REVIEW: Dunkin’ Cake Batter Signature Latte

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte 1

Summer is (sort of) here, and with it comes Dunkin’s new summer menu featuring the Cake Batter Signature Latte because nothing says summer like stirring unbaked cake into your coffee. What, you’ve never done that? Do you mean to tell me you’ve never set out to make a cake, decided it was too hot to turn on the oven, and then solved the problem by just swirling the batter into your espresso? Yeah, me neither, but that didn’t stop me from deciding I needed to know what it would be like if I did.

Combining espresso and milk with cake batter flavor and topped with whipped cream, mocha drizzle, and rainbow sprinkles, this beverage blurs the lines between coffee and dessert. It looks like something you’d order if you decided to have a little party for yourself.

My quest for this party began on a cold Chicago day where summer felt far away, but the idea of coffee with sprinkles felt just right. I ordered both iced and hot versions, and my request was met with confusion. I couldn’t tell if this was because the employee didn’t understand why I’d want both or if he didn’t know what the Cake Batter Latte was. After some questioning, I received them, and now it was my turn to be confused.

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte First Attempt

Both had whipped cream and sprinkles, but “rainbow” would be a stretch as most were white or very muted pastels. Where there should have been a mocha drizzle, there was a thin, tan syrup and a dash of brown powder. The drinks weren’t bad but were kind of sad looking and tasted nothing like cake batter. I walked away thinking I had two possibly hazelnut flavored lattes and vowed to try again.

Ok, Round Two! A new day, a new Dunkin’ location.

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Cake on Summer

This time I opted for just the iced version and was relieved when it looked more like the image on the menu encouraging me to “Cake on the Summer.” Don’t mind if I do! The mocha drizzle was clearly present this time, and the sprinkles had a brighter appearance. Then it came to taste time and I was disappointed that the bulk of this coffee is the same flavor I had before, and it still doesn’t taste like cake batter to me. It seemed closer to a French Vanilla and I’m wondering if the nuttiness is some sort of almond flavoring. Almond extract is a fairly typical ingredient in many cakes, so maybe it’s unfair to say this doesn’t taste like one. I should say that it doesn’t taste like the kind I thought it would, a vanilla-forward birthday cake mix. Maybe this tastes like a petit four?

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Sprinkles

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Mocha Drizzle

The espresso has a rich flavor and the (non)cake batter flavoring and toppings don’t totally overwhelm it. It’s sweet but more balanced than you might anticipate something swirled with cake batter to be. The mocha drizzle doesn’t add much taste but aesthetically contributes to a decorated cake look, and the drink itself is pleasantly creamy. Some sips seem thicker and sweeter, like frosting, which wouldn’t really be present in cake batter but does make one think of cake. The highlights for me were any sips with sprinkles. They don’t taste like anything, but they provide some textural pop and festivity. If made correctly, this drink looks like it should be served next to presents and a bounce house, but the taste doesn’t deliver the same amount of fun.

Update: There was a birthday in my house this week, and because I care about authenticity, I sampled a boxed mug cake batter and a homemade cupcake batter. Both confirmed my suspicions that I know what cake batter tastes like, and this latte doesn’t capture it.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: Medium (Iced)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium iced with whole milk) 440 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 62 grams of sugar (45 grams of added sugar), and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Side

What is the Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew?

The newest drink to grace Starbucks’ cold brew lineup pairs regular cold brew coffee with vanilla syrup, and on top is a chocolate cream cold foam.

How is it?

Please don’t hate me for using the abbreviation of a high schooler, but OMG. The new chocolate cold foam is AMAZING. Before trying the drink all together, I uncapped mine to get a taste of the cold foam. This is unlike any other cold foam experience I’ve had at Starbucks. It had a light, whipped consistency like a chocolate mousse and could have easily been eaten alone with a spoon. (Hey Starbucks, can you order a whole cup of only chocolate cold foam? Asking for a friend.) When I gave it a whiff, I picked up malty notes that reminded me of a Whoppers candy, which in my opinion, is an extremely underrated chocolate.

Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Top

Due to the thickness of the foam, it didn’t sink into the cold brew, which I personally consider a plus. Note that the cold brew itself is nothing out of the ordinary – it’s sweetened simply with some vanilla syrup.

This drink was pretty decadent, and I felt as though I was drinking a dessert rather than my usual morning java. As much as I loved drinking it, I see myself ordering this as a special treat so it remains a novelty I look forward to and enjoy.

Anything else you need to know?

The chocolate cold foam did mask some of the coffee flavor, so if you’re not looking for something super strong but still want the caffeine punch, I highly recommend this.

Conclusion:

If you like cold brew and you like chocolate, this is a no-brainer. It’s a great addition as we usher in summer and one I hope remains on the menu for a while.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 20 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 145 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Cans

What is Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?

It’s Monster Energy’s attempt to enter the slowly growing canned nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee market. Since 2020, Starbucks has been selling canned versions of its Nitro Cold Brew. Also, a handful of smaller coffee brands have theirs. But behind Starbucks, Monster Energy is probably the next biggest name to have one.

If you’re unfamiliar with the coffee drink, adding the element with an atomic weight of 14.0067 (I still remember it off the top of my head…after Googling it 10 seconds ago) into coffee gives it a smoother texture and head of foam when poured. Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew is available in two varieties — Sweet Black and Latte.

How are they?

