Ask Cool Daddyccino Latte
Dear Cool Daddy: I enjoyed the run-down on the history of Dum Dum Pops flavors you did a while back…could you do the same for Coffee-mate Christmas flavors? …from Chringle, North Pole NY
Dear Chringle: I’ll do the best I can…unfortunately, Nestlé’s website doesn’t have the detailed flavor history that Dum Dums maker Spangler does. Now I say that regarding their “Seasonal” varieties…SEASONAL?…what’s gingerbread men and peppermint sticks have to do with any other holiday other than Christmas?…but it really applies to all their Coffee-mate flavors…there are so many, they seem to come and go willy-nilly, and being a straight black coffee drinker, I really don’t have the heart to try to chronicle them all. My suspicion is that they aren’t particularly proud of their flavor heritage, not the way Spangler is…the difference is, Dum Dum flavors go “on vacation” but then come back…once Coffee-mate flavors are deemed to not be selling enough, they disappear without a trace…and if I were Nestlé, I sure wouldn’t want to remind folks of when their favorite was taken away from them.
Therefore, I have had to reconstruct the Holiday Coffee-mates “by hand”…fortunately, I’ve been keeping reasonably close tabs on seasonal developments over the past 25 years or so, so here goes…
The earliest that I have is from Xmas 2004…3 flavors, Eggnog, Peppermint Mocha, and Gingerbread. The caption at the top does say “NEW”…and on the web, I can find no trace of them before ’04. In fact, one brief commentary on Coffee-mate creamers said the Seasonals were introduced in the “mid 2000s” so that would jibe. Pumpkin Spice was added in 2005 and Caramel Apple in 2008. This line-up of 5 was revamped in 2010 with the addition of Sugar and Spice, and the replacement of Eggnog and Gingerbread with Eggnog Latte and Gingerbread Latte. Now “latte” implies milk…in fact, it’s the Italian word for “milk”…so I suppose these really are slightly different new flavors…bearing in mind of course that all Coffee-mates are non-dairy. So that made 6 varieties…2 days of each for the 12 Days of Christmas, if you wanna look at it that way.
This year however, we’re up to 7…well, still only 6 flavors as they’ve added their first sugar-free Seasonal, Peppermint Mocha. Brown Sugar Maple Latte has replaced Caramel Apple, and Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie (does it stay warm if the coffee goes cold?) appears to be, without having tasted it, a slight tweak of Sugar and Spice.
Mind you, these are liquid Coffee-mate…they also make powdered, and I first noted 3 Seasonals in 2008: Gingerbread, Peppermint Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice. The Gingerbread has been discontinued this year. All in all, I’m less than impressed…it seems that what you can look forward to Xmas to Xmas is your favorite being ditched, and replaced with something else…or nothing else. Not the stuff “Holiday Traditions” are made of, nez pah?
But while we’re on the subject, what do you really know about that thing called Mocha? Something to do with chocolate, right? So here’s the skinny…Mocha is a city in Yemen. It is also the name of a type of coffee bean cultivated in the area, also known as Mocha Java. It was uncommon in Europe until the 1600s, and was said to have a slightly chocolately taste…altho Uncle Wiki says coffee grown in that area today does not. At any rate, the idea of mixing non-Mocha types of coffee with chocolate, to approximate the supposed taste of true Mocha coffee, developed in Europe…coffee and cocoa are typically not mixed in Yemen.
But why does Coffee-mate call it Peppermint Mocha instead of Peppermint Chocolate? I mean, it’s made to be mixed with coffee (altho some people do drink it “plain”)…so why would they mix in more coffee with the chocolate (to make the chocolate “mocha”)…along of course with the peppermint? Well, they probably don’t mix in a coffee flavor…they just call it “mocha” because it sounds fancier and/or they are ignorant. That’s the educated guess of a black coffee diehard who never met a Belgian bruléeccino he liked…altho I did lose my Starbucks “cherry” at Logan Airport in Boston this Spring. I had my first true espresso, and it was pretty good, but the portion surprisingly small, even tho I knew espresso isn’t traditionally served by the thermos 😉 😉 I could have have 6 of them…but had only the the one.
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