Iced Coffee Review - The best? #icedcoffeereview #icedcoffeewars

A few months ago, a Twitter conversation between one of our followers was around iced coffees, and it ended with us promising we would do a review of all the iced coffees we could get our hands on.  Fast forward a few months, and during my weekend supermarket shopping, I decided to grab every iced coffee I could find to review them all in ONE sitting - the ONLY way to do it properly.

My list of iced coffees is definitely not 'every' iced coffee available.... There are many imported or interstate ones that are not easily obtained in Adelaide, South Australia, so to be fair, the ones I tested were either available at the supermarkets or from Asian/European groceries.   The picture below shows the original lineup of iced coffees I purchased in one day.  I knew I was missing quite a few imported ones that were easily available, so part 2 is here.

The original lineup

FUIC - what more is there to say?
Some more usual suspects

Heard some good things about Pauls, not much so for Dare

Fleurieu had lots of hype


Could these also be classified as 'iced coffees'?

Our first real import in this original lineup


To get things started, the criteria consisted of:

  • Overall taste - 10 points
  • Coffee strength - 5 points
  • Sugar content/sweetness - 5 points
  • Final score = 20 points


Nippy's Iced Coffee
I grew up drinking this iced coffee back in primary school, so I had high hopes for this contender.  This was the only entry that used long life milk.  In summary, compared to the others, this was definitely one of the worst.  If you drink this by itself, it tastes great, 'sugary' with a little bit of coffee taste, however if you are able to compare with another iced coffee using 'real' milk, you will taste how 'fake' the use of long life milk is.  Unfortunately, after a few sips, I didn't touch any more of this one.

Overall taste - 4
Coffee strength - 3
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 11/20

Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee
FUIC or its nothing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know the drill.  Yes, this was nice, strong coffee taste, and not as sweet tasting as its weaker twin.  This definitely had a stronger coffee aftertaste than many of the other contenders  but it was still very 'normal' taste for an iced coffee.  If I wanted to have the best 'normal' tasting iced coffee - this is a winner, however read below and find out how some other other coffees beat this.

Overall taste - 8
Coffee strength - 4
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 16/20

Farmers Union Iced Coffee
Not much more to say..... or is there?  Going into this iced coffee review, the Twitterverse came back indicating this was clearly going to be winner.
But after drinking all the other contenders all in one sitting, you begin to realise how 'normal' the Farmers Union coffees are - especially this 'weaker' brother.  There isn't anything distinctive about this one.  Maybe this is why people like it? I don't know, but if I were to choose a 'great iced coffee' I want to find something that has an actual taste that is different to other iced coffees.

Overall taste - 7.5
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 15/20

Brownes Smooth Coffee Blend
Not much to say about this one... drank a few sips, compared it with the others and didn't touch it again.  Very 'milky' taste, meaning the coffee strength was not as great as the other drinks, and sweetness wasn't too much either, so nothing that excelled in any category.

Overall taste - 5
Coffee strength - 2
Sugar content/sweetness  - 3
Final score - 12/20

Pura Classic Coffee
This was very sweet - this was definitely one of the sweetest ones.  If you are wanting a sweet tasting iced coffee, look no further.  The coffee taste is there, sweetness, and overall taste is not bad either.    When drinking over 15 different iced coffees in one sitting, you realise which ones tastes normal, and which ones have a distinct coffee 'bean' taste.  This was another coffee with a 'normal' taste, however its not saying it is bad, its just there is nothing really to fault it, but it just doesn't excel in anything.

Overall taste - 8
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4.5
Final score - 16/20

Farmers Union Feel Good Coffee
Advertised as having the lowest sugar and fat content per serve (100ml), I wasn't expecting too much from this contender.  Flavour was weak, and overall very 'watered' down taste.  Give this a miss, unless you are really worried about all this nutritional stuff, but still, why would you care if you are already buying packaged drinks?

