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.

REVIEW: Java Monster 300 Triple Shot

Java Monster Triple Shot

I present to you a Java Monster Triple Shot Energy Coffee review with a number of words that equals the number of milligrams of caffeine each can has —- 300.

(Yes, including these words and those above. So it’s really 258 words below.)

Monster Energy might be trolling Starbucks with this new coffee drink line because, if not for a tap of the space bar, it would’ve been a trademark violation. You see, Starbucks, last year, came out with an energy coffee line called Tripleshot, which is a followup to the brand’s Doubleshot line.

Java Monster Triple Shot features, you guessed it by looking at the large numbers on the labels and reading the first paragraph above, 300 milligrams of caffeine per can, and it comes in two flavors — French Vanilla and Mocha. Starbucks’ Tripleshot has a not round number of 225 milligrams of the stimulant, but is currently available in five flavors.

Java Monster Triple Shot French Vanilla
Java Monster Triple Shot French Vanilla

While Java Monster Triple Shot can pump a Spartans army at the Battle of Thermopylae’s worth of caffeine into your bloodstream, I feel that’s the only noteworthy thing it has.

Both varieties smell, look, and taste similar to their regular Java Monster counterparts, but it seems as if some flavor was sacrificed in order to get to 300 milligrams of caffeine. To me, they’re slightly less flavorful than any regular Java Monster, especially the French Vanilla variety. Yes, I shook them.

Java Monster Triple Shot Mocha
Java Monster Triple Shot Mocha

With that said, Jave Monster Triple Shot drinks are perfectly fine coffee beverages if you want or need a whole lot of caffeine in 15 ounces. But if you don’t need to pump your bloodstream with that much, I’d recommend sticking with the regular Java Monster line, which has 188 milligrams per can. Or you could purchase a can of Starbucks’ Triple-no-space-shot.

300 words.

Purchased Price: More than anyone should pay on eBay
Size: 15 oz. cans
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10 (both flavors)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) French Vanilla – 200 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Mocha – 200 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew

What is Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew?

Starbucks has introduced three new cold brew flavors in nitrogen-infused cans – Black, Dark Caramel, and Vanilla Sweet Cream.

How is it?

It had me at “Nitro.” If any coffee shop offers anything Nitro, I’m getting it every time. It’s smoother and tastier than the regular fare. There’s also that added element of fun, watching the gas go to work on the coffee.

As for these three flavors? You can’t go wrong with any of ’em, but one did stand out above the others:

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew Vanilla Sweet Cream

Vanilla Sweet Cream – The nitro gave each of these a fluffy head, but Vanilla Sweet Cream had the creamiest, which lent itself to an amazing mouthfeel. It tasted like coffee with a shot or two of birthday cake-flavored creamer. I mean, it’s probably just vanilla, but “Birthday Cake” is such a trendy flavor, it instantly put me in mind of that. It’s not cloying in any way either.

I’ve grabbed many a Starbucks drink from the 7-Eleven fridge over many an early morning, and this ranks near the top. I was impressed by the sweet flavor compared to the nutritional stats, which are totally manageable and non-egregious.

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew Dark Caramel

Dark Caramel – I frequent a local shop that offers a Toffee Cold Brew, and that is exactly what this tasted like – strong coffee with a dash of delicious English toffee. A toffee coffee. It’s not as sweet or creamy as the Vanilla Sweet Cream, and it may have tasted slightly artificial, but it was still very good.

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew Black

Black – This one may have surprised me the most. I’ve never been a black coffee kinda guy, but the nitro gives this the effect of having some kind of dairy mixed in. The coffee flavor is strong, maybe a tad acidic, but not overwhelming because the velvety foam does more than enough to make up for the lack of creamer.

Dark Caramel was a perfect center point between the sweetness of Vanilla Sweet Cream and the no-frills coffee flavor you get in the Black. They all complimented each other nicely.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew Nitrogen

If you’ve ever had Guinness Stout or any other nitro canned beverage, you probably know what to expect. Each can has a little nitrogen infuser that releases a bubbly hiss when you crack the can.

Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew Foam

There are few things prettier than a silky pour of Guinness foam dancing up a beer glass, and if I had to complain about anything, it would be that these coffees put on a much more muted show.

I’ve also had nitro coffee from Trader Joe’s that had better dance moves than these, but I’m just nitpicking. It may not have my desired show effect, but the nitrogen certainly does its job, making each of these foamy and silky smooth.

Conclusion:

Starbucks usually knocks it out of the park with their pre-packaged beverages, but these shot to the top for me. Nitro never disappoints, and these were every bit as good as what I’d get inside an actual Starbucks.

Purchased Price: $2.50 each
Size: 9.6 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Stop and Shop
Rating: Vanilla Sweet Cream: 9 out of 10 (Vanilla Sweet Cream), 8 out of 10 (Dark Caramel), 8 out of 10 (Black)
Nutrition Facts: Vanilla Sweet Cream – 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar (7 grams of added sugar), 3 grams of protein, and 110 milligrams of caffeine. Dark Caramel – 45 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar (8 grams of added sugar,) 1 gram of protein, and 155 milligrams of caffeine. Black – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 155 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Ocean Spray Brew

Ocean Spray Brew

It appears the Bog-tenders over at Ocean Spray used a Mad Lib to brainstorm their new product, because here I am, about to sip an Ocean Spray Brew.

Ocean Spray’s signature cranberries and green coffee beans play supporting roles in two different flavors of this bizarre witch’s brew – Lemonade and Blueberry.

I guess fruit flavor mixed with coffee isn’t exactly a new concept, but I can’t help but feel like Ocean Spray’s tapping an entirely new market that nobody asked for here.

I drink multiple cups of coffee a day but seldom have juice. I don’t dislike it, but I usually find most juices too sweet, almost always too acidic, and any time I drink them, they go down like a shot of whiskey.

So, with that said, am I the market for this stuff? Will I prefer juice with a splash of coffee?

The answer to that question is a resounding YES. These are shockingly tasty.

Imagine you’re drinking a light version of a fruit-flavored iced tea that was not only steeped with a tea bag but coffee beans as well. Huh?

I’ll break them down by flavor:

Ocean Spray Brew Cranberry Lemonade

Lemonade – It smells like iced tea, but once you’re about to take a sip, you get smacked with the scent of coffee. I’d equate this to having a glass of lemon iced tea right after eating a coffee-flavored hard candy. That might not sound all that appetizing in your mind, but it really works. To me, this evoked Italian after-dinner espressos with those little lemon wedges. The brew is perfectly balanced – not too sweet or sour. No flavor overwhelms another.

Ocean Spray Brew Cranberry Blueberry

Blueberry – This one smells like blueberries and coffee grounds. It tastes like blueberry tea that quickly transitions into a berry centric cold brew. I was reminded of dark chocolate covered espresso beans despite there not being any chocolate in the ingredients. I guess it was the dark berry flavor and coffee mixed together that put that in my mind. Imagine an edible espresso bean wrapped in a blueberry-infused chocolate coating. That’s the aftertaste.

Overall, I preferred it slightly more than the lemonade one.

Both of these flavors hit the mark, and deliver on the strange premise. You’ll notice I didn’t mention cranberry once, well, that’s because cranberry plays a great supporting character, despite appearing to be the headliner here. It works perfectly as the bridge ingredient in both flavors. It gave each bottle a nice, mildly sweet dryness that seemed to only elevate the other flavors involved.

Cranberry is better with a partner. Ocean Spray knows this and has managed to marry “cran” to every other fruit in existence. It even somehow managed to convince a chunk of the country that “crayon” is pronounced “cran.” Ocean Spray has that cran-power.

Ocean Spray Brew Both

So, to sum up, if you like fruit-flavored iced teas, and you like coffee, you should like Ocean Spray Brew. I loved it. Then again, I used to order my Dunkin’ iced coffees with a shot of blueberry, and I’m a huge fan of coffee stouts with fruited adjuncts, so I guess I was the audience here.

You get half a cup of coffee’s worth of natural caffeine in each serving, so you can even use this as a refreshing energy replacement in the morning.

