Friday, April 17, 2015

High Brew Coffee

After having tried High Brew's Double Espresso on its own, I decided to try and review the rest of the line up all at once and lump my thoughts into a single post. I got all 4 cans (including the Double Espresso) from a Target near Buffalo for $2.49 each.

Salted Caramel

This flavor has a medium brown color and pours with a skinny, tan layer of foam. The aroma reminds me of praline ice cream and lacks any coffee notes. It is very enjoyable to have the can right below your nose when you are working on the computer as sweet notes waft upwards and each time you inhale, you get a hint of sweetness.

The taste starts off sweet with very light hints of caramel and milk. A semi-bitter coffee flavor comes in quickly after and becomes the dominant one for a brief moment before the coffee and caramel and milk all blend into a bitter and slightly raunchy blend of flavors that also picks up a sweetener note from the added stevia. Remnants of the blend linger well into the finish. I can attribute the majority of it to the coffee, some to the added milk which tends to give iced coffee (I know this isn't technically one) a rancid-like aftertaste and the stevia, which puts the final nail in the off-putting blend of flavors. The saltiness comes in at the very end, mid-way through the aftertaste.

I cannot believe I am saying (OK, writing) this, but I think this coffee would have benefited from a bit more sugar and some more milk...or cream. And forget the stevia. This is what makes the odd and bitter blend even worse.

On the plus side, the coffee is very smooth and very easy to drink. That means that you can get through the off-putting flavor and get to the caffeine center.

Taste - 5.2/10

Double Chocolate Mocha

This variety has a very nice medium to dark brown color, similar to what you might get in a chain coffee shop. Like with the Salted Caramel, this one smells like an ice cream - a vanilla and chocolate blend. Coffee aromas are surprisingly absent.

The taste starts off a little bland, but quick enough chocolate comes in, followed by a very subtle coffee flavor blended with milk and...blagh....stevia!!!! This flavor suffers from the same raunchy blend of flavors thanks to the stevia and the coffee turning slightly bitter. The milk doesn't help it either, but at least it doesn't truly affect the flavor until the aftertaste, which also carries the remains of the stevia, some chocolate ice cream and coffee.

Halfway through the can I think I got used to the raunchiness because it didn't seem to bother me so much and the aftertaste tasted just a little better. But still, I don't think that using stevia with these kinds of drinks is a smart thing to do and yes, once again, I have to say that a bit more milk and sugar wouldn't hurt.

Taste - 5.3/10

Mexican Vanilla

The Mexican Vanilla one has a very interesting spiced aroma that reminds me of German gingerbread cookies. The taste starts off with a nice, bold coffee punch with subtle notes of vanilla and some ginger(?). For a moment I thought the raunchy taste won't be present, but it is. As soon as the milk and stevia come in after the coffee, the combination just turns into an odd, bitter-sweetener-milky mess. Unlike the previous 2 flavors, the raunchiness is not as intense and goes away a little quicker, leaving the bold taste of coffee with subtle vanilla notes and just a bit of sweetener.

The aftertaste is coffee-forward with a trail of vanilla and a quickly diminishing sweetener. This is probably my favorite one of these three flavors, but I would still be hesitant to buy it again. I would stick to the Double Espresso.

Taste - 6/10


Each of these cans contains 139 mg of caffeine. The effects resemble having a cup of coffee in the morning and are similar for all flavors.

I consumed each flavor of High Brew first thing in the morning after waking up (I lied at the start, I didn't try them all at once...muahahaha), when my mind was still slightly asleep. I felt a jolt that started to quickly focus the mind within 15 minutes of starting to drink each can of High Brew. Within another 5 minutes I was feeling a bit jittery, but that feeling always lasted for a few minutes before giving way to a smooth flow of energy that lasted for about 2 hours without a crash at the end.

Overall, the High Brew flavors all offered a great boost in energy, but some just lacked the enjoyable flavor. Would I buy them again? Well, I would probably buy the Double Espresso for sure.

Energy - 7.7/10

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