It was only really when I met my husband that I started drinking coffee; maybe I was trying to impress him with how sophisticated I was…who knows, but over the past 16 years it has become a part of my day to day routine.
Nothing quite beats that first cup of coffee in the morning, when your eyes are still gluey from sleepy dust and your mind is fuzzy with dreams about winning the lottery, a steaming cup of rich, bitter coffee is exactly the kind of medicine I need to get myself pepped up and ready for the day.
Fortunately for me, although I have a ridiculously sweet tooth it hasn’t extended to my beverages and I can’t think of anything worse than adding sugar to my hot drinks. I like my coffee strong, with just a tiny dash of milk; in fact my friends joke that if the mug looks as though it’s full of muddy swamp water then they’ve made the perfect brew for me.
But what if you’re someone who loves their coffee, yet can’t handle it without just a teaspoon or two of added sugar to help take away some of that bitterness? That’s approximately 32 calories in every cup, so start to add it up across a day, a week, month, even a year and those figures start to get crazy. Perhaps not a problem to all, but for those of us carrying a bit of extra weight, it’s the little things like cutting out sugar in hot drinks that can really make the difference.
I was recently sent some samples of Beanies flavour coffee, which I think could be just the thing for all those sweet toothed coffee drinkers out there.
Beanies is a completely sugar/sweetener free instant coffee, bursting with delicious sounding flavours like Amaretto Almond, Mint Chocolate and Irish Cream, to name just 3 of the 12 available.
But, I know what you’re thinking…
How on earth can something claiming to be Double Chocolate flavour contain no sugar whatsoever?
Wait for it…
Here Comes The Science Bit!
Standard instant coffee is ground, freeze dried, roasted etc. into the granules we are all familiar with. However, flavoured instant coffee obviously needs to have a flavour added to it and this is generally done by coating the granules in the chosen flavour. What’s different about Beanies is that they infuse flavour into the granules, taking the flavour right to the very heart of each coffee grain and this results in both a greater depth of flavour and a more ‘scent-sational’ brew (do you like what I did there?!)
I tested 4 different flavoured Beanies coffee and when I opened the jars my first impression of every single one of them was the incredibly powerful smell that came wafting out. And, that too, all helps with the Beanies coffee experience, as it is this strong smell that helps trick our brain into thinking that what we are drinking tastes the same as what we can smell.
So now we know a bit more more about how it works, let’s take a look at the four flavours I tried:
Cinder toffee makes me think of bonfire night and crisp autumnal evenings and I therefore had expectations of this flavour tasting slightly burnt, rich and caramelised. I like my coffee really strong and must admit that when I followed the suggested serving size of 1 heaped teaspoon, I found the taste slightly wishy-washy. That’s just me though and I would suggest you have a bit of a play around with how much you use, based on the strength of your regular cuppa.
On my second tasting I whacked in 2 teaspoonfuls and decided to drink it without milk in order to get a true sense of the taste. The colour was a dark brown with a slight yellowy golden tinge around the edges and although I hadn’t added milk, it had a sweet, creamy smell, similar to toffee or fudge. The taste was also a lot more bitter than I was expecting and didn’t taste as strong as the smell suggested. Once I’d got my head around the fact it didn’t taste how it smelt and after I’d had a couple more sips, the smooth, creamy sweet taste began to develop.
As a MASSIVE chocolate fan I was super keen to try this one. With a smooth, velvety taste, this dark, bitter coffee is a bit like a mocha, but with a greater emphasis on the coffee. Again, not as sweet as it smells, but a deep sweetness that emerges the more you drink. I made mine up with 3 teaspoons of coffee in a LARGE cup and a splash of milk, which helped add creaminess. The smell of this one is divine; a creamy, comforting smell that conjures up images of cosy winter nights sat in a large squishy armchair, wearing a baggy knitted jumper on front of a roaring fire. If you love coffee and you love chocolate then this is the one for you and seeing as this ticks both boxes for me, this is hands down my favourite flavour.
TIP – Try mixing Double Chocolate with Nutty Hazelnut…we’ve been reliably informed that it’s like drinking liquid Nutella!
Don’t let the smell of this one put you off, because it has a unique, almost perfumed scent that is not too dissimilar to sweet, talcum powder. OK, OK, I know I’m not really selling this one, but bear with me because this one is a grower!
The milk just made it overly creamy and a bit too sweet and sickly, so I would highly recommend that with this flavour you drink it black. The second mugful I scrapped the milk and upped the coffee and this was much better. I’m not going to lie, the first mouthful is a bit of a shocker and I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it, but after a couple more sips the taste definitely grew on me. I personally don’t think it really tasted like cookie dough, instead it had more of a marzipan like taste, but definitely sweet and I can imagine it working really well mixed up as an iced coffee or even as a flavouring in smoothie bowl.
I love ginger in all forms…crystalized, raw, sticky ginger cake, dark chocolate with ginger, you name it if it’s got ginger in it I’m going to like it. Which is why I was a bit disappointed when I tried this flavour, because I really, REALLY wanted to like it!
For me, this one wasn’t sweet enough and although the smell was an intense, spicy blend that conjured up images of wandering around a Moroccan souk, when it came to the taste I found it too bitter and not gingery enough. However, I think this would be amazing in baking, for example a ginger coffee cake or even in some healthy energy balls. This flavour’s not for me, but if you like your coffee spicy, bitter, with a hint of cinnamon then it’s a winner!
To round up…
I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that as is the same with most herbal, fruit and flavoured teas, Beanies flavoured coffee smells a lot stronger than it actually tastes. In all 4 flavours I tasted, the common factor was that the flavour, although seemingly mild, built up the more I drank and arguably the after taste is where the flavour truly emerges.
If you’re trying to reduce sugar in your diet, but are struggling a bit with not having any in your coffee then these are absolutely spot on. Or, if like me you love some of the flavoured coffees that places like Costa sell, but find yourself spending way too much money on a daily ‘fancy’ coffee, then this is a great solution.