Overall taste - 3
Coffee strength - 2
Sugar content/sweetness - 3
Final score 8/20

Dare Espresso
I wasn't expecting much from the Dare iced coffees.  However, taking a few sips of the Dare espresso advertised as using 'Robusta and Arabica' coffee, I can say they can stand toe-to-toe with the favourite FUIC.  The Dare espresso had the same sweetness as the FUIC, with a different coffee aftertaste.  I was quite impressed.  If you like FUIC, and are in a situation where there isn't FUIC around - there actually is 'something' to replace it.  Not bad at all.

Overall taste - 8.5
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 16

Dare Double Espresso
The Dare Double Espresso seems to be competing directly with the FUIC's Strong version, and it challenges it quite competently.  Aftertaste is very nice, and sweetness is just right.  This was one of the few 'normal' iced coffees I actually wanted to continue drinking.  If you are new to iced coffees, looking for a strong taste and strong sweetness giving you an all-round sugar high - this is it.

Overall taste - 8.5
Coffee strength - 4
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 16.5

Paul's Just Natural Iced Coffee
Only natural stuff is on the label, could this be a good or bad thing?  First taste it felt a bit bland, sweetness was there, but the coffee strength I thought was a bit lacking.  There was a very 'milky' taste, rather than a coffee aftertaste.  Nothing bad, but different to everything else.  This was just like an 'average Joe' in this iced coffee review.  I couldn't find anything good, or anything bad.

Overall taste - 6.5
Coffee strength - 3
Sugar content/sweetness - 3.5
Final score 13/20

Rush Strong Iced Coffee
The Rush coffees have a flashy label indicating 99% fat free, and 30% less sugar, much like Diet Coke or Coke Zero, so I didn't give each of these much thought prior to drinking.  'Don't judge a book by its cover' is all I have to say.  It was sweet, with a bitter coffee taste, very different to the other 'normal' coffees from above.  The aftertaste was not bad, just a little bit different.  I was trying find bad things about this 'low fat, low sugar' drink, but I just couldn't.  Highly recommended for people who are wanting to actually read a label before drinking.  

Overall taste - 8
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 15.5/20

Rush Iced Latte
Labelled as a Latte, rather than an iced coffee, I wondered how this was to be different?  Once again, the Rush 99% fat free and 30% sugar free made me hold my breath. To my surprise, this was a very different drink to the rest of the pack.   At first it tasted very sweet, so I checked the sugar quantity, however it was one of the lowest!  The coffee taste was a bit 'fake', but it also made it fun... much like a kid's drink.  The more I drank, the more it made me like it, very similar to the Japanese coffee drinks I love.  This is an iced coffee with a bit of a twist.  I liked it.... if you feel like an iced coffee which is a bit different than the rest of the bunch, give this a try.  

Overall taste- 8.5
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4.5
Final score - 17.5/20

Fleurieu Iced Coffee
Many good things were said on twitter about this iced coffee, so I had high hopes.  Advertised as using Monjava beans and 96% fat free, the marketing side was doing a good job..... First sip was strange, it was a completely different taste to any of the other coffees.  It had an aftertaste - could this be the Monjava beans?!  Another sip, and yet again, the same differentiating taste.  Rinsed my palate, tried another coffee and came back to this - and yes, there it was again!  Seemed like a 'real' coffee taste, not 'fake' or 'normal' like the rest of others.

I gave it a break, and tried others without rinsing my palate and this was still, providing me with a different taste to other coffees each time I came back.  So there you have it, finally, a different tasting iced coffee, different to the 'normal' coffee taste.  Sweetness is there, not too sweet, but most importantly, a nice coffee aftertaste.

Overall taste - 9
Coffee strength - 4.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4
Final score - 17.5/20

Ice Break Real Iced Coffee
Interesting logo, looked like a another kiddies sweet coffee drink I thought, didn't expect too much.  However, after a few sips, this was used as my 'sweetness' benchmark drink.  This drink was one of, if not the sweetest of the pack.  The coffee was also strong, so why have I not heard about this drink before?  I kept comparing the other 'big players' to this, and I kept liking this more.

What does an iced coffee drinker look for? This has sweetness, and overall coffee strong coffee taste.  I simply could not fault this drink.... maybe because it's too sweet?    

