Wisconsin-based Organic Valley recently expanded its popular organic half-and-half product into a line of five different organic coffee creamer products. Added to the mix: French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavored half-and-half, plus regular and French Vanilla organic soy creamers.
The specifics on these products are encouraging to those leery of chemical-laden coffee enhancers. As per their press release:
“The flavored creamers are made with organic hazelnut and organic, fair trade vanilla, and sweetened with only fair trade unrefined sugar. The organic soy used to blend the new non-dairy creamers is produced from soybeans grown in the Midwest by organic soy farmer- owners of Organic Valley. Coffee lovers can sip confidently knowing that all Organic Valley creamers–dairy and non-dairy–are completely free of artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.”
All fine and dandy, but flavor’s the thing. In theory, the lack of chemicals should make for a more pure, subtle, and enjoyable coffee creamer experience. Here’s the practice:
There’s no stickiness or artificiality to this — it’s just classic, straight-down-the-middle old-fashioned half-and-half.
Organic Hazelnut Half-and-Half (Ultra-Pasteurized)
Possibly the finest hazelnut-flavored coffee experience I’ve had, for two reasons: first, it’s not particularly sweet. Second, although the hazelnut flavor that the half-and-half imparts is perceptible, it’s not overly strong — it’s subtle to the point where it seems possible that the coffee itself was a bit hazelnut flavored, and nothing more. “Subtle” + “flavored coffee” = tolerable (or even enjoyable) flavored coffee.
Organic French Vanilla Half-and-Half
See above — this is well-balanced in terms of sweetness (not too sweet) and flavor (pronounced but not aggressive.) Subtle but distinct, and lacking any unpleasant chemical or artificial notes that often distinguish flavored creamers.
Organic Soy Creamer
The only certified organic soy creamer on the market, which is nice. From a flavor perspective: A bit nutty and hollow tasting, but not a coffee atrocity. Still, black coffee would be preferable. On the plus side, in contrast to soy milk, this doesn’t split when it hits hot coffee.
Organic French Vanilla Soy Creamer
The flavor really helps this soy creamer. It’s a bit sweet (sweeter, for example, than the regular French Vanilla half-and-half), but not overwhelmingly so, and the flavor and sweetness helps fill in the soy void.
Available locally at a variety of different grocery stores, these creamers are typically sold for $2.99 for a 16 oz. container.