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Latte

I like my coffee how I like my babies, full of milk. So I started with the Latte version. Pouring it created a thick foamy head, but perhaps too thick because of how I poured it. So I had to wait a while for it to shrink before drinking it. With the foam, its flavor reminds me of a regular Java Monster, but slightly watered down and less creamy, which I guess could be considered a smooth texture? Once the foam disappears into the liquid, the headless drink has more flavor, but it’s still less creamy than Monster’s regular coffee energy drinks. It’s okay, but I wouldn’t repurchase it.

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Sweet Black

Pouring the Sweet Black version resulted in a less pronounced foam head. It also has a less noticeable flavor. Even though there’s no sugar, it’s slightly sweet, and it isn’t very bitter, which is expected for cold brew. But much like the Latte one, it tastes watered down when drinking it with the foam. I thought, much like the Latte one, the flavor would perk up when the foam melts into the drink, but that wasn’t the case. While I enjoy Starbucks’ Black Nitro Cold Brew, I’m not a fan of this.

Anything else you need to know?

A can has 200 milligrams of caffeine thanks to the coffee and, of course, Monster’s proprietary energy blend. It’s the same amount you’ll find in most regular Java Monster flavors.

Also, the coffee is, I guess, pre-mixed with nitrogen. Unlike the Starbucks canned Nitro Cold Brew and Nitro Pepsi, there isn’t a nitrogen infuser at the can’s bottom that activates when opened. So, I’m sorry, ASMRers. There isn’t a satisfying hiss.

Conclusion:

As someone who loves Java Monster and Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew, I thought there would be a good chance I’d enjoy Monster’s Nitro Cold Brew, but both varieties are underwhelming.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 13.5 fl oz cans
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Latte), 5 out of 10 (Sweet Black)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Sweet Black – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Latte – 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar (0 grams of added sugar), and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Can

Coca-Cola with Coffee is a drink I’ve only had a few times, but it’s always been enjoyable. I tried the standard and vanilla versions, with my preference leaning towards the smooth character of the latter. Coke recently launched Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha, and I was immediately interested. Chocolate seemed promising as a flavor that could integrate well with the combination. I eagerly sought out a few cans of the beverage.

I popped open the drink and gave it a deep whiff. The aroma of Coca-Cola was the first to register and was quite dominant. Faint undertones of coffee came through after, but I could not detect even a trace of chocolate.

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Top

I poured it into a glass, and it briefly fizzled. Most of the bubbles began to dissipate quickly. It reminded me of a soda that’s been previously opened and lost most of its carbonation.

I tasted the cola coffee drink and was met with a surprisingly complex presentation. Coca-Cola is the first flavor that I noticed, but it gave way to a mild background of chocolate. The chocolate taste was slightly artificial, not unlike a Tootsie Roll, but I still found it pleasant. The coffee came in next and was significantly more prominent than the chocolate. As I swallowed, I got more cola notes, bringing the flavor profile full-circle. The three flavors are quite complementary to each other. It’s a pleasant and smooth yet remarkably dense combination.

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Glass

The aftertaste, however, is not appealing to my palate. It lingered on my tongue and reminded me of a mix of diet cola and old coffee. It even felt like it left a film behind, which I typically associate with diet soda. It’s not necessarily an offensive sensation, and it’s not unique to this version of Coca-Cola with Coffee, as the other flavors do the same thing to me.

As anticipated, Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha is a tasty and multifaceted beverage experience, but is slightly held back by its aftertaste. If you enjoy the other flavors, you’ll likely appreciate this, but don’t expect a top-tier chocolatey experience.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 12 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Fry’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso  1

What is the Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso?

Another dairy-free, caffeine-packing drink has hit the Starbucks menu. The new Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso (try saying that one five times fast!) combines espresso shots with toasted vanilla syrup and oatmilk.

How is it?

At first sip, you’ll get a strong toasted vanilla taste up front, followed by the oatmilk. Now if you’ve never had oatmilk before, I describe it as a little thicker than dairy milk with a nutty-ish taste. My colleague shared that she thinks oatmilk often overpowers other flavors in a drink, and I definitely found that here. Despite three espresso shots in a grande, I could barely detect a coffee taste. It didn’t bother me too much, but if you typically look for that, this might fall short for you. Even though the espresso wasn’t super prevalent, it still packed a good caffeine punch that lasted me throughout the day.

Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Let’s take a second to go back to the toasted vanilla syrup. In the beginning, I was really digging in. But the more I drank, the more I got a bit of the burnt aftertaste. I was originally planning on giving this an 8 rating as I was sipping, but the aftertaste was enough to bump it down to a 7. Not a deal-breaker on liking the drink, just something of note!

I will say that if you aren’t into super sweet coffee, try this syrup. There’s a notable difference in the sweetness of the toasted vanilla versus Starbucks’ standard vanilla, and I enjoyed it. I’m interested in trying it with caramel syrup mixed in as well to merge the flavors.

Anything else you need to know?

I watched as the barista prepared my beverage, and she only gave it three quick shakes in the shaker before pouring. The espresso (when you could taste it) seemed to land at the bottom even though it had been shaken, so I’d recommend shaking it up a little more for even distribution.

Conclusion:

If you were a fan of the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso or the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso that Starbucks released this time last year, give this a try. It’s smooth and a good drink to try as spring starts to roll in.

Purchased Price: $5.75
Size: Grande
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 140 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 255 milligrams of caffeine.