I am determined to find a diet or no sugar ice cream that I like! The quest continued with Starbucks Coffee No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie. From jump I was behind the eight ball with the coffee flavoring, but tastes can change right? Starbucks makes a premium ice cream that is usually the piece de resistance for coffee lovers. I would leave it up to Starbucks to make Sugar Free coffee ice cream great.
This flavor is a new flavor in the Starbucks line. The subtle "new" branded on the side of the container was not overly visible and that's ok. I am not asking for blinking neon lights spouting, "NEW, (bzzzz) NEW (flicker)." Since I often use coffee in my chocolate dessert recipes, I thought out of all the coffee flavors, I have the best chance at liking this one! Plus the brownies on the exterior of the container looked great along with the coffee beans and chocolate chunks.
I always peruse the side of the canister for the fat content, etc. Starbucks Coffee No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie has 32% of your DV for Saturated Fat and 22% of your Cholesterol. As for the fat, that seems average for premium ice cream. I thought I was done looking at the label when a big number popped out at me; 24% of your Dietary Fiber needs are in one serving of this ice cream. Holy cow! You can't find that quantity in some bran cereals! All I can say is if you are sensitive; please eat this near the facilities.
Let's talk about the tag line, "No Sugar Added Chocolate Brownie Chunks and Fudge Swirls in Creamy No Sugar Added Coffee Ice Cream." Now Starbucks must have a great reason for repeating No Sugar Added twice on their description along with having it stamped every three inches on their container. For me it was a bit overkill. Again, I do not have problems with sugar, so maybe I am not sensitive to the consumer who is and needs this information. (Tell me what you think!)
The ice cream was packed to the top with some light fudge swirls making an appearance early in the game. The ice cream was light mocha in color and there were two specks I believed were brownies peering out of the top layer. The smell coming from the container was definitely coffee. One thing you can bet you buttons on is that Starbucks coffee will have an extreme coffee aroma! The scooper met some resistance; this ice cream freezes well and is not airy.
Either I am acquiring a taste for coffee ice cream or the flavor of this Starbucks Coffee ice cream is not as strong as the others. None the less, this was coffee flavored ice cream! The brownies were not chunked, rather small slivers that did not have much of a taste. They do not taste fudgy or chocolatey for that matter. They were mooshy like a paste and had a processed aftertaste to them. I would not call these brownies. The fudge swirl was limited and not very evident throughout the container. I could not get a good taste of the fudge by itself. I had to settle for a collective taste of coffee and fudge. I do believe I detected a slight fudgey taste.
The texture of the ice cream, and I have never experienced this before, was slick. It was slippery ice cream. Is this a result of the Splenda? I did not prefer this texture at all. I could tell that there was something different about this ice cream, but could I tell it was sugar free? A little. The Splenda mixed with the Starbucks process of making ice cream is the closest I have tasted to real sugar in ice cream.
Splenda is an ingredient that I have not come to buy into yet. However, it does offer those who can not have sugar a great substitute. I just think non-sugar-eaters should have the same great taste that sugar-eaters get when having ice cream! I can honestly say, "We're not there yet." I do have to admit that Starbucks Coffee No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie is the best at disguising that sugar substitute taste! (Although, there is that "no sugar aftertaste"...but not as much.)
Apparently, "No Sugar Added" is code for "No Flavor Added."
I fully admit that I'm the kind of guy that likes sugar. I like candy and sweet wines and, of course, ice cream. My first thought when seeing that Kris had us tasting Starbucks "No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream was, "This should be interesting." My second thought was that Kris, quite the sugar-lover and coffee-hater, was finally sacrificing for all those fruit ice creams she had us tasting months ago.
The Starbucks "No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream container is attractive, just like all the other Starbucks containers. The imagery of coffee beans, brownies, and fudge chunks had me wondering if my first impression of the ice cream was false. Then, I saw the "Sweetened with Splenda" logo. The jury is still out with me as far as Splenda goes. I've hade a couple of things sweetened with Splenda that tasted okay, but I've had many more that didn't. Combine that with the "Sugar Alcohol" listed in the nutrition facts and I was becoming even more skeptical of this ice cream. When I read the description and saw the words "No Sugar Added" four times (more than enough to get the point across), I was ready to just get this tasting going.
When we opened the container, the ice cream was full to the top. However, the container also was not sealed. The Starbucks "No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream looked pretty much as I expected it to and it actually looked pretty good. I could see a swirl and some small chunks of fudge, so I was wondering, again, if my first impression was wrong.
We took a scoop of the ice cream and I was again intrigued by how good it appeared. However, that was where my any false impressions of Starbucks "No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream ended. The first taste of the ice cream had just a hint of coffee taste (Strike one). I couldn't even find any brownie in the first taste, nor many more after that. When I finally did find some brownie, it had a weak and very fake taste to it (Strike two). Finally, hoping that the fudge bits would make up for the coffee and brownie in the title "Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream, I hunted them down. Unfortunately, all the "chunks" were pea-sized bits of fudge (or less) that really didn't have any taste to them (Strike three, yer' out!). There were bigger "chunks" of fudge as we dug deeper into the container, but none of them were any better tasting than the others.
In the end, I was very disappointed with Starbucks "No Sugar Added Coffee Fudge Brownie" ice cream. I didn't have very high expectations and this ice cream managed to be even worse than expected. The lack of taste in this ice cream made me crave the sugar. I normally like Starbucks ice cream, but I will be sticking to the "sugar added" versions in the future and leaving the Splenda-replacing "No Sugar Added" versions to those who need it.