Chike! Iced Coffee! Review! Let’s do this.
So whenever I am trying something new, I always do the 360 first. Gives me an opportunity to see how well it is packaged and I TRY to look at it from the perspective of someone who may not be quite familiar with food product packaging.
From the front of the single-serve packet alone we can tell that Chike:
- Is made with REAL espresso coffee (two shots worth!). This means it does have caffeine in it so if you aren’t allowed caffeine yet, take heed!
- Has 20g of whey protein (although the front cover doesn’t tell you what kind…we’ll get to that in a moment).
- It has no gluten or aspartame (thank goodness on the later as I HATE aspartame)
- Has 23 vitamins and minerals (I admit…that sort of information is about the least important to me as a RNYer who likely won’t absorb most of those vitamins and minerals anyway, but it’s good to know, yes?)
Now the back packaging also has some good nuggets of information.
- Each serving has 130 calories, 9g carbs, 2g sugar and 20g protein. If you read my Nutrition Label Series, you know it exceeds my personal calories:protein standards by having more than 1g protein for every 10 calories.
- On the right side it gives you a plethora of options on how to mix the stuff. I am USUALLY a blender girl but the friendly rep at Chike assured me you can make this stuff, with water, in a blender bottle or even in a covered bottle without a blender ball or mesh and it will still not clump. I admit I was dubious. More about that in a moment)
- So about the whey question…it is, as many proteins are, a mixure of whey isolate and whey concentrate. For some of you this may seem problematic. For me, it’s a non-issue. I did blends throughout my losing phase and landed on the other side 155 lbs. lighter and a whopping 8 dress sizes smaller. Just sayin’.
One thing the packaging alone does not tell you is that this is meant to be a protein supplement, not a meal replacement like their other powders. What’s the difference? I asked our friendly Chike rep who said that the amount of calories in a meal replacement are meant to do just that, replace a meal. This is more like a snack. Or a “tide you over until you can get to a meal” or, more likely for most of us, sneak some protein into something we’d probably drink anyway.
Look/Smell: So every time I read other’s product reviews I feel like I am not aesthetic enough with mine (hence this whole section). I rarely sniff stuff. I have an iron pouch so something has to be REALLY nasty for me to reject it. But in this case I did sniff and it smelled like coffee with a whiff of vanilla. There. I did it. Once. It looks like vanilla protein with some coffee in it. Here, lookit:
Texture: So the assertion that it would not clump intrigued me. To be fair, I didn’t believe it. So when I went to try this I did so assuming I would get lumps and get to report that to you. I wasn’t trying to be a hater. It’s just that no protein I have EVER tried has blended completely smoothly in a blender bottle.
But here, is the powder and water in the blender cup:
And here it is a few shakes later:
Now may I draw your attention to a few things? First, no lumps! (I was shocked and I stand corrected…I’m sorry I doubted you, Chike!) but also lookit. Minimal foam! I know foam bugs the HELL outta some of you so I needed to point that out.
And as a bonus, here is the shake after it has sat for about 10 minutes. I’ve been sipping as I’m typing this. But look.
No separation! I like that. I like that a lot. BUT…for me it all comes down to the taste.
Taste: In the last few years I’ve started to better appreciate the taste of actual coffee and have stopped drowning it in a sea of creamer. If that’s you as well, you’ll appreciate the flavor of Chike. You are supposed to blend it with 10 oz. of cold water. You can add more if you want a weaker flavor, less for a more intense flavor. I found 10 oz. to be just about right.
Now even though this was not advertised as a vanilla drink, it does have vanilla undertones. I have a theory about that. I think the vanilla is for aroma’s sake. I don’t think there can be a truly odorless whey protein. There’s either light vanilla or monkey’s ass. I vote for the vanilla.
ME personally…I would have preferred this with 8 oz. milk. I like the creamy element. Not that the iced coffee was lacking anything. I just have a thing about richness and milk would give that to me. Perhaps a bit of Davinci sugar-free hazelnut would have been nice too.
But all in all, I liked it! Hell, I drank it. And that says volumes because I don’t care how many samples you give me, if it’s nasty, I’m not doing it. Nope. Nuh-uh.
So should YOU buy it?
Ok so I’m a single mom (meaning I am perpetually broke) so I had to look at this from a value perspective as well. Here are my personal findings.
- Chike Protein Coffee comes in single serving packets that cost $2.25 each or $2.00 each if you order 10 or more
- This is about 50-75 cents more expensive than the protein coffee I make at home and has about 11-ish less grams of protein
- BUT…this product also beats my homemade protein coffee by about 80 calories and 12g of carbs. In post-op life (especially as you get further out) you HAVE to measure calories saved as a marker of value right along with money and time. If something is healthy and saves you from eating too many crappy calories, it really is worth considering.
- …and it really did work like a snack in my pouch. It held me about two-ish hours, which would make it the PERFECT thing to have on my way out the door at work (or what I call “the danger zone” wherein it’s been a few hours since lunch and at least two more until dinner and Nik has a tendency to dive head-first into something she knows DAMN well she should not eat. Yeah…that time.)
So in my estimation here’s how ALL this information I’ve given you relates to whether or not you should try this product:
- If you are a coffee lover who is allowed to have some caffeine
- You’re looking for a mix that is both tasty, easy to mix and convenient to carry
- But you don’t want to drink a whole meals worth of calories
- …And especially if you’re one of those “Starbucks” people
Then, yes, I would say this is a wise investment for you. The coffee flavor rings through nicely, it’s basically “idiot-proof” in its mixing and especially if you don’t like the creamy shakes and want to go with something water-based, this is a great option.