Sometimes you just don’t want to venture into a coffee shop to get your caffeine fix.
Maybe you want to cut down on those tempting $5 lattes. Maybe you don’t want to have to wait in line. Maybe you have an irrational fear of baristas. Either way, you are absolutely not going into that coffee shop and that is final, but you still want a coffee. See the dilemma?
Here is where a convenience store can come in handy. These aptly-named businesses are rather convenient when you’re fiending for some coffee or tea, but don’t feel like making the trek to Starbucks. This Caffeine Chronicles entry will be dedicated to the varieties of store-bought caffeinated goodness you can find at your nearest gas station or party store.
Starbucks has done the latte-loving world a favor by serving up their famous iced Frappuccinos in a nifty glass bottle for mass consumption. While not an exact representation of the taste of the actual blended drink, it’s the perfect drink to pick up for a long road trip or, if you’re crazy like me, it’s great for purchasing in large quantities and stuffing in your dorm room fridge.
The three flavors you’re likely to find are vanilla, mocha and coffee. The coffee flavor is, in my opinion, unimpressive and a little too sweet for my taste, and while the vanilla flavor is certainly more pleasant, the mocha is easily the best of the three. It has just the right combination of bitter and sweet and a subtle chocolaty taste.
[Bob] Marley’s One Drop coffee has a similar creamily-delicious taste reminiscent of the Starbucks Frappuccinos, but a little richer and slightly less sweet. Not content to simply be yummy, the coffee is socially-conscious as well: A portion of every purchase will be donated to Marley’s charity 1Love.org, which funds educational programs, environmental causes and peace efforts. Sadly, there is only one flavor available, so if you want to “Wake Up and Live,” as per the drink’s label, your options are limited.
Tea lovers have a few more options. Good ol’ Snapple is always an option. While I’ve never been too impressed with the taste, they have a wide range of products, so no matter your preferences you’re bound to find your perfect Snapple. And let’s face it, who can resist those fun bottle caps?
Pure Leaf from Lipton is another option. The bottles are pretty big, so you won’t have to worry about straining to get one last drop, although chances are, you’ll want to anyways. There’s nothing special about Pure Leaf, but that’s what makes it appealing—simple, no-frills tea with a refreshing, pure taste.
I couldn’t write this article without acknowledging AriZona teas. At a dollar a pop, they’re the cheapest entry on the list and they’re not tiny cans.
Like Snapple, you’re going to have plenty of options to choose from—and no, they’re not all equal (I really wanted to like the Black & White Tea a lot more than I did), but some flavors stand out among the crowd. The Southern Style Sweet Tea is good, but can be sickeningly sweet if you drink too much at once. Even better is the Rx Energy Herbal Tonic, a not-quite-tea that has a bit of a citrusy kick to it. Peach tea is a less-obnoxious flavor for when you want something a tad more subtle.
AriZona’s Arnold Palmer deserves a special mention, just in case you’ve made it to your college years without indulging in the sweet and tangy treat; it is a mixture of lemonade and iced tea popularized by the golfer himself.
With this handy guide, hopefully you have a better feel for the coffees and teas sitting on the shelves of a convenience store near you.
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