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Monday, July 22, 2013

Editor's choice: illy issimo iced coffee

The folks at illy issimo recently sent us a selection of iced coffee. It included an “espresso style” 6.8-ounce can and several 9.5-ounce bottles with other standard coffeehouse flavors, including cappuccino, mochaccino and latte macchiato.

This piqued my interest for two reasons:

1) My previous job was at a trade magazine for coffeehouse owners. Prior to that, there were only two varieties of coffee for me: instant and the other kind. But I learned all about espresso drinks and all their variations; it’s a fascinating subculture. I also developed a serious caffeine habit, leading to:

2) My current job requires a long train commute, which means that if I don’t want to get up before dawn, I have to pack breakfast the night before and eat it on the train. With my new caffeine jones, iced coffee has become an important part of that breakfast, at least during the summer.

So I was in a position to appreciate illy issimo’s cold-coffee offerings and compare to Starbucks’ Frappucino, which is the only brand of bottled cold coffee available in my supermarket. Verdict: A slight but noticeable advantage, in my humble opinion, for illy. They’re both very sweet, but the coffee flavor comes through more with the illy product, and paradoxically, there’s less of an aftertaste.

Neither is very much like the iced coffee you’d get at a coffeehouse—not unless you load the coffeehouse product up with milk and sugar. But they’re very filling and very convenient, and to a commuter like me, convenience rules.