Overall taste - 9
Coffee strength - 4.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4.5
Final score - 18/20


CafeCino Espresso with Milk
Insanely sweet, strong coffee with a little bit of milk powder is the only way to describe this.  This Taiwanese made iced coffee is not your average tasting iced coffee because the aftertaste is very similar to a Lipton tea, a very interesting taste indeed.            

Overall taste - 7
Coffee strength - 4.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 5
Final score - 16.5/20


CafeCino Espresso
These CafeCino are made in Taiwan, and would certainly be classified as iced coffee, but are very different to the Australian typical iced coffee because these contain no milk.  Its a pure double shot espresso with a truck load of sugar.  If you love your coffees sweet, and without milk, then this is your iced coffee choice.

Overall taste - 8
Coffee strength - 5
Sugar content/sweetness - 5
Final score - 18/20


Maroyaka Iced Latte
The winner with the highest sugar content is right here Ladies and Gentlemen.  13.1g per 100ml serving!  But surprisingly, it doesn't taste as sweet as the CafeCino imports above.  Once again, the aftertaste is the Milk tea, which is very popular in Japanese drinks.  With the tea aftertaste, the coffee strength doesn't seem as strong in this drink.  It feels more like drinking an milk tea with a hint of coffee.  

Overall taste - 8
Coffee strength - 3.5
Sugar content/sweetness - 4.5
Final score - 16/20



There you have it... I am writing this up still at 4:30 am.. I cannot sleep - I am hallucinating, my stomach is bloated, I have enough gas to lift up a hot air balloon and I've been to the toilet over 5 times now.....so in summary, here are my picks:

General Ice Coffee taste - Ice Break Real Iced Coffee.  I'm sorry folks, I chose this over Farmers Union Iced Coffee for my generic Iced Coffee, simply because it has a stronger coffee taste and sweeter taste.

Interesting Ice Coffee tasteFleurieu Iced Coffee.  This wins hands down as the only different tasting iced coffee.

Low Fat Iced Coffee choice - Rush Iced Latte.  Great tastes and still sweet, but without the numbers stacking up in the nutritional charts, this is a winner.

Overall best tasting Iced Coffee - CafeCino Espresso.  Real coffee taste, insane sugar amount without the milk, this is the only option.  Also tastes great heated up.

Blogged by Hayes

If you want further nutritional details for each iced coffee - click on images to enlarge

Nippy's Iced Coffee, Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee and Farmers Union Iced Coffee
Brownes Smooth Coffee Blend, Pura Classic Coffee and Farmers Union Feel Good Coffee
Dare Espresso, Dare double Espresso and Paul's Just Natural Iced Coffee
Rush Strong Iced Coffee, Rush Iced Latte
Fleurieu Iced Coffee and Ice Break Real Iced Coffee
CafeCino Espresso with Milk, CafeCino Espresso and Maroyaka  Cafe Latte

47 comments:

  1. Awesome review! A ridiculously insane amount of iced coffee, so hats of to you for being a brave individual and doing this in one sitting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow that's pretty awesome, well done for drinking it all at once!! I really like Ice Break Real Iced Coffee, probably because they kept giving it away for free at uni at one stage :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good Review and i will endevour to taste all the top scoring ones over the next couple months

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. great read, thanks for sharing!
    of the drinks i have had i agree with your analysis, my fave drink used to be ice break, but since it keeps getting more and more expensive i have had to get to DARE, which is also great.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cross post from OCAU:

    For me, a Vietnamese (Iced) Coffee, freshly made, is the best there is.

    But I just wanted to post this re Farmers Union Iced Coffee...

    I think that the brand's name, packaging and marketing brilliantly positions it as being a "grassroots" brand. I think that a lot of people like to imagine that, when drinking a FUIC, they are supporting some sort of farmer's co-op somewhere... as opposed to going for the big players like Big M, Dare, Iced Break etc...

    So on that note, here's a free lesson on corporate ownership:

    Farmers Union is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pura/National Foods (who also own Big M...)

