ItalyProduct: Caldo Caldo Cappuccino
On Wednesday we all arrived at work to find that, overnight, our locked offices had been broken in to (apparently the maintenance department, or someone equally ominous, has keys to all our rooms) so that a bunch of promotional crap could be placed on our desks. These included a buttermilk rusk and a rebranded, mysterious self-heating cappuccino product. The campaign was to advertise a new web site and its many services, and the bribes were to encourage us to sign up. (As if.)

Caldo Caldo Cappuccino

Most fascinating was the fancy self-heating cappuccino. Although the Cappuccino Quest is about restaurants, clubs, and bars, and their baristas, I'm including this product in the Cappuccino Quest due to its novelty factor, and the fact that I was freaked out by it (and the breaking into our offices thing) for two days, until I got around to looking up calcium chloride, which is mentioned all over the container, along with warnings about how you should avoid it.

The fancy heating effect is created using calcium chloride [?]. You turn the container upside down and push in the base, which releases water in a secret storage area into a second secret storage area that houses the calcium chloride. You then shake the container, still upside down, for about 40 seconds to mix the water with the calcium chloride. Due to its particular hydroscopic [?] properties, when calcium chloride is mixed with moisture it dissolves. This process is exothermic [?], which means that heat is released.

None of this is properly documented on the container. Instead it just has little pictures showing you how to shake it and massive warnings not to open the sealed compartment. I had to find out how all of this happens via the Internet.

I didn't drink mine for a number of reasons:
• I don't drink science experiments.
• One of the ingredients is "gelatin" and I am a vegetarian.
• I don't drink drinks that are, essentially, bribes.

The Fascinating "Warnings And Instructions For Use":
• Do not pierce or cut the container either before or after use
• The central and bottom part of the cup (here below represented in dashed and white) contain calcium chloride: do not touch or swallow
• Cappuccino is contained in an aluminium cup and has no contact with calcium chloride
• The container may become very hot
• Do not heat in other ways (e.g. oven, microwave oven)
• Keep out of reach of children under eight
[A cross-section diagram of the container and its compartments is printed underneath]

* My apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. We didn't have a better camera available.

ItalyProduct Information
Manufacturer: Nuovo Bit srl, Italy
Description: Freaky self-heating coffee in a plastic container
Ingredients: Water, coffee infusion (30%), milk proteins, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable fat, flavourings, maltodextrins, sodium caseinate, emulsifiers (E472a, E472b, E471), dextrose, gelatin, wheat starch, stabiliser (E407), colouring (E160b)
Nutritional Information (100ml): Energetic value: 71kcal/302 Kj, proteins: 2.3g, fats: 1g, carbohydrates: 13.3g

South Opinion
Where: In an office in Cape Town, South Africa
When: 12 July 2006
Size: About three mouthfuls (75ml) - not even close to regular [3/10]
Foam: Absolutely none [0/10]
Heat: Depends on your shaking skill - ranges from completely cold to incredibly hot [no rating]
Coffee: One person said it was sweet, a second said it was far too sweet, and a third said it tasted like coffee that's been made with milk that's gone sour (no one seemed impressed, and a few tossed theirs without tasting it) [2/10]
Price: No idea [no rating]
Overall: Avoid (bit of a guess, since I didn't go anywhere near it) [2/10]
Posted by: Mandy J Watson Comments