REVIEW: Dunkin’ Midnight Coffee

Dunkin Midnight Coffee Cup

What is Dunkin’ Midnight Coffee?

In accordance with the present times, Dunkin’ has decided to get a little dark – darker than it’s ever gone before, in fact, with the release of the new Midnight Coffee.

How is it?

I almost always opt for the dark roast when I order my cold brews on the app, but that option seemed to disappear in the past month or so. Thankfully Dunkin’ has decided to go even darker with its new Midnight blend.

I’m just gonna say it – Dunkin’s regular base coffee stinks.

But it is a gateway to a better beverage. If you love it, more power to ya, but I can’t fathom drinking it black. It’s just not that good. 4 out of 10.

Dunkin Midnight Coffee Comparison

To reinforce my opinion, I tried a hot Midnight coffee against Dunkin’s regular roast, and it was (mid)night and day. Of all the crazy sugar bombs Dunkin’ drops monthly, this might be the most important menu addition in years.

Ok, I’m being dramatic. But for a dark roast fan like myself, this is big.

Dunkin Midnight Coffee Mug

Midnight is a rich, darker blend that leans more towards espresso with big notes of bitter dark chocolate.

I found the taste to be softer and dryer than the standard, with a much more pleasant aftertaste. It made the regular coffee sour in comparison.

Anything else you need to know?

After taking a few sips of the straight black coffees, I added oat milk, which is the G.O.A.T. milk, not be confused with goat milk, which is a goat’s milk.

Again, Midnight was considerably better. The oat milk’s creaminess enhanced the dark chocolate notes slightly and left a chocolate-covered espresso bean flavor in its wake.

Conclusion:

Dunkin Midnight Coffee Mug

Look, I’ll probably never order a hot black Midnight coffee again if I’m honest, but that doesn’t change the fact that Dunkin’ finally has a coffee I would drink black. It’s not hard to mask the flavor of Dunkin’s base roast, but I’m still thrilled it’s added a new starting point to my coffee order.

Dunkin’ better expand Midnight into the iced side of the menu because I see no reason to ever go back. If you’re a dark roast coffee drinker, this is definitely for you.

Purchased Price: $1.87
Size: Small
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available on website.

REVIEW: Starbucks Pistachio Latte

Starbucks Pistachio Latte Cup

What is the Starbucks Pistachio Latte?

The new Starbucks Pistachio Latte has a typical latte base – steamed milk and espresso – with pistachio sauce and a salted brown butter topping.

How is it?

2021, you are off to an amazing start on the coffee front. I don’t think I could love the Pistachio Latte any more!

At first sip, there was a mellow, not overly sweet nuttiness, thanks to the pistachio sauce, which I’m looking forward to trying in some of my other favorite beverages. (Hint, Starbucks: Please keep this sauce forever!) While in reality I was about to go to work, I would have preferred to drink it during a cozy afternoon reading by the fire.

Starbucks Pistachio Latte Top

I’m really impressed with the pistachio sauce – I think Starbucks hit the nail on the head with a flavor that pairs nicely with the milk in the latte. It’s warm, filling, and has just the right amount of flavor. It reminded me slightly of a flat white. Even though traditional flat whites don’t have a sauce or syrup, the Pistachio Latte was reminiscent of the warm, just a tiny bit creaminess of a flat white.

Lastly, I found the flavor to be apparent down to the last drop.

Anything else you need to know?

The *only* thing that fell a bit flat for me and why I gave the rating I did was the salted brown butter topping. I typically find that these toppings sink right into the hot drinks and you can’t really taste it. This was the case with the Pistachio Latte.

Conclusion:

Go. Try. This. Latte. I can’t wait to get it again! Here’s to hoping it sticks around beyond winter.

Purchased Price: $4.65
Size: Grande
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 6 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 33 grams of total sugars, 9 grams of protein, and 75 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew

Starbucks Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew Cup

What is the Starbucks Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew?

Another new Cold Brew has graced the Starbucks’ menu! This one is for the non-dairy group/almondmilk lovers. The Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew has just three components: Cold Brew coffee, a little honey to sweeten it up, and almondmilk.

How is it?

First thing to note: When I got this, there was an obvious separation of the Cold Brew and the almondmilk. In fact, these separated layers stayed that way until I had about 25% left. I’ve found that to be true when I add Starbucks almondmilk to other coffees – the almondmilk just doesn’t mix in the way a sweet cream or dairy milk does.

