A few months back I picked up a Nature’s Coffee Kettle in Hot Cocoa to try out. It got forgotten, stuck in my hydration bladder pocket in my pack when I came across it last night. I was going out today with Teresa on a hike so I added it in to try.
The concept of the “Kettle” is that the drink (or soup) comes contained in a ready to use vessel, which is similar to say, a Mountain House package. It is a 4 serving package, 8 ounces per serving of prepared drink.
Simply boil 4 cups water:
Rip across the top and open the zipper and then hit a snag – well I didn’t realize when I packed my Primus AluTech 1.2 pot that I needed a spout (the 1.2 is round). The opening of the zipper is not big and worse, has a funnel neck so you have to pour slowly and carefully. With my round pot I was kind of in a jam. I ended up using one of my mugs to scoop out half the water into the bag, then poured the rest. Lesson learned, in this case I should have carried a different pot – such as the Primus AluTech 1.4 we reviewed earlier this year or one of my favorite backpacking tea kettles. After getting all the water in I carefully zipped up the zipper and then realized snag #2. The bag was freakishly hot. I was using boiling water – which most hikers do when making drinks – and the bag was letting off the heat. I couldn’t shake it, especially as I never shake anything with near boiling water in it without my hand making sure the ziptop doesn’t leak/blow open!! So I let it sit for a couple minutes and in the cool weather it cooled down enough to handle. Then I shook it to dissolve and mix up the hot cocoa.
And I am sure I would be chided for using boiling water where the directions state “hot water” – so why did I? If like most, hot drinks are great as you needn’t treat or filter your water – just boil and make. As well….your drink stays hotter in typical cool times of the day (morning and night). So do be very, very careful and consider handling the bag with your gloves on.
On a good note the pouring spout on the bag worked perfectly. The cut out handle allowed easy one-hand pouring and the screw on cap kept it from spilling. Taste-wise I’d rank it with most instant cocoas. It was thick, with a velvety texture, on the sweet side. Kids will like it quite a bit. The cocoa also stayed hot in mid 40’s for our entire lunch, where a good 30 minutes passed.
As a novelty item, a gift, car camping or an addition to a bug out kit it is neat but at about $1.87 a serving it isn’t something I could see buying a lot of IMO. The cost for me is the barrier – simply because I am 2/3 the way to a grande latte at that point 😉 Still, it is a neat idea and has potential.