Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Review! Caffe Latte, Caramel Macchiato - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

Caffe Latte, Caramel Macchiato - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

Since I'm not much of a coffee drinker, I thought I would have my caffeine addicted boyfriend write up a review on this little caramel latte from H-mart.

If there’s one definitive fact I’ve learned from dating a foodie, it’s that even a simple snack can be a blog-worthy experience. While I may have never taken my relationship with candy or ice cream to the internet, there is one category of digestible delights I can’t help but indulge in – coffee. Half-jokingly referred to as obsessed, and self-admittedly referred to as addicted, coffee has been my go-to beverage for nearly a decade. Between working at Starbucks and living as a sleep-deprived college student, my pallet for caffeine has been thoroughly refined.

That’s why when Maria asked me to review a coffee drink for her Sometimes Foodie, I agreed without hesitation. Withholding my desire to knock back the beverage as soon as she handed it to me, I spent some time examining the rather interesting container. The top half of the plastic cup is decorated with a fairly standard brown background containing faint cursive scrawl that succeeds in giving off a foreign, old world appearance. Toward the bottom, the image fades into a photograph of a couple enjoying stereotypical, local coffee house activities. While the photo doesn’t particularly ruin the packaging, I can’t help but feel as if removing it and reversing the brown-white gradient would have made for a more visually appealing design.

The two most notable features of the cup are the logo and the top seal. The logo, which opts for the traditional Italian “Caffè Latte” as opposed to the Americanized “Cafè Latte”, stands out in bold contrast to the rest of the container. The stylized gold font against a red backdrop is definitely eye catching, and I really like how the top of the second “f” doubles as a diacritic mark. Turning to the top, we reach what is probably the best part of the entire package. The aluminum seal mimics the view from above of a caramel macchiato, my personal favorite amongst the pantheon of caffeinated drinks. Unique and creative, it was an amazing touch that I couldn’t stop marveling over with each sip.

Eager to begin, I attempted to remove the affixed straw only to find that it had been attached with an unnecessarily strong adhesive. Shredding it free, the plastic straw wasn’t extendable like a traditional “bendy straw”, but telescopic. Maria also pointed out that the edges were rounded off to prevent injury in the midst of sipping (has that actually ever happened to anyone?).

Once I finally got around to taking a taste, my immediate response was one of pleasant surprise. The smooth caramel sensation is unmistakably present in every mouthful, but doesn’t wash out the anticipated taste of espresso. As far as coffee is concerned, the gentle blend is made both smooth and approachable for first time coffee drinkers through a fair share of sweetened milk.  Slightly disappointing was the fact that both coffee and caramel carried the familiar tinge of “artificial flavoring”, but thankfully not enough to distract from the otherwise enjoyable drink. In fact, I managed to finish off the entire thing within minutes of aggressively unwrapping the straw.

Though it may not exactly stand up against a real macchiato from a corner coffee shop, I wouldn’t mind picking this up again. If you’re looking for caramel infused caffeine in a pinch, this beverage gets the job done nicely. Incidentally, if you’re a fan of the Starbucks Bottled Frappuccinos, you’ll more than appreciate the similarities between the two products. With a lighter container and lower price, if you have the opportunity to sample Maeil’s caramel macchiato it’s certainly worth a try.

Well, what do you think? I might make this a regular thing, since I know a lot of people out there drink coffee, and I tend to buy a lot of coffee related gifts for him, so let me know if this is something you'd like to see more of in the future!
Photos © Maria Smith
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