    National Foods is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lion Nathan (owner of a large amount of Australian beer brands, XXXX, Tooheys etc)

    Lion Nathan is awholly owned subsidiary of Kirin Brewing (owner of a diversified group of interests in Japan: beer brands e.g. Kirin, soft drink brands, engineering corps, restaurants, foods etc. etc.)

    Kirin Brewing is a member of the Mitsubishi group of companies.

    I don't think Mitsubishi itself needs any further explanation...

    So when you drink a FUIC, you're not supporting a farmer's coop somewhere, you're actually buying a Mitsubishi iced coffee....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and on that note I see on the label Norco is still a famer owned co-op

      Delete
  6. A good read. Was interesting to see higher scores for brands other than Farmers Union (traditional) Iced Coffee, being a South Australian blog, but good that the hometown-bias hasn't taken over. About to head on over to read a few more of your blogs. I picked up this one being an Iced Coffee fan myself and also having grown up in Adelaide. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - Get some OAK Iced Coffee in ya. Fill ya boots! ;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the support. Hope you like the rest of our posts!
      Definitely no home-town bias review here, as stated in the review, I don't drink Iced Coffee, and hadn't touched the stuff for many years.

      and yes, OAK will bee part of my part2 review. Not sure when I will start that, but seems like interest in it is building up again.

      Delete
  7. Excellent read, I've had all of these except the import and I largely agree with the conclusions - are the other Ice Break variants not available in Adelaide? I've been drinking Ice Break Extra Shot as my go-to drink, or Ice Break Loaded with Guarana. The latter is quite odd but strangely effective if I'm less after the coffee part and more after the "kick" part! There's also an Ice Break No Sugar, but it's rarely seen on the shelves here in Melbourne (saw it once, missed the chance to try it!)

    Nice job, thanks for going to the effort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi - thankyou for your support. Unfortunately the day I went shopping, the only Ice Break variants were not available. I went back the next week and noticed all the ones you just mentioned ;(

      If my body allows me, I'll add those variants to my part#2 review.

      Delete
  8. I admit I’m a coffee junkie and then I realized that every now and then my teeth get stained. Then my boca raton dentist explained to me that coffee is actually a factor in making your teeth from getting stained, but that didn’t stop me from being a coffee junkie, I just lessened my coffee intake.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great review.

    Being a handyman I drive around a bit and my treat at the end of the day is always an Iced Coffee. Going to have to try the Ice Break when I next see it. Lately I have been getting the Dare's but always keen to try out others.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My partner and his family are originally from Darwin, and loves his Paul's Iced Coffee (different from Paul's Just Natural...just artificial, perhaps?). We took 6 litres of the stuff back on the plane to Adelaide when we visited last year. Definately worth a try if you can get hold of it - not too sweet, has a bit of a malty taste to it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hope you burn in hell, Nippy's Iced Coffee is not only the best iced coffee out there, it is the best drink period.

    Kind Regards
    The Devil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting Mr.Evil One, Mr Lucifer, Mr Satan, or whatever you may be called.

      It all makes sense now, the reason Nippy's Iced Coffee is the only one that you drink is because that's the only one using long life milk!

      It's time you get a fridge down there in hell Mr. Devil.

      Super Bomberman

      Delete
  12. How about a blind taste test next time for some actual credibility?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous!

      Thanks for your taking your time to read this post and reply, really appreciate it.

      1) yes, this actually was done blind, I had my wife pour all the coffees into cups, and she marked and labelled them, and I tested each one and told her my results and she noted them down. I didn't want to bore everyone with the methodology behind testing, I just wanted to jump straight into it.

      2) also - this was done more for the 'sh1ts and giggles' rather than a real test, so I'm not here to get credibility anyway.

      3) finally, speaking of credibility, how about you let us know your name next time? :)

      Hayes

      Delete
  13. Would be interesting to see what you think of Norco Real Iced Coffee, seems to be popping up all over the place in Brisbane and their double shot variety has become my drink of choice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up, I haven't noticed Norco yet in my local supermarkets. Might have to shop around.

