Coffee has reached the point in the popularity lifecycle where just about anything you can imagine has a coffee-flavored variant. Some are cool and interesting, others less so. The real losers in coffee’s resurgence in the cultural zeitgeist—as well as its shoehorning into literally any product that will have it (coffee-flavored car fenders? Sure why not?)—are the already existing coffee and coffee-adjacent companies. How are they going to cash in on the coffee craze? Make coffee-flavored coffee?
Well, if you’re Coffee Mate, it turns out the answer is yes. Those venerable makers of the creamer some folk use to make their coffee taste less like coffee have announced two new coffee-flavored creamers. Now your Coffee Mate tastes like coffee, mate.
Known as Unlocked by Coffee Mate, the new flavor series is “designed to turn your kitchen into your favorite neighborhood coffee shop,” which is word salad of the highest order (unless you’re this guy). Sounds more like it’s designed to turn your kitchen into your kitchen. Scheduled to hit “grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide” in January 2021, Unlocked by Coffee Mate will come in both “Classic Colombian” and “Italian Espresso Roast” flavor options.
Media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously quoted, “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” which is like a fancy way of calling this a chicken-or-the-egg sort of situation. The entire point of creamer is to alter the coffee in some appreciable way, and more often than not, as a means of covering up undesired bitterness. Now Coffee Mate wants their users mask that bitter flavor with…Italian Espresso Roast? It’s like if your mouth was on fire from eating spicy food and I handed you a glass of milk with chopped up ghost peppers in. With friends like these, know what I mean?
To be clear, my stance here is not anti-creamer. I actually guilty pleasure love Coffee Mate. Give me any other flavor from original to creme brulee, French vanilla to coconut creme, peppermint latte to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and it’s a party. Heck, I’ll blast some pumpkin spice in there (’tis the season). But if you are trying to cajole me into a flavor option that tastes like the thing I am trying to get rid of I have to wonder if we are perhaps truly facing the collapse of history.