Food For Thought: Flavor of the Month


Hannah Agpoon

Graphic by Hannah Agpoon.

Gabby Hernandez, Contributing Writer

I developed the most villainous caffeine dependency since returning to Grinnell. I cannot reach my peak of productivity without a shot. This is in part because of my roommate’s espresso machine; that espresso always tastes like divine adrenaline, but sometimes I just need a coffee from Saints Rest to power up slowly and flavorfully.

 I have been a fan of the concept of a flavor of the month since Dairy Queen began producing s’mores blizzards. With the end of September and thus the end of Saints’ signature flavor of the month, salted caramel, I come to you with my verdict on the special beverages at Saints. My evaluation of each will be so thickly described that you will be able to imagine how they tasted if you missed the chance to try them!

The Salted Nutroll is far superior to its rival, the Starbucks salted caramel frappuccino, in texture. When drinking Starbucks frappuccinos, I have found that my mouth is frequently left with a lingering coffee texture profoundly similar to the ugly gray slush found on car windows during cold weather, the kind of texture that is characteristic of unremarkable coffee. The Salted Nutroll instead has a smooth and creamy texture similar to that of an iced chai from the Grill.

If you wish to imagine the flavor of the Salted Nutroll, I encourage you to imagine the smooth texture and campfire-esque essence of a gently used Scrabble tile condensed into an iced beverage. This beverage is perfect for maintaining a positive mindset while working in Burling Library, and if you are not wearing your favorite autumn sweater as you sip on this lightly chilled beverage, you are doing it wrong. The only downside is that it does not come with whipped cream and caramel-flavored syrup. The Salted Nutroll is significantly less sweet than two of the other special beverages for September, so if your sweet tooth is not the most demanding, this drink is for you!

If you wish to imagine the flavor of the Salted Nutroll, I encourage you to imagine the smooth texture and campfire-esque essence of a gently used Scrabble tile condensed into an iced beverage.

When I was handed my Salted Cream Soda, a non-caffeinated specialty beverage, I was warned not to stir it. This warning, the drink’s appearance and its flavor all caught me by surprise. It was snow white in color with whipped cream to top it off. It felt like the first intense autumn breeze: there to warn you of the impending winter months.

With my first sip of the Salted Cream Soda, I was met with a startling sweetness that I could not put my finger on. It was not sweet in the way of candy or syrup; the soda possessed a primordial sweetness that surpassed even warm gooey butter cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Halfway through chugging it, I realized that Saints’ Salted Cream Soda was essentially a cream soda float that I could consume without facing the digestional distress that accompanies dairy.

The Salted Cream Soda is the perfect drink for creating a to-do list for the week. I should warn you that this drink is not suited for those who think a cream soda float is too sweet, as the primary flavor of it is simply sweet.

The Salted Cold Brew was quite the underdog out of the list of specialty beverages. I usually prefer unbridled sweetness like that of the Salted Cream Soda, but the thin and crispy texture of this cold brew made my tastebuds crackle with the same joy as a campfire receiving fresh wood. My first sip was remarkably light, and I met the same pleasant and flavorful surprise as the first time I tried coffee-flavored ice cream.

The best way to describe the Salted Cold Brew is as Gold Peak Iced Tea with a hint of coffee. Its smooth fluidity flowed through me more naturally than water. In this cold brew, I was able to catch a glimpse of what the nectar of the gods must taste like. As far as its appearance is concerned, the Salted Cold Brew is a beautifully transparent brown only slightly darker than whiskey. This beverage made me feel as though I could plow through seven biochem labs back-to-back (even though I have not taken a lab science since my first semester at Grinnell).

Ultimately though, I will always remember Saints as the place I met my true love: the Salty Turtle. This specialty beverage can be consumed in a hot or cold form, though the cold one is far more satisfying with respect to caffeine content, splendid flavor and raw positivity. I could not stop drinking it after I took my first sip. The Salty Turtle has the perfect balance of all-consuming sweetness and productive caffeine content, such that shortly after chugging half of it in one breath I was bouncing off the walls of Saints and plowing through my assigned reading. In my fervor, I splattered countless drops of coffee on my pages.

When I imagine the flavor of the Salty Turtle, I cannot help but assign the same satisfaction to it as I would to biting into your favorite scented candle, assuming there would be no negative consequences from heat or wax. My cup was overflowing with flavor, and the only thing I longed for was a larger cup. The Salty Turtle is far more flavorful than the Salted Cold Brew and Salted Nutroll and is much more manageable in sweetness than the Salted Cream Soda. This is the drink to watch out for next time Saints’ flavor of the month is Salted Caramel.