I honestly think we just tapped into a new market. Nothing is ever “new” so I’m sure there are “juice coffees” out there, but if you’ve wanted a healthy (by juice standards) flavored iced tea that finishes like a coffee while also giving you a caffeine kick? Here ya go!

Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 1 liter bottle
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Cranberry Blueberry), 8 out of 10 (Cranberry Lemonade)
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) Cranberry Blueberry – 30 calories, 0grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Cranberry Lemonade – 30 calories, 0grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Nestle Coffee-mate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamer

Nestle Coffee mate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamer

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is, hands down, my favorite cereal. Enjoying a bowl of it can immediately transport me back to more carefree days. When I saw Nestle’s Coffee-mate had launched a new Cinnamon Toast Crunch coffee creamer, I could barely contain my excitement.

In the past, I’ve taken leftover milk from a bowl of CTC and poured it into my coffee. While it’s decent, it leaves a lot to be desired. I prefer cream in my coffee, so that little amalgam is a bit too thin for my taste.

I fantasized about how great it would taste in my cup of joe. I was hoping for a creamer that perfectly captured the essence of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. At the very least, I thought it would maybe taste like horchata (try it if you haven’t), which would be fantastic.

Nestle Coffee mate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamer Itself

I poured some of the creamer into a glass to try it straight-up first. There were no visible specs of cinnamon in it. “This is troubling,” I thought to myself. It smelled faintly of French toast. French toast typically has cinnamon, so I figured this was a good sign.

Alone, it tastes like a standard sweetened coffee creamer, but with a minuscule hint of cinnamon. There was no verifiable CTC flavor. It definitely didn’t have a horchata flavor either.

Nestle Coffee mate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamer Coffee

In coffee, it had the same effect. It made it creamier and sweeter, as is to be expected. But I could barely taste the cinnamon. If I had not known what I was drinking, there’s no way I could have guessed this was supposed to taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I don’t think I could have even surmised that it was cinnamon flavored. I have had generic, store-brand cinnamon coffee creamers that taste more like my beloved cereal than this.

I feel like this would have been such an easy flavor to nail. I can’t figure out how they missed the mark so dramatically.

I’ll have to stick with pouring leftover cereal milk in my coffee for now. If I’m feeling particularly desperate, I suppose I could eat the cereal with half and half, so that the remnants make a real Cinnamon Toast Crunch creamer. I know that’s excessive, but it’s a better option than this liquid disappointment.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 32 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Fry’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 tbsp) 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Almondmilk Honey Flat White

Starbucks Almondmilk Honey Flat White

What is the Starbucks Almondmilk Honey Flat White?

Starbucks is promoting its dairy-free options in 2020 with several new beverages, including the Almondmilk Honey Flat White. A spin on the classic Flat White, this one has almondmilk and honey for a touch of sweetness.

How is it?

As someone who typically doesn’t order almondmilk with my coffee, I was intrigued by this one. Although I enjoy almondmilk itself, I don’t always feel it mixes in as smooth in my coffee drinks. But it might be user error on my part when I try it at home because it certainly was mixed in well by a professional barista. I approved!

Starbucks Almondmilk Honey Flat White 2

Let’s get down to the flavor: The first sip had a lot of foam with a subtle nuttiness from the almondmilk. I’ve had plenty of standard Starbucks Flat Whites in my day, and this one had more foam than usual, in a good way. (For those wondering, a Flat White is made with ristretto shots, which are shorter shots of espresso with less water.) The honey was a welcome addition – just the right amount of sweet. Despite it having 24 grams of sugar in a grande, it definitely doesn’t taste like it!

The Almondmilk Honey Flat White can also be made iced, and that’s next on my list to try.

Is there anything else you need to know?

If you care about what specific type of espresso is in your beverage, you can get the Almondmilk Honey Flat White with either regular espresso or the Starbucks Blonde Espresso.

Conclusion:

I liked this one but didn’t love it – I’d order it again, but it won’t become one of my usuals — only one of my once-in-a-whiles.

Purchased Price: $5.45
Size: Grande
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of total sugars, 3 grams of protein, and 195 milligrams of caffeine.