Shopping for coffee beans can be intimidating – until you learn what the descriptions and labels mean, and the flavors you can expect from each type of bean.
Super Coffee’s Super Creamer vs. Starbucks Coffee Creamer
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It was one of the biggest supermarket rollouts in quite some time.
In 2019 Starbucks began selling a line of coffee creamers inspired by its signature coffee drinks, in grocery stores around the country and through huge retailers like Walmart and Target.
It wasn’t surprising how popular the new creamers quickly became. After all, Starbucks is the biggest coffee house chain in the world, with more than 30,000 stores across the globe (more than half of them in the United States). And the numbers constantly show that more than 40 million Americans have visited a Starbucks in the previous 30 days.
Even so, the company was trying to break into a large, and very competitive, market.
The coffee creamer industry brings in nearly three billion dollars in the United States each year. And it’s dominated by two companies with decades of history in the market, Nestlé’s Coffee-Mate and WhiteWave’s International Delight. (Interestingly, Starbucks teamed with Nestlé to produce its new line of creamers.) Meanwhile, a number of newer entrants like Super Coffee’s Super Creamer are staking out the “healthier” coffee creamer territory.
Starbucks creamers have been relatively successful so far – although they’re not threatening to knock off Coffee-Mate or International Delight anytime soon. Meanwhile, sales of Super Creamer and other healthy creamers continue to grow.
As a coffee drinker, though, you’re probably not concerned with how much they sell. You’re concerned with how good they are.
Let’s compare Starbucks creamers and Super Creamer to find out.
Starbucks Creamers: The Details
Starbucks has been around for a long time, longer than most people realize; the company’s first store opened in Seattle in 1971. Three quick believe-it-or-not Starbucks details:
- The founders were inspired by one of the other chains you’re probably familiar with, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, which had opened its first store five years earlier.
- The Starbucks business model primarily focused on selling coffee beans and equipment. It wasn’t until 1987 that the company was sold and its huge expansion began.
- For a long time, Starbucks stores only sold beans and not coffee drinks. The first time you could get an espresso at Starbucks wasn’t until 1986.
Things are very different today, of course. When ranked by brand value, revenue and other factors, Starbucks is the #1 coffee brand in the world – and is essentially responsible for an entire generation of American coffee drinkers’ love of mochas, macchiatos, and naturally, pumpkin spice lattes.
For many years, you could only get a Starbucks coffee drink at Starbucks, even though there’s no shortage of “secret” recipes for them online. They already sold beans and ground coffee, and even K-cup pods for Keurig coffee makers.
But one of the company’s more recent goals was finding a way to let people enjoy the taste of Starbucks coffee drinks at home – for a price, of course. One way they did that was by creating their product line of ready-to-drink Starbucks single serve coffees.
And then they released their line of Starbucks liquid coffee creamers. The company says the creamers were “inspired” by their famous coffee drinks, and they really do make coffee taste an awful lot like it came from Starbucks.
What’s In Starbucks Coffee Creamers?
All of them contain sugar. Most also contain nonfat milk and heavy cream.
Among them: Starbucks caramel flavored creamer (inspired by caramel macchiato), white chocolate creamer (inspired by white chocolate mocha), toffeenut flavored creamer (inspired by toffeenut latte), cinnamon dolce creamer (inspired by cinnamon dolce latte), and hazelnut mocha creamer (inspired by hazelnut mocha latte). Most also contain buttermilk.
There are two non-dairy Starbucks creamers, caramel flavored and hazelnut flavored. They each contain almond milk and oat milk, as well as ingredients like potassium citrate, baking soda, pea protein and guar gum; all are natural ingredients that aren’t used in Starbucks dairy creamers. Gellan gum is used in all flavors as a gelling agent.
Clearly, creamers containing cream and sugar aren’t the best choices for those watching their calories, and only the non-dairy ones are suitable for those who are lactose-intolerant.
Let’s talk a little more about the sugar in Starbucks coffee creamer. Almost all of it is “added sugar,” and it’s largely responsible for the creamers’ high carbohydrate and calorie content, six grams of carbs and 40 calories in each standard serving size of one tablespoon. (The non-dairy varieties contain five grams of carbs and 30 calories per tablespoon.)
You might expect to see milk and sugar in coffee creamer. You might not assume that oil is in there as well, but it’s commonly used in commercial creamers to provide consistency. Starbucks uses a relatively-healthy type of vegetable oil for that purpose, high oleic soybean oil. The oil is mostly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids, so it’s lower in saturated fat (essentially, trans fat) than many other types of oil. Even so, it’s still vegetable oil.
What about flavorings? They’re natural, but that’s pretty much all that Starbucks says about them (except that cocoa powder is in their hazelnut mocha creamer). If you were hoping to discover exactly what’s in Starbucks coffee drinks that makes them so tasty – sorry, but you’ll have to look somewhere other than their ingredient labels.
