REVIEW: Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Canned Drinks

Are you a fan of the Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks? If the answer is yes you are in luck because Starbucks recently launched Nitro Cold Brew canned coffee drinks! The Nitro Cold Brew canned drinks come in three flavors: Black, Dark Caramel, and Vanilla Sweet Cream.

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I found all three flavors of Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew cans in the refrigerated case at Target. Prior to seeing posts on Instagram about these drinks, I had no idea that Starbucks planned to release cans of Nitro Cold Brew. I know that Nitro is a popular drink choice at Starbucks but I was not expecting it in cans so soon.

According to Bustle, “Each 9.6-oz can is infused with nitrogen to give it the same velvety smooth taste that you get from Starbucks’ in-store Nitro Cold Brew.” Whenever I order Nitro in stores, I always get the flavored cold foam on top, so I was curious to find out how these coffee drinks tasted. I chose to buy the Dark Caramel and Vanilla Sweet Cream varieties since I do not drink black coffee.

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Overall, I was pleased with both the Dark Caramel and Vanilla Sweet Cream flavors. Nitro Cold Brew always seems much more smooth than regular espresso drinks. I used to purchase the Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drinks if I needed a quick pick-me-up, but I may finally convert to the Nitro cans. These premium coffee drinks offer a balanced ratio of coffee to added flavor. Not to mention, the Nitro packs a punch of caffeine to give you an extra energy boost.

KFC, Dunkin’, and Starbucks: This Week in Food News

KFC Debuts Donut Sandwich

This week, KFC’s new fried chicken and donuts launched in participating stores nationwide. The chicken and donuts come in a basket or as a sandwich if you prefer to eat on the go. From what I have heard, this is much different than KFC’s attempt at chicken and waffles. The warm, glazed donut accents the crispy chicken tenders. KFC reports that the chicken and donut combo is available for a limited time, so get yours before it’s too late!

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Matcha Lattes Now Available at Dunkin’

I will preface this by saying I’m not the biggest fan of matcha drinks. Something about the earthiness of the green tea just does not do it for me. However, matcha has become increasingly more popular at places like Starbucks and now Dunkin’ is trying to steal a portion of those profits. The new Matcha Latte at Dunkin’ is available hot, iced, or frozen. Try one today at a Dunkin’ near you.

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Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew in Cans

Bad news for my caffeine addiction; Starbucks launched their new Nitro Cold Brew coffee drinks. As @candyhunting reported, these coffee drinks come in three varieties: Vanilla Sweet Cream, Black, and Dark Caramel. If these drinks are anything like the Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks, I am worried. Nitro makes me so jittery that I can only drink small amounts, but I’m more than willing to give these a try.

REVIEW: Coffeemate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamer

If you haven’t already heard, Coffeemate recently introduced two new coffee creamers: Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Funfetti. When this news hit in December I could not wait to try the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The sweet, cinnamon flavored cereal milk is always a delight after eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and now that is available in the form of coffee creamer.

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It tastes as good as it looks 🤤☕

A post shared by Coffee mate (@coffeemate) on

Coffeemate announced in December that the creamer would start appearing in store starting January 2020. With that knowledge I started my search for this gem. Every time I visited a grocery store, I searched high and low for the creamer without any luck. I finally found the Funfetti creamer at Walmart but I did not want to settle. After reaching out to Coffeemate on Instagram, they instructed me to look at my local Target or Kroger. So, I directed my search efforts to Target.

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Alas, I found it! On a routine Target run, I finally came across the Coffeemate Cinnamon Toast Creamer. Once at home, I popped open the seal on this bad boy and took in the sweet smell of cinnamon and cream. The creamer passed the smell test for sure. To my surprise, cinnamon did not overpower the creamer and there was a nice balance with the sweet cream.

Okay it smells good, so what? All we care about is the taste. I brewed a capsule of vanilla-flavored coffee in my Nespresso and added a healthy portion of the creamer. On a scale of black coffee to complete milk, I enjoy a balanced coffee to cream ratio. I took a sip and embarked on a flashback to my childhood when I would drink the leftover cinnamon sugar milk from my cereal bowl.

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The Coffeemate Cinnamon Toast Crunch creamer hits the nail on its head. I love that the cinnamon flavor does not overpower the entire coffee. You truly do experience more of a sweet, cinnamon milk experience. If you’ve ever tried horchata, that what I can closely compare this coffee creamer to. Nevertheless, if you want to Cinnamon Toast Crunch experience you should definitely give this creamer a try.

