with a high note of chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the creaminess and isn’t overwhelming. The taste is similar to Hershey’s chocolate syrup, which is fine by me. The chocolate actually cuts some of the sweetness of the drink, which is chock full of sugar (real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup).

While “Brewed Starbucks Coffee” is listed as the first ingredient, the coffee flavor is pretty subdued, showing up as more of an aftertaste, albeit a pleasant one. This is not unexpected, as Starbucks Frappuccinos are, at least to me, “the coffee drink for those who don’t really like the taste of coffee”.

Limited Edition Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino ranks high on my list of favorite Starbucks coffee drinks. Straight from the fridge, it’s cool, sweet, chocolatey, and refreshing. It doesn’t exactly scream “cookies & cream” flavor, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. I liked it so well, I went out and bought another four pack. I’m actually a little sad it’s a limited edition item.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the Cookies & Cream Frappuccino, I realize that it’s not a drink for everyone. It doesn’t exactly taste like cookies, it’s loaded with sugar, and it’s no substitute for a real cup of coffee to wake you up and satisfy your morning caffeine cravings. It’s also, like every Starbucks item, on the expensive side for what it is. That said, if you’re a fan of sweet and creamy chilled drinks, and you enjoy the taste of coffee and chocolate together, you’ll be a fan of this drink in no time.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle (9.5 ounces) – 190 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 25% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Limited Edition Starbucks Cookies & Cream Frappuccino Coffee Drink
Price: $5.99
Size: 4 pack/9.5 ounce bottles
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Refreshing despite being so sweet. Not having to learn Italian to buy it. Chocolate and cream blend perfectly. Not having to be embarrassed to buy it OR have to stand in line with douches to get it. Coffee taste is subtle but delicious.
Cons: Expensive. Bad “I like my coffee like” jokes. Flavor doesn’t scream “cookies”. Morning breath never smells like cookie breath. Will not satisfy hardcore caffeine addicts.

NEWS: Starbucks Refreshers To Come In VIA Form

Albert Square Starbucks

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey! I REALLY like those Starbucks Refreshers, so much so that I wish they came in a snortable form.”

If so, your wish will soon come true because next month Starbucks will offer a VIA Ready Brew version of their Refreshers.

(Note: Please don’t snort the VIA Refreshers)

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey! Those Starbucks Refreshers thingies sound familiar.” They should because earlier this year Starbucks introduced a line of ready-to-drink canned Refreshers, which you’ve probably passed by at your local grocery store. Here’s a Google search query for canned Starbucks Refreshers reviews.

According to the blog, Starbucks Melody, Starbucks VIA Refreshers will be hitting stores on July 10 and come in two flavors: Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime. Making one is as easy as making a regular VIA coffee–just add water and stir. A Starbucks VIA Refreshers package will contain five mix packets, each of which will make a 16-ounce serving.

If you’ve sampled a Starbucks VIA Refresher, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.

Source: Starbucks Melody

Image via flickr user Nicholas Smale / CC BY 2.0

REVIEW: International Delight Original Iced Coffee

International Delight Original Iced Coffee

I’m gonna find me a long straw and make me a sessanta coffee with this half gallon of International Delight Original Iced Coffee.

What’s a sessanta?

What? You don’t stick random words into Google Translate when you’re bored? For those of you too lazy to click this link and then hit your browser’s back button when you’re done, here are a few hints to help you figure out what sessanta is. If venti is Italian for twenty, trenta is Italian for thirty, and a half gallon contains 64 ounces, then sessanta is…

That’s right, you guessed it…a bladder-filling amount of coffee.

Well, the International Delight Original Iced Coffee isn’t just coffee, there’s also dairy…lots of dairy. If you like your iced coffee as black as I like my iPads, you will not enjoy this.

There’s possibly an udder’s worth of dairy. How much dairy is that? Let’s just say when you’re drinking it you shouldn’t be around one of those people who might say in a douchey tone, “Would you like more coffee with your cream?”

