I came across the Boaters range in my local Julian Graves store and decided to buy a couple of flavours to see what they're like. I can tell you that the drinks are yummy and I'm totally converted to these.. I used to be a hot-chocolate girl, but now I'm hooked on chocolate coffee! Not only do Boaters do a Rich Hazlenut flavour, but they sell a whole range of different flavours...
The Boaters coffee that I first bought is part of the 'Chocolate Bar Cappuccino' range. The coffee comes wrapped in foil sachets and packaged in nicely coloured boxes. The good thing about the individual sachets is that there's no need to measure the amount of powder because it does it all for you, the coffee remains fresh, and there's no risk of spillages because the powder is contained within the little packets. One box of coffee contains 6 sachets of coffee powder, and 6 mini-sachets of chocolate topping... and here's the exciting bit... it comes complete with a mini heart stencil for your chocolate powder, which is so cute! The whole concept is very well thought out and I was quite impressed when I got my coffee home for the first time and discovered all of this!
~~~Making a cappuccino~~~
As it says on the back of the box, you empty a sachet into a cup add 150ml of hot but not boiling water (this is important as I found when I added boiling water the taste was spoilt and it didn't go very frothy) and keep stirring until very frothy. The cappuccino does go very frothy, but I find it extremely difficult to get rid of all of the lumps of powder! Even now, a few weeks later, I still haven't had my first cup of non-lumpy coffee! Anyway, the drink becomes lovely and frothy, and I find that by adding some milk it makes it even more creamy and tasty. The chocolate powder topping adds a nice finishing touch, although the stencil is a bit awkward to use at first! - It just takes a bit of practice :oP The drink is quite quick and easy to make, which is handy for early morning starts.
My favourite flavour is the Chocolate Caramel flavour because it's lovely and sweet and creamy, which I know wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea (!) but the Chocolate Nut flavour has a slightly more traditional bitter coffee taste, and so does the Rich Hazlenut. All of these flavours are delicious, however, it's just a matter of your preference. I add half a tea spoon of sugar to my drinks to make them slightly sweeter, so you can really adapt them to your personal taste. Other flavours include Nougat, and Chocolate Waffer which I think sound rather interesting! I must tell you that these drinks taste much more like hot chocolate, than coffee (which is probably why I like them!) so I wouldn't reccommend them to anyone who enjoys a good cup of strong coffee. They have a much sweeter taste, and I even know of children who drink this coffee, which gives you an idea of the sweeter taste, because children rarely drink real coffee. Even though these drinks may not appeal to everyone, I'd definitely recommend giving them a go.. you may be surprised.
According to the box, each (15g) serving contains 62 calories, 2.1g fat (all of which is saturated fat) and 8.6g of sugar. I think these values are fairly standard for this type of chocolaty drink.
These Boaters coffee drinks are suitable for vegetarians.
A cup of Chocolate Bar Cappuccino is lovely and creamy.. and it's really nice snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of caramel. I think my coffee drinks will be invaluable during the cold winter months! Also, these drinks are relatively sweet, so are suitable for people who don't like the bitter taste of coffee. They taste more chocolatey than of coffee.
As I said before, the main problem is the difficulty I have when mixing the powder with the hot water.. It seems impossible to get rid of the lumps, and if you come across a lump in the drink it can be quite unpleasant! I have tried several techniques to over-come this issue. Firstly, I've tried to mix the powder with a small amount of water of milk to form a smooth paste before adding the hot water, which did seem to help a little. Also, I've tried sieving the powder to get rid of any lumps, which didn't seem to make much difference! It's not really that much of a problem, but it can be difficult making the drinks smooth.
~~~Value for money~~~
In my local Julian Graves I paid £2.25 for each box of coffee, which contained 6 sachets in each. This works out to be about 38p per serving, which I think is quite a lot, but I suppose if you compare this to the cost of cappuccinos in coffee shops, then it's not that bad really. However, I think it may be cheaper to buy the flavoured coffee in pots rather than sachets. Despite this, the packaging is lovely and each box comes complete with a really cute heart stencil for your chocolate topping. I think the boxes would make lovely presents - I'm definitely going to get some for Christmas presents.
~~~Where can I buy Boaters Coffee Products?~~~
Julian Graves sell a vast Boaters range and they have a website which enables you to search for your nearest store. Also, you can visit the Boaters website for information on their products. (I haven't given the websites because I wasn't sure if it counted as advertising.. which isn't allowed. I'll try and find out and maybe add the sites onto the review at a later point).
