Monday, February 20, 2012
I was hoping for something different with the Valero/Diamond Shamrock/ Road Runner's private label brand, Cibolo Mountain. I saw they were for sale last time I was pumping gas, and thought they looked good enough from the picture on top of the pump to give it a try. In terms of a name for a brand, I found Cibilo Mountain to be one of the more unique monikers - enough to have to try some. Maybe there was a spot in Kenya or down in peru where they got their coffee called Cibilo Mountain. Maybe this was a special coffee that could only be found in a particular area - like Kona coffee. Maybe it was a happy place where coffee growers and convenience stores live as one.
Turns out, according to Google Maps, there is only one Cibilo in the world, near Valero's headquarters in San Antonio. There was even a Valero station in Cibolo, Texas I called to set me straight. While the workers at that station were very nice (and helped me on the phone at what sounded like a busy rush hour), they assured me that there are no connections between their little place and the coffee they sell.
Undeterred, I called Valero HQ and asked where this famed Cibilo Mountain range is. Turns out, it only exists in the hearts and minds of the Valero employees who came up with the name. There was a Cibilo creek near them, but since there coffee crows on mountains, and there are about as many mountains in Texas as there are Saguaro Cactus, they made the place up. Still, you would not guess that at all from the packaging, which does a great job in selling their product.
My only beef with their design is the lack of caffeine, which in reality most bottled coffee drinks do not do. Still, they do things right. The wide mouth bottle make them easy to drink when driving, and for being a standard glass bottle with a twist off cap it has a pretty layout and does not muck around with unnecessary extras.
Unfortunately, the taste is as unimaginative as the name is creative. I even knew before going into the store that the flavors this was going to be available in were Vanilla, Coffee Creamer (original) and Mocha. Since this is supposed to be a store value brand you kind of expect them to not take chances. But this is Diamond Shamrock's brand, the ones behind the delicious U-Force energy drinks. They really could have gone for the unique flavors and I'll bet it would have worked. The vanilla is a sugar-free variety, so it is a little tiny bit different, but what I would not give for something UNIQUE with iced coffee flavors. Would it hurt to try anything besides mocha and vanilla? Even coffee creamers come in a dozen flavors.
Even more unfortunately, the taste were about as bland as the choices of flavor. Cibolo Mountain tasted like these were coffee drinks for people who don't like the flavor of coffee - as there was very little of it to be found. The Sugar-Free Vanilla tasted like a diet milkshake, and the Mocha tastes like chocolate milk. Even the original flavor barely had any coffee flavor in it It is like they were scared to make their coffee taste like coffee - nd did their best to hide it in a mess of coffee creamer and sweetness. This "premium coffee infused with milk" really could have used more coffee.
Now, if you don't think of this as a coffee drink, they taste just fine. They are milky and creamy, thick yet till easy to chug down. This is no better or worse than all the other bottled coffee drinks by just about every beverage company in the universe.
I was kind of surprised to find coffee inside the ingredients list, although this was buried in coffee creamer ingredients, preservatives, and a tonnage of things that were not actually coffee. Besides the lack of coffee and the high count of things which might or might not have come from a tree or a cow was all the calories in two of the flavors too. The Vanilla one was splenda fueled, so it had a much lower calorie count than the 320 the Mocha and regular flavors had packed into them. Mind you, the milk meant there was also some protein and a boatload of sugar. And by boatload, I mean a full 54 grams, or over 11 teaspoons. That means that for the 16 ounces of drink in here, over 2 of those ounces are made up of NOTHING BUT SUGAR!
Along with the high sugar, low coffee and high preservatives, there is very little buzz to be found in here either. I would never think of drinking this as a wake-up drink, like you would imagine a coffee should be. Instead, this drink felt tame enough to be drank by my nine-year-old. For a milky creamy cold drink full of calories and sugar this is a fine product, but it just feels disingenuous to call this a coffee drink
Labels: coffee energy drinks