Office coffee is usually more of a necessity than a luxury. It's often bitter, burnt or bland and you suffer through each cup in order to make it through the day. Well the folks at Bada Beans feel your pain and have come up with a small new coffee confection to help you out. These cutely titled "beans" currently come in three different flavors (Vanilla Bean, Caramel Fudge and Hazelnut) and are meant to jazz up that bland cup of coffee. Created as an alternative to flavored syrups (which are not easily portable or storable), Bada Beans are tiny mint-sized beans that you put into coffee to enhance the flavor.
Since I don't usually enjoy my coffee black, I decided to see if these beans lived up to their potential and gave them all a try. To check out my full review,
First of all, Bada Beans are packaged in a small tin. The tin is about half the size of an Altoids mint tin and in fact, the actual "beans" also reminded me of mints as well. Although, word of warning, don't eat them like mints. Pure curiosity led me to put one in my mouth and it tasted like artificial gritty creamer in a pill. It lasted about three seconds before I decided it was a bad idea and had to spit it out.
Secondly, they smell weird. Not bad, but not great, just oddly artificial. They're fat free, sugar free and beneath the almost elegant aromas lurks a heavy smell of artificial sweetener (the number one ingredient is sorbitol). The hazelnut was especially strong and the synthetic odor actually caused me to take the beans out of my desk and into the breakroom. However, I must say, they don't smell any more artificial than any other coffee creamer/syrup I've tried in the past.
To begin my taste test, I poured three identical cups of coffee and put one bean in each cup. The beans dissolved with a bit of stirring and did not dilute the actual taste of the coffee. First I tried the Caramel Fudge flavor and one bean actually had very little effect. So I put a second bean in and it came out slightly richer with a hint of chocolate. The Vanilla Bean was palatable, but ended up being my least favorite. Surprisingly the Hazelnut was relatively smooth and ended up being the winner of my taste test (which was shocking since the smell made me believe it would be the worst).
Overall, I would say if you like flavored coffees, and especially hate dealing with the mess of syrups, powders or fatty creamers, then Bada Bean is definitely worth seeking out. However, if you're a coffee purist and don't like artificially sweetened coffee, then steer away. Although, at $2.99 for approximately 42 servings, it might be worth the try.