Coffee has always been one of the more sophisticated ice cream flavors, like butter pecan or pistachio. A child, with their inexperienced palate that has yet the ability to taste slight nuances in food, is unlikely to order any of these varieties—they’re the antithesis of birthday cake or the obscenely bright-colored cookie monster.
Coffee ice cream, just like many other foods (National Lima Bean Respect anyone?), has its own “day.” The staff at Westchester has previously used some of them as opportunities to test vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and we were on high alert for this occasion (one staffer who shall remain nameless feigned some “organizational work” in the photo studio adjacent to the kitchen so they could be first on line).
We blindly sampled seven supermarket-sold coffee ice creams, leaving out the ones with chips and swirls and cookie pieces (sorry Ben & Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! with your espresso-bean fudge chunks) and rated each, considering flavor and texture, on a scale of 1 to 5.
Here are the results from our least to most favorite.
â€‹Stonyfield Organic Gotta Have Java (1 pt; $4.49)
Score = 1.97
Being a joyfully duplicitous food and dining editor, I snuck in a frozen nonfat yogurt. The results weren’t pretty for this New Hampshire-based organic producer of all things yogurt. They garnered the lowest overall score in flavor (“I thought my taste buds stopped working”) and second lowest for texture. One taster even noted “tastes like bad coffee yogurt.”
â€‹Ronnybrook Farm Dairy Coffee (1 pt; $6.29)
Score = 2.29
As the only Hudson Valley producer in the taste test (Ancramdale in Colombia County), I was rooting for Ronnybrook, but alas, the “poor texture” that was “too icy” and “more like sorbet” sunk the score.
Breyer’s Coffee (1.5 qt; $4.99)
Score = 2.56
Despite the declaration on its label of, “Now even bolder with 100% dark Colombian coffee,” most found Breyer’s “bland” with “not much coffee flavor.” A number of reviewers did enjoy the “smooth,” “creamy” texture.
Häagen-Dazs Coffee (14 fl oz; $3.99)
Score = 2.65
The winner of our chocolate taste test scored in the middle of the pack with their coffee flavor. The “smooth mouth feel” and “creamy” texture had some staffers happy, but others commented “it was hard to tell what flavor it was because of the low coffee taste.”
Note To Consumers: 16 fl oz is a pint; 14 fl oz is a “pint” only in boardrooms at the Häagen-Dazs corporate offices.
Turkey Hill Colombian Coffee (1.5 qt; $7.29)
Score = 3.03
“Nice color” and “good and creamy” summed up the majority of tasters at this Lancaster County, PA-based company. Some however, lamented that flavor was “flat” and “subpar.”
Friendly’s Coffee (1.5 qt; $3.28)
Score = 3.26
The “light color” threw a few tasters off, and a couple others complained of a “slightly bitter” flavor, but most found it “creamy and satisfying.”
Trader Joe’s Coffee Bean Blast (1 qt; $3.99)
Score = 3.38
The winner of our vanilla taste test also won here for a coffee ice cream that’s “not to sweet,” “has a roasty, super-coffee flavor,” and “very smooth” texture. One staffer summed it up with a singular word in her sheet’s comment box: “Love.”