The Good: Easy to prepare, Decent initial taste
The Bad: Fairly expensive (especially in prepackaged tubes), Environmental impact of packaging
The Basics: Those used to regular brewed coffee might be initially surprised by the strength of Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee . . . until that taste fades.
Since I reviewed the Taster's Choice Original Gourmet blend instant coffee (that's here!) I have been hesitant to review more instant coffees. Even so, I felt the desire to review something new and I went with the Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee. The House Blend is an interesting drink, but not one that has the enduring taste most coffee drinkers are likely to find satisfying.
Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee is part of Taster's Choice's new premium instant coffee line and one suspects that the company is trying to compete with the flavors from the International blends instant coffee line. This mix now comes in plastic containers easily found in the grocery store, though for my review, I was provided with premeasured samples which each create a 6 oz. cup of coffee.
Ease Of Preparation
Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee mix is exceptionally simple to make. The single serving is the packet and six oz. of water. There is no measuring of the product involved, though with the canisters one needs to measure out the Tablespoon of instant coffee. This is a very simple beverage to prepare.
The top of the single-serve packet has a perforated edge and one need simply tear open the top, which is quite easy, and pour the contents of the packet into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour hot water - near boiling, but not actually boiling as boiling water cooks the ingredients as opposed to simply dissolving them - over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of coffee granules visible in the water. The beverage will have a dark brown color to it and it will be fairly translucent.
The House Blend smells like a very weak cup of coffee, with no distinction outside the aroma of coffee beans. The scent is neither distinctive, nor inviting.
This prepares the consumer well for the cup of coffee they get with the House Blend . . . except that it is not weak. I was thoroughly prepared to dismiss this beverage when I smelled it, but when I sipped it, it tasted refreshingly dark. The instant taste one gets when one lets it flow over their tongue is a smoky, robust flavor that tastes like regular brewed coffee.
Unfortunately, that taste does not last. After approximately three seconds, a strong, watery aftertaste takes over and mutes the coffee taste. My tongue felt dry and ultimately, the House Blend left me feeling more thirsty. The aftertaste lasts several minutes longer than the initial flavor of the coffee.
The use of sugar or cream with the House Blend instant coffee instantly overwhelms what flavor the coffee initially had, making it taste either like sugar or milk. This is a poor instant coffee to attempt to garnish.
Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee is a coffee mix and therefore is entirely lacking in nutritional value. There are no calories or fat in this drink, though there is caffeine. How much is a bit of a mystery to me. This is not a beverage intended to be a health drink or one one might survive on.
So long as one gets Taster's Choice House Blend instant coffee mix in the packet, it ought to stay usable. Visiting my local supermarket, most of the packages of this instant coffee had an expiration date over three years away. One assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The packets, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are terribly wasteful and expensive. The foil/plastic wrappers are not recyclable anywhere I've been.
Cleanup is very easy as well. If the product spills while dumping it into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into coffee, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up.
Taster's Choice makes a decent House Blend that would be better if it was darker and the taste lasted longer. Even so, as a staple instant coffee, the House Blend is not bad, just average for an instant coffee.
For other beverages, please visit my reviews of:
Bigelow Fruit & Almond Tea
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Green Lemon Jasmine Tea
Land O'Lakes Chocolate Graham Hot Cocoa
For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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