      Hayes

      Delete
    2. Thanks, might not be available in Adelaide. Great article by the way. Love my Iced Coffee!

      Delete
  14. If supporting a Farmers co-op is important, Fleurieu Iced Coffee is the way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment - Fleurieu is actually the best tasting of the lot, it's my 'go-to' iced coffee when I feel like one now.

      Hayes

      Delete
  15. A favourite of mine is a local WA product - Bannister Downs Farm Cafe Au Lait. It is simply delicious. It is packaged in a robust and resealable plastic bag which has a nifty air filled handle. Definitely worth a try when you are visiting the West.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ive done my own comparison on the majors and Dare wins out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment - which Dare flavour do you like?

      Delete
  17. Please do strawberry milks next time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion - I'll keep that in mind. It shouldn't be too hard to do as there aren't that many brands?

      Hayes

      Delete
  18. Pauls Iced Coffee, only available in the NT, is the best shit ever. Everything else is an imitation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment - and yes, I keep getting told about Paul's! But in Adelaide, the only Paul's I found was the one int he review.

      Hayes

      Delete
  19. I just tried one called Goulburn Valley Dairy Iced Coffee, you should try it in your next review if you can find it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up Yazman. I don't think I've seen it before - In SA?

      Hayes

      Delete
  20. One more iced coffee brend: ice COFFEE time from Czech republic www.icecoffeetime.com Good taste, quality drink

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion Icecoffee - however I doubt this is available in Australia?

      Delete
  21. Should've awarded the sugar/sweetness points in reverse. Sugar in iced coffee (or any coffee, really) is a cop-out, committed by people who don't actually enjoy the taste of coffee. Australia's continued contempt for iced coffee by loading up on sweetness and treating it as some sort of dessert drink embarrasses us before the world.

    Would kill for a mass-produced iced coffee brand that is just coffee, or coffee with milk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, thankyou for your feedback

      Sweetness and Coffee strength were indicators, not a ranking. So 0 meant not sweet and no coffee taste, etc.

      The 10 marks for taste is the only real indicator of how 'good' it tasted.
      It was just added up because the rest of our blog as scores out of 20, so just for fun

      Delete
  22. Yay! Some praise for Fleurieu! This is my iced coffee of choice, not only is it produced locally but the ingredients are pure and simple, as they should be! When I drink coffee that's what I want. COFFEE! Not gums, thickeners of artificial sweeteners. Hats off to you for including this sometimes lucrative drink in your line up. I suggest checking out Fleurieu's stall at the Willunga Farmers Market on a Saturday morning and buying a bottle to chug on as you buy your fresh and tasty local vegies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Laura. I love to visit markets on the weekends, however Willunga is a bit too far out for me for a Sunday drive!
      If I'm ever down that area I promise I'll do that and say to everyone at the stall.

      Hayes

      Delete
  23. Gotta admit, I fucking love nippy's. A lot more than the rest of this stuff on the list (not saying the rest is abd by any means)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Real good and yammy ice coffee i have ever tasted ICE COFFEE time - www.icecoffeetime.com Iced coffee from Czech republic

    ReplyDelete
  25. The best iced coffee is made by the aussie farmer owned Norco......Pauls .Ice Break is Italian owned and is made from skim milk.......Norco double shot is fantastic give it a go.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a good review, I must say that my Iced Coffee of choice was always Farmers Union until I tried the fleurieu Iced Coffee, now it’s my brand of choice (along with their other milk products). The others just don’t compare. It’s just a pity you can’t get it everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  27. That's a great review mate!
    A bit of good light hearted testing that gives everyone an insight into your thoughts and tastes.

    A few take these things a bit too serious,

    I for one thoroughly enjoyed the read and interestingly agree with you results!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. if you like the ice break, they have an ice break strong which is my go to if fleurieu isnt available.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Has anyone tried Norco Real Iced Coffee Triple Shot? I'm a bit addicted. facebook.com/realicedcoffee

    ReplyDelete

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