The Good: Aroma, Tastes good
The Bad: Environmentally irresponsible packaging, Not a terribly sweet flavor.
The Basics: Ironically, Mott’s Caramel Hot Spiced Cider tastes better as it cools!
It seems like each day I am at work these days, I am looking for something to keep me warm. The boss is something of a cheapskate and he likes to keep the heat very low. To be fair to him, the building is far larger than it needs to be and raising the whole building to standard room temperature probably costs him a small fortune. But, as an employee, it is pretty irksome to sit in my cubical typing all day and have cold feet (even with two pairs of socks on!). My solution is to sit and drink hot drinks throughout the day, but especially in the morning when the building is at its coldest. Today’s beverage is the Mott’s Caramel Hot Spiced Cider instant juice drink.
The Caramel flavored hot cider comes on the heels of my trying the Original flavor (reviewed here!) and finding it to be predictably average. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me with the Caramel flavor is that it is only marginally better.
The Caramel Orchard Style hot cider mix is part of the Mott’s Hot Spiced Cider hot cider line. The mix comes in a .74 oz. sealed foil package and come fifteen per box. Each .74 oz. packet is a single serving and these bear a relatively high price tag virtually everywhere I have found them. They tend to run approximately seventy cents each on their own, which might not seem like a lot, but adds up quickly. This is a little more expensive when compared to other make-at-home products, but easily beats the pants off of prices one pays when getting a hot beverage like this at a restaurant.
Ease Of Preparation
The Mott’s Caramel Orchard Style hot cider mix is ridiculously simple to make. The cider is rather enduring and the packet my wife and I purchased last week did not have an expiration date on it (though there was a batch number of some sort). Because each packet is individually sealed and has some preservatives in it, this is likely to last virtually forever unopened. A single serving is the packet and six oz. of water. There is no measuring of the product involved!
As a result, preparation is ridiculously simple. The top of the envelope 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 apple cider powder visible in the water or giving resistance from the bottom. The beverage will have a translucent brown color to it.
Mott’s Hot Spiced Cider Caramel Orchard Style smells wonderfully buttery, like warm caramel. The beverage does not hint at sweetness in its aroma, which is likely to surprise some who might expect it to hint at its flavor through its steam. Instead, the Caramel hot cider lets the apple portion of the beverage breathe and that makes it intriguing enough to want to sip it.
Caramel Orchard Style hot cider tastes like warm apple cider with the dry aftertaste of caramel. In fact, it is only as the beverage is entering the throat that the fruit flavor subsides and the taste of caramel makes itself readily apparent. The flavor of this beverage is far less sweet than one might hope, but it still tastes very good. There is a light cinnamon flavor to it as well.
As the drink cools, the flavor of the apples comes out even more. Interestingly, the beverage also begins to taste quite a bit sweeter, which is nice for those disappointed by the initial taste that is more dry than flavorful. Either way, this is still a very good drink!
Mott’s Caramel Hot Spiced Cider is a hot cider mix and is not as nutritious as fresh cider, though the Caramel Orchard Style flavor could be far less nutritious than it is. While I am used to reviewing things like all natural teas where the ingredients are all easily pronounceable and recognizable, the Caramel Orchard Style hot cider has a few ingredients that sound more like a chemistry experiment than a food product. The primary ingredients are sugar, maltodextrin and natural and artificial flavors. Oddly, apple puree powder is the fifth ingredient, which might explain why it is not the most richly apple flavor in the world. I could find nothing in the ingredients that would make this not vegan compliant, though the package does note that this is produced at a facility that works with milk and soy.
Obviously, Caramel Orchard Style is pretty high in sugars. In each cup of Caramel Orchard Style Hot Cider mix, there are 80 calories, none of which are from fat. There is no cholesterol and the consumer gets 1% of their recommended daily allowance of sodium out of a single packet of this beverage! This is fairly balanced by contributing 100% of one’s needed daily Vitamin C!
So long as one leaves the Caramel Orchard Style Cocoa Classic powder in its packet, it ought to stay usable. 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. In bulk, I tend to prefer canisters which reduce such waste, but this cider does not appear to be available in that form.
Cleanup is very easy. 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 hot cider, 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.
The Mott’s Hot Spiced Cider Caramel Orchard Style is good, but not as flavorful I had hoped it would be when I purchased it. Still, it is sufficient to keep me warm at work and that goes a long way these days!
For other hot instant beverage mixes, please check out my reviews of:
Taster's Choice Hazelnut Instant Coffee
Fiorelli Rich Chocolate Hot Cocoa
Land O' Lakes Chocolate Graham Hot Chocolate
For other food and beverage reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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