What could be better than a delicious iced chocolate buzz on a mid-afternoon summer slump? The new I.C. Mocha Almond from Panera Bread is the newest addition to a slew of iced coffee drinks this summer, and I was one of the first to try it at my local Panera Bread store. After waiting in line behind the crowd of regular iced latte and mocha drinkers, I forged ahead with the featured special.
The I.C. Mocha Almond is advertised as an attractive concoction of iced milk flavored with a special mocha blend, and topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut sprinkles. Notice that the word coffee or espresso are not mentioned anywhere. There’s a reason for that; the ‘Mocha’ is just a flavor, as the I.C. Mocha Almond is simply version of iced chocolate milk.
The disappointment of realizing this after reviewing the nutrition facts created a further slump for my day. I wasn’t looking for a sugar buzz, and needed my afternoon jolt of caffeine; thankfully my brain was still buzzing from the morning’s cup o’ joe, as I realized I could add a shot of espresso if I wanted to. Still, I was disappointed at the I.C. Mocha Almond’s lack of caffeine-based energy.
The drink itself is akin to a very sweet, iced milk; mine was a little watered down it seemed, perhaps too much of the ‘icy’ and not enough flavoring. The mocha almond is from a mix and is added to the milk in the form of a syrup. Consulting the ingredients list once again showed me that the ‘choconut almond syrup’ is made of: “high fructose corn syrup, cocoa, natural flavors, water, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, glycerine, cocoa extract, chocolate liquor, potassium sorbate as a preservative, vanilla extract, salt, and citric acid.” All of that and they couldn’t have added a shot or two of espresso? I suppose the caffeine fiend in us has to rely on the chocolate and high sugar content.
The I.C. Mocha Almond is available in both Grande (16 oz.) and Largo (20 oz.) The Grande ranks in at a hefty 540 calories and 34 g of fat, while the Largo takes it away with 650 calories and 40 g of fat. I decided I would be much better off with a sugar buzz from fruit if I was that desperate, and could spare the fat consumption for a real dessert any day! If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, do try the I.C. Honeydew Green Tea (look for my other review on this one). You’ll save your calories and daily fat for a much better cause, and may even benefit from a tea-based drink. Still, if a high-fat and sugary chocolate flavor suit you better on a midsummer afternoon, the I.C. Mocha Almond from Panera bread awaits!