Sometimes we are inspired to try new things, sometimes we ignore that little voice in the back of your mind telling you to stop. Last Night I ignored this voice.
I have some awesome memories from camping as a child. As a cub-scout, with mum and her rather large troupe of girl guides… with the family on the many road trips around the south island to meet distant kissing cousins. Often rained out there was always one saving grace to warm your bones.
This bad boy was there to warm you up, give you that shot of coffee with a good hit of sugar, and get you motivated to lift all of your gear off the ground and take the sleeping bags into the nearest Laundromat. Nowadays the toothpaste tube of coffee has been replaced by the single serve, just add hot water sachet.
All this semester I have seen these little sticks of doom. First in the O’week goodie bags, then outside the psychology office in a massive box labelled ‘free to a good home’, in the Waikato students’ union reception. These little monstrosities have been unavoidable. Today, I was given another handful by the WSU president in the Level 0 basement. I caved.
Nescafe 3 in 1 appears innocent enough… It is marketed as the penultimate coffee of those with very little time, or very little packing space, the coffee for the travelling salesman. The coffee for the camping man. As it is by far the cheapest (being freely available on campus) and by and large the most accessible hot beverage on campus, I gave the stuff a run.
The Stuff looked sick when made up. No really, a greeny brown colour… smelled kinda earthy too. I added a bit of cold water to make it drinkable and gave it a sip. Sugary would be my first call. Much Like other instant coffee it left my teeth squeaky. I was expecting this, but I was not expecting my teeth to start itching too (WHAT IS IN THIS STUFF?!). Checking the little bag it came in I could see no ingredient list. The Nescafe website lists “Soluble coffee with whitener and sugar”. Yet the image of the bag has what looks like a far larger list of things. However, after a bit more digging…
Sugar (52%), Whitener (38%), (Glucose Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Skimmed Milk Powder, Acidity Regulators (E340ii, E451i, E452i, E331iii), Milk Proteins, Vegetable Fat, Emulsifiers (E471, E472e), Flavourings, Anti-Caking Agent (E551), Stabiliser (E339), Salt), Instant Coffee (10%).
…What is all this stuff?!
I took another sip habitually while writing the above list out. This stuff was tolerable hot, but the good ol’ swig of the now warm toxic sludge… It reminded me of one of those little Asian power drinks with a ginseng root floating in it, but with a milky white scum layer. Sugary mud comes to mind. I tipped the rest in the sink and sought redemption.
Now I know that some of you out there are not big on the teas but I have become tolerant of your bean grinding ways, let it be said: no man, woman, or child should have to suffer the pain of drinking this 3 in 1 nasty beverage, save those whom have earned a place within the inner circles of Dante’s Inferno.
This stuff is simple. Three ingredients on the list all up, Condensed milk, Instant Coffee, and Salt. Compared to the above its simplicity is profound, and the taste… amazing, Better than many coffees I’ve received from cafes. You can eat it straight out of the tin; it tastes like coffee hard boiled candy (the good Asian kind).
My recommendation, not that it needs to be said: stick to the simple, tried and true. Avoid the nasty 3 in 1 under all circumstances (Now to go eat the rest of the can with a spoon).