Dearest readers, are you seeing something wrong with this picture? First and foremost, I’ve always held to a certain standard when it came to blogging–titles were to reflect either hymns or worship choruses. What am I doing simply entitling this post “Cibolo Mountain Coffee’? And, what is this about a mini-review? Shouldn’t I be posting something like this on Epinions.com/
The fact is, I was once a connoisseur of that consumer review site. It was wonderful, while it lasted. However, both because Epinions has become quite commercialized and because this review is being written for spiritual reasons, I felt that it was best placed here. From time to time, I will continue to write brief reviews of products that may be considered spiritually helpful.
Mocha? Spiritually helpful? You think not!
Or you may think so, if you’ve been in the dilemma my family and I have faced over the past three months. You see, we are no longer patronizing Starbucks anymore. Over the past few years, they have begun supporting practices that we do not endorse, because we find them unBiblical. If you’d like me to elaborate in the comments, feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to do so. Anyway, I’ve found this a bit challenging–not so much so that I would go against my convictions, but difficult nevertheless. Starbucks, it seems, has a monopoly on all beverages even remotely related to coffee or tea. The drive-through establishment closest to our house? Starbucks. The coffee shop strategically placed in the nearest grocery store? Starbucks. Those dark-chocolate frappuccinos I used to buy in bulk? Guess where…
For the most part, I had managed to solve the problem. Chai tea lattes can be made just as easily at home, and often with more flavour. Other brands of coffee have proved delicious, and I’ve even found some local coffee shops for those times when I want a specialty beverage and honeybush hazelnut tea, or hazelnut syrup, or coconut extract, aren’t on hand. The only remaining problem lay with those silly glass-bottled frappuccinos. Somehow, we couldn’t seem to fill the gap they left in our beverage consumption. All you health nuts who claim that they weren’t a necessary part of our diet in the first place should take into account that it isn’t just the body that needs nourishment–it’s the heart. You see, those drinks had sentimental value. Each time my sister and I were together, we argued good-naturedly about how much of the plastic seal should be removed. Her way was more conventional, but left a jagged, needless plastic ring around the bottle. My way was, at least in my own ever-so-humble opinion, much neater but, in Sister-of-Mine’s view, a bit too whimsical. Those frappuccinos accompanied us everywhere: to the school where I got my guide-dog; to university, where they kept me awake through dull French film lessons; to the hospital, where I sipped them while my mother had her monthly infusions… Yes, they were a staple slightly less important than bread, on a par with cheese, and millions of times more important than eggs. Actually, ANYTHING you could buy at a store is more important than eggs! But that’s another rant…
So, no frappuccinos. Oh, I tried. First, I bought some concentrated mocha mix, but it was much too strong and didn’t make very good iced or hot mochas. Next, I tried Bolthouse Farms’ drinks, but the mocha was too akin to chocolate milk–hardly any coffee,–and the chai was made with soy. I can’t drink soy, so all of the iced chai drinks were out. Then, I experimented with some bottled mocha-drink look-alikes, but the best way to describe them is to say that they tasted like divorce in the loneliest sense of the word. Sister-of-Mine agrees, though we can’t put our collective finger on why. Those drinks made me miss the little off-brand ones a local grocery store used to sell, even though the off-brandedness of them infused the drink with a final-exam flavour. Where do I come up with this stuff!? Eventually, we found a generic brand at Safeway, but these were both too sweet and too far away, Safeway not being our primary grocery store and not prevalent in our area.
By this time, my frappuccino-less state was beginning to feel a little like a long fast. I mean that with all possible reverence–I was sacrificing something I was rather fond of in order to glorify God and to refrain from supporting practices I found immoral. It was difficult, but I was more than willing to do it as a service to God.
Is any of this sounding at all familiar? Surely, surely, I cannot be the only one who is no longer buying Starbucks, for spiritual reasons. And surely, I’m not the only one who has been wishing she could find products to fill the beverage-void left by that establishment. Well, I’ve found the solution. To my knowledge, this is from a wholesome and reputable company and is hence good for anyone finding himself in a position similar to mine.
