Product review: International Delight Iced Coffee

I signed up as a product reviewer with BzzAgent – an agency that specializes in social media and word of mouth marketing. It’s a great way for me to get informed about new products that enter the market that I might not be aware about. I was recently selected to take part in a campaign for International Delight iced coffee. I am a huge coffee snob and iced coffee isn’t something that I usually keep in my fridge (I usually buy it as a treat when I’m out and about) but it’s always good to know about products that are out in the market, especially for people who really enjoy their iced coffee in the summer.

A 1.89L carton of International Delight iced coffee retails for $4.99 which is a better deal than any iced coffee that you would buy from a coffee shop such as Starbucks, Tim Hortons or McDonalds (even with their $1 summer drink menu). It’s also more economical than the Starbuck’s bottled frappuccino ($2.99 for a 498mL) that has been in grocery stores for several years.

But despite this information, taste is still what ultimately matters.

I brought the three flavours of International Delight iced coffee to work and shared it among my work colleagues – it was a nice change from the usual 3pm coffee break.  Here is the information about the iced coffees we sampled.

International Delight iced coffee ($0.99/375mL/12 oz)

  • Vanilla
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Mocha

In order to make this an informed taste test, we also compared it against another grocery store counterpart – Starbucks bottled frappuccino.

Starbucks bottled frappuccino ($2.25/375 mL/12 oz)

  • Vanilla
  • Mocha

Starbucks_BottledFrapps

Some taste testers even put it up against homemade.

Homemade iced coffee ($0.35/375 mL/12 oz)

The Results:

My colleagues and I tried each of the three flavours and all of us noticed that the coffee flavour wasn’t obvious. The International Delight iced coffee tasted more like a “coffee-flavoured beverage” than iced coffee. Of the three flavours, vanilla was the favourite. It was the closest in taste to what we’d expect in an iced coffee and it didn’t have the bitterness that we noticed in the mocha flavour or the overly sweet, artificial butterscotch flavour that we noticed in the caramel macchiato flavour.

InternationalDelights_coffeeBreak

The Starbucks bottled frappuccino had a stronger coffee flavour and, as a result, was preferred by the majority of the taste testers. The homemade iced coffee tasted the weakest out of all the samples which made us appreciate the fact that making perfect iced coffee isn’t as easy as most people assume.

Despite the higher cost, my colleagues and I chose the Starbucks bottled frappuccino over the International Delight iced coffee because it tasted better. We also appreciated the fact that it’s sold in a smaller container (a 405 mL glass bottle versus a 1.89 L carton). We felt that a 1.89 L carton would be difficult to get through.

We thought that  the International Delight iced coffee would be a good base for making frappuccinos so we decided to test it out. We took 1 part ice, 2 parts iced coffee and whirled them together in a blender.

InternationalDelight_frappucinos

It tasted great! Actually, it tasted even better as a frappuccino!

The Bottom Line:

I would buy iced coffee from a coffee shop (because I have it as an occasional treat). If I were to have it at home I would choose the Starbucks bottled frappuccino. If I wanted to make frappuccinos for a large party, I would use the International Delight iced coffee.

Interesting note about the caffeine content:

Both the International Delight iced coffee and Starbucks bottled frappuccino don’t have as much caffeine (76 mg/8 oz) compared to brewed coffee (100-160 mg/8 oz). So if you’re used to getting your caffeine fix from brewed coffee, these iced coffees might not cut it. Check out this chart on Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for more information.