#1 – Spilling the Tea on Starbucks w/ a Former Barista

Alex sits down with co-host and former Starbucks barista Stef to discuss the honest truth behind Starbucks products. Follow along as they rate the best and worst drinks, explore life as a barista, and smash or pass on popular secret menu items.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Starbucks Secret Menu Drinks:

The Cheesecake Factory, Coffeemate, Ben & Jerry’s: A Week in Food News

The Cheesecake Factory Expands into Ice Cream

The Cheesecake Factory At Home Ice Cream

The Cheesecake Factory will expand into a new product category with a new line of specialty ice cream pints. I will venture to say this is the most anticipated food release so far this year. These specialty pints will retail for about $5 and come in 7 different flavors: Key Lime, Strawberry, Salted Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Birthday Cake, Original, and Chocolate. You can find these new ice cream pints beginning March 2020.

Coffeemate Debuts 2 New Flavors

Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Funfetti Coffemate Coffee Creamer

Last November, Coffee mate gave its followers a sneak peak of two new creamers that would hit shelves in January 2020. Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Funfetti Coffee mate coffee creamers are here to make mornings a lot sweeter. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch creamer provides consumers with the delicious taste of cinnamon cereal milk they know and love. Or you can opt for birthday cake in a cup with the help of Funfetti creamer. Keep your eyes peeled for these new coffee creamers in a store near you!

Ben & Jerry’s Adds More Snackable Dough Options

Ben & Jerry’s Snackable Dough

Adding to the successful launch of snackable cookie dough products, Ben & Jerry’s plans to roll out two new flavors: Half Baked Chunks and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie. The original flavors debuted in the fall and are absolutely to die for! You would think that the chunks would be hard to eat since they are kept in the freezer; quite the contrary. The cookie dough chunks melt in your mouth and will leave you wanting more.

Pepsi + Coffee? My Initial Thoughts on Pepsi Cafe

Pepsi recently announced that they will be releasing Pepsi Cafe in April 2020 for a limited time. This product combines two things that I feel were meant to stay separate: coffee and cola. It appears that the drink will come in two varieties: original and vanilla. CNBC reports, “The coffee-infused cola beverage has nearly twice as much caffeine as regular Pepsi.”

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Now, cola and coffee is not a new concept. Back in 2006, Coca-Cola released it’s own version of a coffee-cola hybrid called Coca-Cola Black. Needless to say, the product was a total flop. Consumers did not like the taste and simply did not see Coca-Cola as a ready-to-drink coffee brand. Coca-Cola Blak was removed from shelves in 2008.

In the years since the Coca-Cola Blak flop, consumers have changed their perception on coffee products. In May, Coca Cola announced it would be bringing back the coffee cola drink. Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business writes, “Ready-to-drink iced coffees also are growing. And people are embracing mixed beverage categories.” She lists White Claw as a successful example of a product in a “mixed beverage category.”

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To be completely honest, I simply cannot get on board with a coffee-cola hybrid. Coca-Cola Blak sounded disgusting to me when I first heard about it and Pepsi Cafe sounds equally as gross. Sure, it’s not entirely fair to judge the product before it even comes out, but I am willing to try the drink once it hits shelves in April. I do not think the world needs a mix of coffee and cola. Who even thought of carbonated coffee in the first place?

Yes, ready-to-drink coffee products have grown significantly over the last few years. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the market with grow to over $36 billion by the end of 2025 in comparison to $19 billion in 2017. This category is dominated by companies like Starbucks and Nestle and I’ve seen an abundance of private label coffees in grocery and convenience stores trying to capture some of the market share. Now, it appears Coca-Cola and Pepsi want to jump on the bandwagon too.

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In my opinion, I just do not think cola and coffee belong together. I enjoy coffee for the taste and the caffeine boost. Taste aside, coffee and cola is just confusing. Is it a soda or an energy drink? If Pepsi Cafe contains twice the caffeine as a regular Pepsi, that’s about 75 milligrams of caffeine per can, which is comparable to a tall Caffe Latte at Starbucks. However, I cannot see myself drinking a soda/coffee combo to get my day started. I guess we will have to wait and see how this whole debacle pans out.

What do you think about Pepsi Cafe? Leave a comment below!

My First Thoughts on Starbucks’ Irish Cream Cold Brew

After the wild success of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks has added the Irish Cream Cold Brew to the lineup of holiday beverages. Now, I loved the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew because it was such a great alternative to the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte. Most of the holiday drinks at Starbucks will cost you over 400 calories for a grande so I definitely appreciate that Starbucks offers other lower calorie options that I can choose instead.

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According to Starbucks, this drink features, “Irish cream syrup, topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a strike of cocoa powder.” A grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will cost you 200 calories, which amounts to about half the calories of any other holiday drink on the menu. If you need a jolt of caffeine, one grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will provide more bang for your buck. Compared to a grande Caffe Latte which contains 150 milligrams of caffeine, the Irish Cream Cold Brew contains 185 milligrams.

