Taste test: Instant cappuccino

Don't want to wait in line at the coffee shop or pay big prices for a frothy, hot cappuccino? Mix up a cup at home — no fancy machine necessary. Taster's Choice found five brands of instant cappuccino mixes on the market. Some were pretty tasty, though our panelists still recommended the local coffee shop for cappuccino aficionados. In a pinch, these would work just fine. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/ score (out of 100)

Hills Bros. Double Mocha/65

Folgers Mocha Chocolate/63

Swiss Miss Mocha Cappuccino/42

How'd it look?

Hills Brothers

Like hot chocolate

Folgers

Rich

Swiss Miss

Dark and thin

Judges' comments

Hills Brothers

Hills Bros.' cappuccino was chocolatey, thick and rich. "It's like liquid brownie — yum and yum!" said one judge. Another said it was smooth with a nice kick at the end. "A drink of this is like a stroll in St. Mark's Square and trying not to get my sneakers wet." Judges liked the creamy texture, saying it would be perfect on a cold or rainy night. Only one panelist was turned off by the flavor, saying it had a high-fructose corn syrup taste.

Folgers

Judges described the Folgers cappuccino as real. One detected a hint of hazelnut in the flavor. Another thought it was almond. "It's slightly bitter but goes down very smooth and reminds me of a good cup of hot chocolate," said a panelist who liked the color and the foamy top of the Folgers drink. It reminded one judge of the "milk after a bowl of Count Chocula cereal," but he finished his cup nonetheless.

Swiss Miss

The Swiss Miss cappuccino was the most instant-looking of the drinks. It was a bit too watery for most of the judges, but the flavor was decent. They liked the color and the froth, but complained a bit about an aspartame-like aftertaste.

Would they buy?

Hills Brothers

Three of the four judges said yes.

Folgers

Two of the four judges said yes.

Swiss Miss

Two of the four judges said yes.

Shopping information

Hills Brothers

$3.79 for a 1-pound container from Sweetbay.

Folgers

$3.69 for a 1-pound container from Sweetbay.

Swiss Miss

$2.79 for a box of eight 1-ounce envelopes from Winn-Dixie.

Also Sampled: Cafe Bustelo Mocha ($3.99 for five 1-ounce servings from Winn-Dixie, 32 points) and General Foods International Cafe Mocha ($1.99 for five .82-ounce packets at Sweetbay, 25 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, 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.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Don't want to wait in line at the coffee shop or pay big prices for a frothy, hot cappuccino? Mix up a cup at home — no fancy machine necessary. Taster's Choice found five brands of instant cappuccino mixes on the market. Some were pretty tasty, though our panelists still recommended the local coffee shop for cappuccino aficionados. In a pinch, these would work just fine. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)


Hills Bros.

Double Mocha/65


Folgers

Mocha Chocolate/63


Swiss Miss Mocha

Cappuccino/42
How'd it look? Like hot chocolate.Rich.Dark and thin.
Judges' comments Hills Bros.' cappuccino was chocolatey, thick and rich. "It's like liquid brownie — yum and yum!" said one judge. Another said it was smooth with a nice kick at the end. "A drink of this is like a stroll in St. Mark's Square and trying not to get my sneakers wet." Judges liked the creamy texture, saying it would be perfect on a cold or rainy night. Only one panelist was turned off by the flavor, saying it had a high fructose corn syrup taste.Judges described the Folgers cappuccino as real. One detected a hint of hazelnut in the flavor. Another thought it was almond. "It's slightly bitter but goes down very smooth and reminds me of a good cup of hot chocolate," said a panelist who liked the color and the foamy top of the Folgers drink. It reminded one judge of the "milk after a bowl of Count Chocula cereal," but he finished his cup nonetheless.The Swiss Miss cappuccino was the most instant looking of the drinks. It was a bit too watery for most of the judges, but the flavor was decent. They liked the color and the froth, but complained a bit about an aspartamelike aftertaste.
Would they buy? Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.79 for a 1-pound container

from Sweetbay.
$3.69 for a 1-pound container

from Sweetbay.
$2.79 for a box of eight 1-ounce envelopes from Winn-Dixie.
Also Sampled: Cafe Bustelo Mocha ($3.99 for five 1-ounce servings from Winn-Dixie, 32 points) and General Foods International Cafe Mocha ($1.99 for five .82-ounce packets from Sweetbay, 25 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, 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.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: Instant cappuccino 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 3:30am]

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