As much as I like soy milk, I’ve never been able to bring myself to add it to my morning coffee. My lactose intolerance isn’t so bad that I can’t have a splash of milk in my cup of Ethiopia Sidamo at Starbucks. At home, there’s usually always a jug of Lactaid-treated organic milk in my fridge that I keep on hand for coffee, cereal and baking purposes.
As a coffee snob, I’ve always disliked artificial creamers. Creamers always dredge up terrible memories of church basement coffee tables, of syrupy hair-salon/muffler-shop java in Styrofoam cups, of the communal coffee pot we used to have at the office (25 cents per mug? Awesome!). So there’s admittedly some apprehension on my part whenever I’m confronted with a creamer that isn’t milk.
I first saw So Nice for Coffee in the cooler at my local Planet Organic many months back, and I’ve been temped to try it and post the results here. So, when a rep from So Nice dropped me a line and offered to send me a sample, I could hardly refuse.
The Packaging: It’s a Tetra Pak with a little screw-top cap for easy opening and closing. The package is designed to allow it to be used in little pours here and there, as it’s meant to be opened and closed repeatedly whenever you’ve got a cup of coffee that needs fixing. But look out for the glub-glub-glub pour from the spigot, or you’ll end up with coffee/creamer on your tablecloth.
The Look: Pours thick like cream, and stirs easily into the coffee. Compared to 2% milk, you’ll need less to have a similar clouding effect. It’s more like coffee cream than skim milk.
The Taste: Doesn’t try to hide the soy. If you hate soy milk, you’re not going to like this. But if you’re cool with soy milk, it’s not bad. It tastes more like soy cream, if that makes sense. The texture is thicker than milk, and it adds that to the coffee.
The Difference: I guess what I’m saying is that I’m used to the taste of milk in my coffee, so the curious taste of So Nice creamer draws my attention away from the coffee, and masks other flavours. This doesn’t matter as much to me with cheaper, lower-grade coffees (ie. two-kilo tins of Nabob at the office), but in my cup of yummy Brazilian “IP” from Transcend, it drowns out some of the coffee’s flavour notes.
Will it replace milk in my fridge? No. But I can see the allure for vegans and those with severe lactose/dairy issues.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $2.69 for a 500 mL bottle at Planet Organic in Old Strathcona. But I got my sample for free from So Nice.
Value for cash money: Good. A little dab’ll do ya.
Availability: Limited so far. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated until opened, so maybe check the shelves in your grocery store’s health products aisle as well as in the soy milk section of the cooler. Stock up on them when you see them, and keep them in the pantry until you need it.
Nutrition?: Per 1 tablespoon (15 mL): 20 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.4 grams of protein.
The verdict: Nice to try it, though I don’t think it’ll become a fixture in my fridge. But if you’re a recent vegan convert who longs to be able to drink your coffee with a splash of cream, then you’ll be delighted. If you’re highly lactose intolerant, same deal. It’s better than other non-dairy creamers I’ve tried.