Starbucks Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew Top

But on to the flavor! The honey taste was strong at first sip, in a great way. I enjoyed it as a nice change of pace from the usual syrups or sauces I use to sweeten my Cold Brews. It went down smooth and still kept it’s flavor after the drink sits a while. You can ask my co-workers – I’m known for milking (or almondmilking… see what I did there?) an iced drink for several hours. Two hours later, the honey flavor was still there when I finished.

Anything else you need to know?

As for its sweetness, you’re really getting a bang for your buck in the amount of sugars. A grande has only 10 grams of total sugars, even though it feels like more.

And it packs a nice caffeine punch, as the Cold Brews usually do. After having this as my morning beverage, I even skipped an afternoon coffee run with my co-workers… something I usually NEVER do. I felt satisfied by both caffeine content and taste.

Conclusion:

The Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew was good and a nice change of pace, but I won’t likely add to my usual rotation because it wasn’t anything super special. If you like almondmilk, though, this is a nice drink that pairs well with honey.

Purchased Price: $4.25
Size: Grande
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 50 calories, 0.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of protein, and 205 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar

Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar Cans

What is Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar?

Starbucks’ regular Tripleshot line of beverages promises an extra energy boost thanks to added B vitamins, guarana, and ginseng, with the latter two helping to lift the caffeine content to 225 milligrams. The new Zero Sugar line, available in Black and Vanilla flavors, promises all that without sugar.

How is it?

Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar Black

Both flavors pour black. Unlike most Starbucks grocery items, there’s no added milk here. I taste the Black first and am pleased that it’s not overly sweet and without an artificial sweetener aftertaste. The coffee itself is fairly nondescript, without any overtly positive or negative characteristics. It’s not bitter, or astringent, or flat-tasting, but there’s nothing of much interest either.

Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar Vanilla

I tend to agree with those who think Starbucks roasts its beans too darkly, so the roasted flavor dominates and lingers too long for my taste. The same can be said of the Vanilla variety. Although in this case, the vanilla flavor has an artificial character that battles with the dark roast to see which is more slightly off-putting. Both are entirely drinkable, but neither offers anything to highly recommend them.

Anything else you need to know?

In my experience, there are two kinds of people who are perhaps a bit too proud of the coffee they drink. Some will breathlessly tell you about their favorite third-wave tasting studio that just got in a new Yirgacheffe that can only be found on a single Ethiopian hill and must be harvested by the light of the full moon during a leap year. Then there are those who will regale you of the absolute swill they’ve drunk, just the worst dregs imaginable. Maybe it was actually scrapings from a hospital cafeteria grease trap? They don’t know, but they drank it, dammit!

Starbucks regularly earns the contempt of both these groups. Luckily for Starbucks, that leaves the vast majority of coffee drinkers: those who want to be able to go to any random street corner and find a cup of coffee that’s consistent and better than what their Mr. Coffee can produce. The Tripleshot Energy Zero Sugar beverages are for people who like coffee just fine. So if they’re in a convenience store, they might choose it instead of their usual Red Bull.

Conclusion:

As someone with a locally roasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe on my coffee shelf right now, these Tripleshots taste like decent coffee that’s been allowed to get too cold. It’s not a terrible option if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, but it’s not something I’d regularly drink. Then again, I am an unbearable hipster, so your mileage may vary.

Purchased Price: $2.09
Size: 15 fl oz (442 ml)
Purchased at: Woodman’s Market
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola with Coffee (Dark Blend and Vanilla)

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Cans

The cans of Coca-Cola with Coffee tell me they have great Coca-Cola taste blended with rich, luxurious coffee.

In less flashy terms, it is a coffee-flavored soda containing real coffee powder for a uniquely fizzy hybrid beverage. I’ll be reviewing the Dark Blend and Vanilla flavors, but there will also be a caramel one when these debut nationwide in early 2021.

I am a coffee lover and a soda lover, so I’m absolutely pumped to experience their love child months before the official release. Both have a nice fizz and the signature dark brown color of regular cola. Each one also starts off with a very familiar Coca-Cola taste.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Vanilla

It’s interesting as the beginning just tastes like cola, but then each one transforms. The vanilla one brings in some creaminess towards the end, but I’m not sure where the coffee is. I can maybe taste it if I really think about it. This one pretty is much like Coca-Cola Vanilla. It’s good, but the coffee flavor is kind of lost amongst the cola and vanilla.