Enter Cibolo Mountain Coffee drinks from the Corner Store company. And you thought I was going to write about some intellectual, foreign, gourmet beverage! Actually, though, these coffee drinks taste imported. A quick comparison–or, rather, a list of advantages for Cibolo Mountain Coffee Drinks that competing brands don’t share:
Advantage I: Quite simply, Cibolo Mountain Coffee Drinks taste much, much better than any of the flavours Starbucks frappuccinos offered. Sister-of-Mine disagrees, saying they’re merely comparable, but I sincerely feel that these new Cibolo drinks are superior. Starbucks’ beverages were always good but sometimes a bit extroverted, if you know what I mean. What you saw was what you got, with no hidden meaning or extra layer. You got chocolate, and coffee, in somewhat equal proportions, and that was all there was to it. Cibolo’s drinks are different, with intricate and subtle flavours behind every turn and a gentle yet profound aftertaste that exhilarates the palate for the next sip. There’s more to them–but also so much less!
Advantage II: “Much less” in the sense that these drinks contain only a few ingredients. Among these are Dutch chocolate, which probably explains the imported flavour, and a type of coffee that quite obviously differs from Starbucks. A subtler coffee, and one with much more potential.
Advantage III: At least in our area, these beverages are quite a bit less expensive. At the local Corner Store, Cibolo Mountain Coffee mocha drinks cost $1.29. Even at a store offering a slight discount, the dark-chocolate Starbucks frappuccinos cost about $1.89 apiece. Now, because cold mocha beverages comprise breakfast, celebration, reviewing fodder, sentimentality, and snacks for us, we tend to buy in bulk. A dozen 13.7-ounce Cibolo drinks: $15.48 without tax. A dozen 12-ounce Starbucks frappuccinos: $22.68 without tax!
Advantage IV: You get more product! Amazing–more, tastier, and less expensive! A typical case of four Starbucks frappuccinos contains 9.5 oz. per bottle. Each Cibolo drink contains 13.7 oz. per bottle. And, if it’s enjoyed as gracefully as it should be, this could last you about an hour and a half, as opposed to the other frappuccinos, which I always tended to consume within twenty minutes.
Advantage V: Cibolo drinks are more whimsical! Not that you would ever find yourself in this position–you traditional, businesslike reader, you!–but if you should ever get into a discussion with your sister about the correct way to open one of these drinks, you can choose to be either peaceable or extremely silly. In times gone by, you had to choose between jaggedness and neatness–tearing the seal all the way off to make the bottle appear cleaner, which still left the label intact; or removing only a portion of the seal, leaving behind a messy but allegedly “friendly” ring of plastic. Note to Sister: Plastic is never friendly! Cibolo is taking a much higher road, in my opinion. The Peaceable method: There’s a lovely little perforation along which you can tear, leaving behind a neat label and no uneven plastic. The creative method: You can rip the entire label off, so there’s no plastic–or ingredients, or price, or even name–anywhere on the bottle! I generally use the peaceable method, but yesterday I employed the more intriguing method.
A few more personal notes. First, a word about other Cibolo drinks. The mochas are extraordinary, WAH-HU-AH-HEISCHE-worthy endeavors. The vanilla drinks, on the other hand, are somewhat plain. Actually, they taste almost identical to Starbucks’ vanilla drinks–not a bad thing, but compared to Cibolo’s mochas, they just don’t have any umph.
Now, for the spiritual content of this whole review. As soon as I had my first Cibolo Mountain Coffee drink, I felt that my “fast” was over–as though I had been deeply, gloriously blessed, and released from a difficult sacrifice. It’s difficult to explain, but I felt almost renewed, and deeply at peace with the idea that He was pleased with me, with this family. Not because of a silly beverage, but because He put that beverage in my path, and because of the joy that attended it.
A mocha drink? Spiritually helpful? Absolutely–or, if not that, at least sentimental!