I never tried the original Cloud Foam Cold Brew when it debuted because I thought that the cold foam took up significant real estate in the cup, meaning you received less coffee at the end of the day. Boy, was I wrong. Since there is more caffeine in the cold brew than a regular latte, this drink makes me extra jittery. The Irish cream syrup adds rich, almost chocolaty notes of flavor to the cold brew and the vanilla cream cold foam tops it all off.

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Honestly, I could sit and eat a cup of the cream itself. The vanilla sweet cream cold foam is light, fluffy, and delicious. It compares to fresh whipped cream in my opinion, adding and extra bit of sweetness to the beverage. The sprinkle of cocoa powder on top adds a nice touch to the overall beverage and compliments the rich taste of the Irish cream syrup. Not to mention, the cream mixing with the cold brew is very aesthetically pleasing.

This marks yet another win for Starbucks in my book. The collection of cold foam cold brews are my favorite new menu items by far. I am curious to see how Starbucks will continue to innovate with this concept of cold foam. Possibly a Gingerbread Cream Cold Brew in the future? I don’t know maybe I am just missing the gingerbread latte, but I do see so many opportunities for this amazing drink. Head to your local Starbucks to try the Irish Cream Cold Brew for yourself!

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The Starbucks Reserve Experience. Was It Worth It?

It’s overrated. You will pay $10 for a cup of coffee. The drinks are exactly the same as a regular Starbucks.

These are all comments I have heard about Starbucks Reserve, and ones that kept me from going for a long time; well until now. Of course, assumptions and negative comments affect what we consume, where we go, and how we live; but I decided to give Starbucks Reserve the benefit of the doubt.

As an avid coffee drinker, I do find myself looking for local coffee rather than visiting a Starbucks. Since they are on about every corner, I often pick up a cup of coffee from Starbucks out of convenience. I will say that every time I travel to Seattle, the place where the coffee giant originated, I always look to local coffee shops for a good latte.

While Starbucks does have some tasty drinks, I think the coffee can be hit or miss. Aside from human errors that affect the drinks, one of the most common critiques of Starbucks coffee is the bitter taste. It’s almost as if the beans are roasted a little too long. Regardless, I do drink Starbucks coffee fairly often and have found a few go-to drinks that I enjoy.

What’s The Deal with Starbucks Reserve?

In 2014, the very first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opened in Seattle. Since then, Starbucks has expanded these roasteries and bars across the world. Starbucks Reserve highlights the rarest, most unique coffee that Starbucks has to offer. Here customers can understand more about where the coffee is sourced and indulge in drinks that cannot be found in traditional Starbucks locations.

Starbucks Reserve is about more than simply coffee, it’s designed to be an experience. Roasting beans, brewing coffee, and carefully crafting signature beverages; Starbucks Reserve focuses on creating an atmosphere for those who want more than just the average coffee shop experience. Think about it like a winery, where you can see the source of the grapes and truly grasp the time and dedication it takes to produce a fabulous bottle of wine. At Starbucks Reserve, customers witness the transformation from coffee beans to a premium cup of coffee.

Was It Worth It?

It was 100% worth the visit.

I’m not going to lie, you will pay a premium for a drink from Starbucks Reserve. A regular Caffe Latte at Starbucks will run you anywhere from $3 to $5 depending on the size. At Starbucks Reserve, a Caffe Latte ranges from $4 to $5.50, and that does not include any syrups or other add-ons. You will notice even higher prices on the drinks that you cannot find at a traditional location.

I went into the experience knowing that I had to try an Affogato. For those who do not know, an Affogato consists of one or two shots of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream. In addition to the Affogato, Starbucks Reserve serves several other drinks including ice cream, coffee flights, and more.

Aside from this drink combining two of my favorite things, I was thoroughly impressed. The ice cream is not overly sweet but compliments the espresso very well. As the ice cream melts, this delightful mixture of coffee and cream starts to form in the bottom of the cup. In my opinion, the espresso was more smooth and less bitter than what I have gotten from a regular Starbucks location.

The atmosphere in the Starbucks Reserve Bar differs from that of a traditional location from the menu to the coffee and more. This establishment is geared more toward those with a true appreciation for a premium cup of coffee rather than the occasional drinker. To get the full experience, I recommend finding a comfortable place to enjoy your coffee and observe the care and attention the baristas put into each drink.

In addition to the great atmosphere, our barista was also incredibly knowledgeable and explained the true differences between the traditional locations and a Starbucks Reserve. Next time, I definitely plan on trying the “Siphon Experience” which uses a siphon brewer to showcase the changes throughout the brewing process. This experience completely changed my assumptions about Starbucks Reserve and I fully intend to visit again in the future.