As well as Smooth Hazelnut, Boaters does a wide range of flavoured coffees. The most popular flavours are available in 100g jars of instant coffee granules - Irish Cream, Hazelnut and Vanilla. These are available in supermarkets such as Tescos. There is also a slightly wider range of flavours available in small jars - I have had Double Chocolate and Toffee - and these are harder to find. I bought mine in Julian Graves speciality food shop. Boaters provides it's widest range in "real" coffee - beans or already ground. On the website www.boaters.co.uk there are lists of the full range. Some of the flavours available include Brandy, Malt Whisky, Pecan Pie, Death by Chocolate, as well as Strawberries and Cream! These can be ordered from the website, but the more popular flavours can be bought in some shops as well - again Julian Graves provided me with several of these flavours. Now, down to the coffee itself. I have tried several of the flavours so I will review those that I have experienced. The Double Chocolate Instant coffee was the first flavoured instant coffee I have had. After piercing the foil lid there was a wonderful chocolately smell - stronger and richer than the aroma of hot chocolate drinks. When I added boiling water the smell got stronger, but it faded slightly by the time I came to drink it. I must say that there was not much of a chocolate flavour to the coffee itself. I was expecting more of a cocoa kind of taste, but it was pretty much coffee with a chocolate kind of aroma. I enjoyed the coffee but it wasn't what I expected - particulaly at the price (around £2.50 for small 300g jar!). I have also had the Irish Cream Instant coffee, this time from a supermarket so cheaper at £2.99 for a 100g jar. Again a very strong smell, slightly of Whisky, but not much of a taste. The "real" coffee is suitable for most coffee machines and filters. I have mine in a cafetiere as I'm the only one drinking it
. They are about £3.99 where I get them. I have only tried flavours available in my local speciality shop as yet, but I hope to branch out into the exotic flavours available online before too long. The coffee comes in cardboard packages in different colours depending on the flavours, and with little cartoons and stories eg. Malt Whisky has pictures of bagpipes and the instructions are written with a Scots accent. The first flavour I tried was Sticky Toffee Coffee. Opening the foil package there was an almost overwhelming smell of toffee - OK I did almost have my nose in the packet but it was strong! It was delicious, but some might have found it a bit sickly. Adding water increased the aroma, but there was still not much taste to the coffee itself. The aroma and taste to the coffee was stronger than the instant granules though - as is usually the case with "real" coffee. Other flavours I have had are French Vanilla, Irish Cream, Mocha Orange (mmm - smelt like Terry's Chocolate Oranges!) and Double Chocolate. All were essentially the same - delicious aroma, not much flavouring to the coffee. Overall Boaters does lovely coffee. If you are looking for something different to try then they do a great range of exotic flavours. The smell alone is what I buy them for - the coffee is fine, nicer than your average instant coffee and good cafetiere coffee but not much more to the taste. The aroma though is worth waking up for!
I tend to keep a selection of coffees at home because of the variety of visitors I have (Americano for relaxing, Columbian for entertaining, Hot Lava Java/Rocket Fuel for working, and bog standard Nescafé for Jehovahs witnesses and double glazing salesmen) So when I saw the Boaters range in Tesco (with a cute little 'smell me' button for the Hazlenut) I thought I'd give it a shot. I bought the Hazlenut and the Vanilla, and I have to say, I'm impressed. My normal coffee is 2 sugars + milk. With this range that really isn't necessary, and in fact it tastes better black without sugar (a definite rarity in the Instant world) The hazlenut smells absolutely delicious (it really does smell like the little button in Tesco - take the first sniff as soon as you pop the seal...mmmmmmm) It's ideal for relaxing after a hard days work - smooth and mellow, yet sharp enough to remind you that it's not cheap. From the powder itself, the vanilla is a little more sickly, but it mellows out when made. This is a definite Saturday morning drink - you want something pleasant to wake you up, rather than the weekday jolt I get with Hot Lava Java. If you normally take sugar in your drinks, leave it out of the vanilla - this one really is sweet enough on it's own. These are a definite acquired taste - other people have tried them and were distinctly unimpressed - but if you like variety in your coffee, I'd say it's worth a try. My personal favorite is the hazlenut, if only because of that wonderful aroma.
The idea of instant coffee usually makes my eyes water - I've just got too used to real cafetiere coffee to think about drinking freeze-dried gravel from Nescafe or Maxwell House. Why did I buy this Hazelnut stuff? It must have been temporary madness, and I'm never going to again. Now, I've given the coffee two stars because, admittedly, the aroma is interesting and quite pleasant. The hazelnut flavouring wasn't too overcoming and could have made for a nice taste. But this is one of its very few positive points. The stuff is expensive by instant standards at over £2. When I drank the stuff for the first time, I was already sympathetic because it is of course instant, so it can't match up to ground coffee. The first sip went okay...mmm interesting flavour. However, halfway through the cup the flavour just became disgusting. I can't explain it apart from maybe that the artificial hazelnut flavour built up and vindictively assaulted my tastebuds - it really was foul. I later tried the coffee again without any milk or sugar to see if it was just me sweetening the cup too much, but it wasn't. I ended up giving the virtually untouched jar to a friend who like the aroma too, but I warned them several times about drinking the stuff :). Ah well, I'm £2 down but maybe it'll be their cup of...err...:)
As I drink my coffee black with no sugar I usually find instant coffees horrible unless they have milk but find it often tastes just like something nasty and burnt. It's such a bind making up fresh coffee but usually there is no choice. I enjoy flavoured coffees by firms such as Boaters and was pleased to discover that they make a Rich Hazelnut flavour in an instant coffee as well as Irish Cream and a yet to be found Smooth Vanilla. I have tried the Irish Cream but prefer the Hazelnut as it is just like a fresh coffee and very pleasant drunk black without sugar if that's your thing. It is made in the same way as any other instant coffee and reasonably strong so one spoonful is all that is needed, unless you need a boost. The smell when you open the jar is great and it does not taste burnt possibly due to the freeze drying. If you like flavoured coffee then give this a go. I'm really looking forward to trying out the Vanilla when I can find it. They now also do a Variety Stick Box containing 24 sachets, that is 8 of the three instant coffees they make and it costs £1.79 but I have not seen this yet. It is rather expensive but I think worth it as it lasts a long while and you've got to treat yourself after all. It can be found at most Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose supermarkets or can be ordered from their web site.