When you think of instant coffee, what comes to mind? A scoop of dry, tan-ish crystals that you dig out of the cupboard that may or may not have been sitting up there since the Clinton administration aka the last time your coffee brewer broke? Or maybe you are more familiar with the fancy coffeehouse brands that flummox your never ending efforts to open until you resort to a knife? Heaven knows, that’s not dangerous, especially before your morning coffee.
I admit to loving coffee a wee too much. Moderation is NOT the key here, no matter what anyone says. So when Sarah at TrailCooking.com handed me a box of Fair Trade certified Jiva Coffee Cubes to test, I will admit I was excited. Here was something new on the instant coffee front.
It’s a cube. A small tidy, easy-to-open cube of caffeinated goodness that uses panela, an unrefined cane sugar, for sweetener. I’ve been taking separate packets of sugar along with me on my backpacking trips along with dry creamer. Not my favorite thing to do. This bypasses that and comes in multiple flavors, such as vanilla, hazelnut, & mocha (5 varieties in total). There is a classic and a strong version of the non-flavored coffee cubes. Yes, I drank the strong first. They are a bit hard to break in half, but judging by the preparation instructions, even the folks at Jiva know that everyone is different in their preference of brew strength, and I felt I was still testing to recommendations by using 1 ½ cubes per 8oz cup of water.
I enjoy my coffee best with creamer and was surprised that the Jiva coffee cubes were just dandy by themselves. I still wanted to see if I could get away from the commercial dry creamer I usually carry. I often have dry milk along for other recipes, so I used 1/6th cup dry milk with the mocha cube to about 8oz of water. It came out the strength of a single shot grande mocha and I have been definitely missing that flavor on the trail. I think a cube of the strong would have added the necessary punch for the way I normally drink my mochas, but I was out. Imagine that.
Even if you aren’t a backpacker and just really like the idea of having coffee available everywhere you go, throw a few in your purse, your briefcase or my favorite spot, the glove box. Throw in a few of the hot chocolate and caramel hot chocolate cubes, too. You can never, ever have too much of a good thing! (PS: Sarah says she really loves adding the hot cocoa cubes in with the coffee cubes for a double treat)
FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.
Dani Hendrickson lives on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington State.