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Taste test: fat-free liquid coffee creamers

Nutritionists say we can save a lot of calories and fat by cutting down on the extras we pour into our morning cup of coffee. But, if we have to sacrifice taste, that's a deal breaker and a diet breaker for many of us. Our panelists tried six brands of French vanilla-flavored, fat-free, low-calorie liquid coffee creamers to see how they stacked up against the full-fat, full-calorie mixers. We added the creamers to cups of black coffee in the amounts specified by the manufacturers. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/serving Hannaford

One tablespoon

Winn-Dixie One tablespoon Cremel One tablespoon
Calories/Fat/Fiber 25 / 0g / 0g 15 / 0g / 0g 125 / 0g / 0g
Sugar/Sodium Carbohydrates/Protein 5g / 0mg 5g / 0g 4g / 10mg 5g / 0g 5g / 0mg 5g / 0g
Judges' comments The off-white color made judges appreciate Sweetbay's store brand of creamer. They liked the natural look, the smooth texture and the mild flavor that did not overpower their coffee. "It's very nice — not too sweet," said one judge. "It allowed the perfectly brewed coffee to shine through without a polar bear color." Mild flavor also was a plus for this store brand of refrigerated creamer. "This lets the coffee shine through," said one panelist. "Flavored coffees often pronounce themselves too loudly, but this one is A-OK!" A couple of judges said they needed to add a bit extra of the Winn-Dixie creamer to get the vanilla taste they desired. This was the only liquid creamer that requires refrigeration only after opening. But we refrigerated it from the start to make the comparison with the other brands. The Cremel creamer looked a bit like soy milk to some judges, and tasted very sweet. The sugar-loving panelists were its biggest fans. "It's gentle, like a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon on the way home from the beach," said one judge. "It really gives off a feeling of well-being."
Shopping Information $2.89 for a 32-ounce container from Sweetbay. $2.89 for a 32-ounce container. $1.98 for a 16.9-ounce container from Walmart.
Product/serving Hannaford

One tablespoon

Winn-Dixie One tablespoon Cremel One tablespoon
Calories/Fat/Fiber 25 / 0g / 0g 15 / 0g / 0g 125 / 0g / 0g
Sugar/Sodium Carbohydrates/Protein 5g / 0mg 5g / 0g 4g / 10mg 5g / 0g 5g / 0mg 5g / 0g
Judges' comments The off-white color made judges appreciate Sweetbay's store brand of creamer. They liked the natural look, the smooth texture and the mild flavor that did not overpower their coffee. "It's very nice — not too sweet," said one judge. "It allowed the perfectly brewed coffee to shine through without a polar bear color." Mild flavor also was a plus for this store brand of refrigerated creamer. "This lets the coffee shine through," said one panelist. "Flavored coffees often pronounce themselves too loudly, but this one is A-OK!" A couple of judges said they needed to add a bit extra of the Winn-Dixie creamer to get the vanilla taste they desired. This was the only liquid creamer that requires refrigeration only after opening. But we refrigerated it from the start to make the comparison with the other brands. The Cremel creamer looked a bit like soy milk to some judges, and tasted very sweet. The sugar-loving panelists were its biggest fans. "It's gentle, like a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon on the way home from the beach," said one judge. "It really gives off a feeling of well-being."
Shopping Information $2.89 for a 32-ounce container from Sweetbay. $2.89 for a 32-ounce container. $1.98 for a 16.9-ounce container from Walmart.

Also sampled: Coffee-mate ($1.78 for 16 ounces from Walmart); Great Value ($1.50 for 16 ounces from Walmart); and International Delight ($2.09 for 16 ounces from Sweetbay).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Taste test: fat-free liquid coffee creamers 01/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 28, 2011 3:30am]

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