I was underwhelmed with the vanilla version, but boy oh boy does the Dark Blend make up for it. After trying it, I can confirm the coffee flavor is scarce in the Vanilla variety because this one contains such great coffee essence.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Dark Blend

The beverage starts off cola-y and morphs into a fizzy roasted coffee drink. If you have ever had an imported Italian coffee soda, it actually tastes like a lighter, Coke-flavored version of those. The flavor was pretty intense upon first sip but then lessened a bit the more I guzzled down. This may not be the best drink to wash down a burger and fries because of the flavor mashup. But as a late morning/early afternoon drink or in the heat when cold brew is not an option, it would be absolutely phenomenal. YUM!

It also likely won’t 100% replace your favorite go-to soda or satisfy your coffee fix whenever you need it (it has 69 mg of caffeine, more than a regular cola but less than a cup of joe). But overall, it is a darn good drink to add to your rotation.

There is a pretty well-known saying of Everything Old is New Again. Well, here we are again, as this drink follows Coca-Cola Blak and Pepsi Kona from years past that failed to light the world on fire. So it is not a brand new idea by any means, but maybe 2020 can be the year when cola coffee finally becomes a drink staple. Not to mention that a version of this beverage has been making the rounds internationally for the past few years.

Coca Cola with Coffee  U S Ingredients

One odd thing about this beverage is the sugar content. Not only is it a hybrid with flavors, but it is also a hybrid on the sweetener scale because it contains high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. I don’t think the taste is impacted as it doesn’t taste too heavy like a soda or too sweet/fake like a diet one. However, it does worry me that it may put off those that exclusively drink one or the other.

Ever wonder what a mixture of Coca-Cola and coffee would taste like? Or are you tired of the fruity-flavored colas and want to quench your thirst with something new? Come January 2021, you are in luck. But skip the Vanilla version and reach for the Dark Blend one for a deliciously unique coffola (It should have a fun name, like a celebrity couple) experience. Maybe we can make it stick around this time!

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. (Thanks, Coke!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12 fl oz cans
Purchased at: Received as part of the Coca-Cola Insiders Club
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Vanilla), 9 out of 10 (Dark Blend)
Nutrition Facts: (1 Can) Both flavors have identical nutrition facts – 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis

Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis

What are Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis?

These are new flavors of Clif Bar’s Coffee Collection, but smaller than the original members. They weigh less than half the regular bars (0.99 ounces vs. 2.4 ounces). While the full-size bars are available in Dark Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, and Vanilla Almond Latte, the Minis come in Espresso and Cappuccino. There are 20 bars in a box.

According to Clif Bar’s website, the Espresso Minis have crunchy pieces of chocolate-covered coffee beans and a hint of sweet cocoa. The Cappuccino Minis have rich roasted coffee, white chocolate-flavored chunks, and crunchy pieces of chocolate-covered coffee beans.

How are they?

Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis Espresso

If you’ve had chocolate-covered espresso beans, you’ll know what the espresso ones taste like, although the flavor isn’t as bold as what you’d get with the choco-coated beans. As for the Cappuccino version, the coffee flavor is a bit muted, and, overall, the bars are sweeter than the Espresso variety. With both, I occasionally get the crunch of the java beans, which are sustainably sourced from Colombia, if you were wondering.

Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis Cappuccino

Beyond the coffee, there are the other ingredients that make up all Clif Bars, which always seem to make them look like construction material to me. While they’re all there to keep the bars together and give them their chewy and crispy textures, they don’t play too much of a role with both flavors. If anything, they perhaps lower the coffee-ness a little.

Overall, I enjoyed both, but prefer the more robust flavor of the Espresso Minis.

Anything else you need to know?

These do contain a good level of caffeine. According to the box, one has about the same amount that’s in an espresso shot. What does that mean? The side of the packaging explains that each bar has 60-70 milligrams of the stimulant.

I’ve been replacing my daily early afternoon iced coffee with one of these Clif Bars, and they seem to give me the same energy boost that gets me through the rest of my workday.

Conclusion:

While I like the flavor, convenience, and caffeine content of these Clif Bar Coffee Collection Minis, it’s the last two that stand out to me. It’s nice to consume a pick me up without having to walk over to the kitchen (or Starbucks) to get a caffeinated beverage.

Purchased Price: $10.43 (on sale)
Size: 19.80 oz. box/20 pack
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Espresso), 7 out of 10 (Cappuccino)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) Espresso – 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. Cappuccino – 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.