Actually, it shouldn’t be surprising it tastes like it’s mostly dairy since International Delight is known for making the poor excuse for coffee your damn co-worker makes every morning taste better with their liquid coffee creamers that come in flavors like hazelnut, French vanilla, Cinnabon, and Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream.

But what about the coffee?

It’s made with 100 percent premium Arabica coffee, which is known for its never-bitter flavor and it’s the same variety of beans Starbucks uses. So if the International Delight Original Iced Coffee uses the same coffee as Starbucks, it must have a Starbucks-like price. For a half gallon, you’d think it would cost about a kigillion dollars, but a carton is around the same price as a trenta-sized Starbucks iced coffee.

As I said earlier, International Delight went heavy on the dairy by adding skim milk and cream to the coffee, both of which gave the iced coffee a pleasing creamy consistency. Or it could’ve been the ingredients gellan gum and carrageenan that gave it its viscosity. The iced coffee is also very sweet, thanks to the sugar and corn syrup added.

International Delight Original Iced Coffee Closeup

A cup of International Delight Original Iced Coffee tastes like I’m drinking melted coffee ice cream. But I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Because while this stuff is really yummy, I can’t help but think how unhealthy it would be to drink this creamy beverage regularly.

Yes, regularly.

International Delight is hoping you drink their iced coffee instead of visiting Starbucks, which for some of you is a daily ritual. Sure, by not going to Starbucks you avoid long lines, easy listening music, and the possibility of having your name horribly misspelled on your cup, but a 12-ounce sweetened Starbucks iced coffee with whole milk has 90 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar, while a 12-ounce glass of International Delight Original Iced Coffee has 225 calories, 3.75 grams of fat, and 34 grams of sugar.

Also, the carton says nothing about its caffeine content. I need to know how much caffeine it has because I need to supplement if it has too little, and if it has too much I need to make sure I don’t do any spontaneous parkouring to burn off the excess energy. After drinking it, I did feel a slight energy boost, but I’m not sure if it was the caffeine from the coffee, the sugar, or both.

Again, the International Delight Original Iced Coffee is damn good. It’s so good that will hold an open carton above my open mouth and bang the carton’s sides with my other hand to get every last drop of it. However, because of its high sugar content it would be a horrible idea to stick a straw into one and make it a sessanta iced coffee.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 150 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 15% calcium, and 4% iron.)

Item: International Delight Original Iced Coffee
Price: $4.99
Size: Half gallon
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: My goodness, it’s yummy. Creamy. Smooth. It’s like drinking melted coffee ice cream. Cheaper than Starbucks. It’s a frickin’ half gallon of iced coffee. Google Translate.
Cons: Too easy to drink. Lots of dairy. Lots of sugar. Don’t know caffeine content. It’s like drinking melted ice cream. Your co-worker not knowing how to make coffee.

NEWS: After Years of Making Other Coffees Taste Better, International Delight Finally Offers Their Own Coffee

International Delight Iced Coffee on shelf/center>

Update: Click here to read our International Delight Iced Coffee review

Since I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I don’t follow what International Delight Coffee Creamer puts out. Actually, to be honest, before I did research for this post, I was confused between International Delight and General Foods International. But I learned one produces creamer, while the other produces coffee.

Oh wait, that’s no longer the case because International Delight is now offering ready-to-drink iced coffee, which is made using 100 percent premium Arabica coffee and comes in three flavors – Mocha, Vanilla, and Original.

So no longer do you have to walk into a Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Dunkin’ Donuts, or independent coffeehouse to pick up an iced coffee. Instead, you can walk up to your fridge, take out the half-gallon carton of International Delight’s Iced Coffee, and pour yourself a glass…or drink it straight out of the carton.

A cup serving of International Delight’s Iced Coffee has 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. A half-gallon of International Delights Iced Coffee has a suggested retail price of $3.99.