Starbucks Coffee Creamer Flavors
We’ve already highlighted the staples of the Starbucks coffee creamer lineup. You can always find them in supermarkets, for sale in Starbucks stores, or at their website dedicated to retail sales, athome.starbucks.com.
They also have flavors which come and go. For example, salted caramel mocha creamer is available at times, and when the season rolls around, there’s a pumpkin spice creamer that will make your cup of coffee taste very much like a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. (The milk in the creamer isn’t frothed, of course; you’ll have to take care of that on your own.)
To completely honest, adding any of these creamers creates a delicious cup of coffee; they can even produce a great taste when added to cold coffee. Taste is subjective, needless to say, but perhaps the best of the bunch is the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato creamer. It miraculously makes you think that there are layers of buttery caramel, and hints of vanilla flavor, in your ordinary cup of coffee.
These creamers are sold in large containers (28 fl. oz. each) with a handy spout for pouring. Because of their milk and cream content, they do have to be refrigerated.
Super Coffee Super Creamer: The Details
Super Coffee has only been in operation for a few years. It started as a small company selling keto-friendly, ready-to-drink coffee loosely based on the “bulletproof coffee” that’s become so popular among keto dieters.
The success of its coffee led the company to produce a line of “Super Creamers.” They’re not designed just for those on keto, but for all coffee drinkers who want a healthy creamer that’s not loaded with sugar, vegetable oil and artificial ingredients.
What’s In Super Creamer?
There are three main ingredients in Super Coffee’s Super Creamer: purified water, monk fruit sweetener, and MCT oil. We don’t have to go into detail to describe water, but here’s what the other two ingredients are all about.
- Monk fruit sweetener is a zero-calorie, zero-carb, non-nutritive sugar alternative. It’s one of the primary “selling points” for Super Coffee, and it’s just as important in Super Creamer. Monk fruit extract has none of the drawbacks of artificial zero-calorie sweeteners, and it doesn’t cause the stomach distress that many other natural non-nutritive sweeteners are known for. It’s basically on the same level as stevia, but without the strong aftertaste.
- MCT oil is extracted from coconuts and is regularly used by keto dieters. It helps them with fat-burning while providing a number of other health benefits, including blood sugar control and heart health. To be clear, vegetable oil isn’t very healthy. MCT oil is.
That’s pretty much all you’ll find in Super Creamer, except for natural flavorings and a few all-natural additives that provide added protein (pea protein), calcium (calcium carbonate) and potassium (potassium phosphate). A few varieties like Sweet Cream do contain milk protein isolate instead of pea protein. Those flavors are still non-dairy, but not dairy-free or vegan-friendly.
Healthy ingredients produce impressive nutrition numbers. These creamers contain only 5-10 calories per tablespoon, very little fat, and no carbs at all.
Super Creamer Flavors
Super Creamer comes in seven flavors: vanilla, French vanilla, sweet cream, hazelnut, caramel, coconut mocha and “original.” The tastes aren’t overpowering, just tasty and satisfying. The best may be the French vanilla which adds a delicious sweetness to the coffee, but your taste buds may prefer a different variety.
These creamers are sold in large cartons (26 fl. oz.) and only have to be refrigerated after they’re opened.
Super Coffee’s Super Creamer vs. Starbucks Coffee Creamers: Which Is Better?
There’s no question about it: Starbucks creamers come very close to recreating the taste of some of the best-known Starbucks coffee drinks. Super Creamer, on the other hand, tastes quite good – but it won’t let you imagine that you’re sipping your coffee at a Starbucks. Disclaimer: it’s not supposed to.
Evaluating the two creamers side-by-side leaves one clear impression.
If you don’t care about calories, carbs or fat, Starbucks coffee creamer makes a cup of joe taste rich, decadent and yummy. Super Creamer clearly can’t come close on the basis of flavor alone.
However, the calories and carbs can add up in a hurry if you’re pouring Starbucks creamer into your coffee three, four or five times a day. For context, three tablespoons of the creamer contain 18 grams of carbs, which is almost all of the carbs you’re allowed in an entire day on keto. You’d also be consuming 120 calories just from three servings of coffee creamer.
Super Creamer is the obvious choice when it comes to health and wellness. It still adds great flavor to a cup of coffee, but with a fraction of the calories and carbohydrates, and a number of health benefits (thanks to the MCT oil) that Starbucks creamer can’t match.
If you have to get your cinnamon dolce latte or pumpkin spice fix every once in a while, the best of both worlds would be using Super Creamer on a regular basis – while keeping a container of Starbucks creamer hidden in the back of the fridge for special occasions.