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Maxwell House International Cafe Sugar Free Drink Review
(Suisse Mocha and French Vanilla)

Updated Review Date: 06/03/2017
Original Review Date: 11/26/2012

Maxwell House International Cafe Sugar Free Decaf Suisse Mocha and French Vanilla

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         In the mood for a quick, cafe-style drink? If you're looking towards Maxwell House International Cafe to fill the void then you might want to think twice or even three times before you pick some up. While both flavors are decaffeinated and dietetically considered sugar free, it has some serious drawbacks you should be aware of. But before discussing those, here's the preliminary product info.
         Currently there are only two sugar free decaffeinated flavors available; Suisse Mocha and French Vanilla. Both flavors are only available in a 4oz. canister size (19 servings) which you should be able find locally, but for health reasons please be sure to read the review before doing so. And on that note let's get started...

Nutrition Information for Sugar Free Maxwell House International Cafe Mixes

Each 4 teaspoon serving of Suisse Mocha or French Vanilla has the following nutrition values:

Calories: 30
Fat Calories: 20
Total Fat: 2.5g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: Less than 1g (package lists zero but there is a small amount)
Sodium: 50mg French Vanilla, 30mg Suisse Mocha
Carbohydrates: 2g
Sugars: Less Than 1g (package lists zero but there's a small amount from corn syrup solids)
Protein: 0g
Caffeine: 0mg

Ingredients of Sugar Free Maxwell House International Cafe Mixes

The ingredients of the Suisse Mocha and French Vanilla are mostly the same except where noted below:

Nondairy Creamer (the creamer consists of Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Artificial Flavor), Maltodextrin, Decaffeinated Instant Coffee, Cocoa Processed With Alkalai (only in Suisse Mocha), Contains less than 2% of Natural and Artificial Flavor, Nonfat Milk (only in Suisse Mocha), Lactose (only in Suisse Mocha), Salt (only in Suisse Mocha), Sodium Citrate, Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine), Acesulfame Potassium, Silicon Dioxide.

The Scorecard for Sugar Free Decaf Maxwell House International Cafe Mixes

Based on the four point rating system, here's how the sugar free Suisse Mocha and French Vanilla flavors score:

Taste: I prepared one batch of the Suisse Mocha and the French Vanilla with heated fat free skim milk and another batch with just hot water. Using either milk or water are the recommended options on the packaging. Unsurprisingly there's a watered-down flavor to the Suisse Mocha or French Vanilla when using hot water, even with 1.5 times the amount of recommended mix. I couldn't help thinking that both mixes need more sweetness and stronger flavor. I had better results with hot milk, but not that much better. I could taste the instant coffee behind the mocha and vanilla flavors, but there's a problem in the quantity of flavoring; there's just not enough of it and the more mix you add, the more the instant creamer seems to squelch the flavor. One good aspect of the drink mixes is the lack of an aftertaste. Overall I was a bit let down by the taste potency for both flavors but they aren't awful either. They're certainly not cafe-quality drinks but if you want something similar without running to the coffee shop or preparing it from scratch then these might satisfy your craving. Because of the substantial lack of taste there's a half point deduction. (+.5)

Packaging Waste: Maxwell House International Cafe almost gets it right with the packaging. The lids are #4 recyclable plastic and the containers are #5 recyclable plastic. The inner lid (the one you pull off and throw away) is made of a plastic-foil material with no recycling information on it. If the inner lid were any larger there'd be a deduction but it's only a fraction of the total packaging. Since over 95% of the packaging is recyclable its gets a top score here. (+1)

Value: At about $4.50 (locally) per canister of 19 servings of it's not a bad deal, even if you end up using more than 4 tsp. per serving. The price is about in line with other cafe/cappuccino drink mixes on the market (Hill Bros., Cafe D'Vita, etc.). Nothing prevents a top score for value. (+1)

Health Factor: How about a steaming hot cup of unhealthy? Cause that's what you're getting here. This is the first drink I've reviewed that has a negative health factor score, and here's why: The slippery slope down starts with the nondairy creamer, which really doesn't do much for the flavor or quality of the drink and makes up the bulk of the powdered mix. The creamer has hydrogenated coconut oil, or in other words trans fat. Though the labeling laws in the US allow companies to list zero if there's less than 0.5 grams, we all know how bad trans fats are for your health even in small quantities. Considering that you need to use 1.5 times or more than the recommended serving size for a decent-tasting 8oz drink, you're probably getting close to, or more, than a gram of trans fats in every cup. Because of the Trans fat there' a .75 point deduction. Next, the mix uses corn syrup solids. So if you have more than the 4 teaspoon serving size, and you probably would since 4 teaspoons tastes way too weak, you'll be getting some sugar where you're not expecting it - for that there's a .25 point deduction. The last mark against Maxwell House International Cafe sugar free beverage mixes is the use of aspartame which cuts out that small population segment that has Phenylketonuria (PKU) - there are better sweeteners to be used and I'd like to see companies start using them more often. For the aspartame use there's another .25 point deduction. That brings the total health factor score for sugar free Maxwell House International Cafe into the negatives with an abysmal score. (-.25) . Wow.

Overall Rating: 2.25 out of 4. This is pretty bad folks and the Health Factor score is a sure sign of a beverage you may want to skip altogether. Not much else to say except that I don't recommend Maxwell House International Cafe Sugar Free Suisse Mocha or French Vanilla as a daily drinker to anyone that's serious about the quality of their diet. Of course an occasional indulgence probably wouldn't hurt, but given the lack of taste and other negative factors there's other products out there you'd probably enjoy better. Some related and much healthier alternatives are available below:

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