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Does RTD stand for “ready-to-drink,” “ready-to-dump,” or “really tastes dope”?
Coffee in a can? It might sound great to brew-lovers who subscribe to the RTD life (that’s “ready-to-drink,” for the uninitiated). However, it seems that the latest grab-and-guzzle offering from the brand Chamberlain Coffee has sparked more nuanced reactions than expected.
It also got us asking ourselves which of our RTD go-to’s pack the best punches of taste, nutrition, and energy. Let’s discuss.
Chamberlain Coffee — the company founded by YouTuber and avid coffee fan Emma Chamberlain — is only 3 years old but has already built a reputation for eclectic offerings. From variety packs of single-serve cold brew to branded Mason jars, steel straws, and other accessories, this Gen Z brand has plenty of flavor.
It recently joined the growing RTD menu with its flavored canned coffee line, featuring:
- Cold Brew Latte
- Cinnamon Bun Latte
- Vanilla Latte
- Mocha Latte
Chamberlain hopes that the way this new cold brew on the block is made will set it apart from the competition. According to the brand’s website, the product is dairy-free (made with almond and coconut milk), has only 1 gram of sugar, and is made without preservatives or artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
“I’ve been looking for my perfect RTD coffee for years and never really found it, and that really inspired me to make it myself,” Chamberlain said in an interview with Forbes.
She added that her flavor choices were inspired by a mix of classic, universal favorites with a bit of the fun and unexpected thrown in.
You can find this latte line sold exclusively at your local Walmart or online — a partnership formed to make the product more accessible to everyday consumers, according to Chamberlain Coffee CEO Christopher Gallant.
Well, that’s where things get a little dicey. Obviously, taste preferences, like most experiences, will vary from person to person. But the immediate reactions from TikTok taste-testers have been a mixed bag.
Click here if you want to read a roundup of some very opinionated (and very expressive) reviews, but here are three fairly balanced standouts:
So far, the consensus seems to point to an “A” grade for Chamberlain’s can designs and a “C” to “C+” average for overall taste.
To be fair, though, the brand does state that for best results, you need to shake the can well and serve the drink cold, and it’s tough to confirm how many have done that before cracking it open.
Here’s a quick look at some Healthline editors’ top on-the-go drink choices and why they love them:
Candice Abellon, Healthline Senior Editor
Favorite on-the-go drink: Rise Oat Milk Latte
Why it’s my favorite: “Other than being quick and tasty, there’s nitrogen added to it, which to me mimics the experience of getting a drink from a coffee house that’s rich and frothy. It’s a great drink to grab when I have to run out the door or for car trips.”
How often I drink it: “If I’m stocked up, I usually have one weekly. If not, I may grab a can from the grocery store a couple times a month.”
Christy Snyder, Healthline Editor
Favorite on-the-go drink: Liquid Death Flavored Sparkling Water
Why it’s my favorite: “It’s lightly sweetened with agave without a strange aftertaste, and it’s available in multiple flavors. I like them all, but melon is my recent fave.”
How often I drink it: “I get them about once weekly as a treat. They’re 19 ounces, which is a lot, but I love the flavor, and the brand marketing makes me giggle.”
Chelsea Logan, Healthline Senior Editor
Favorite on-the-go-drink: Chameleon Cold Brew
Why it’s my favorite: “It’s really good, with a nice flavor, but it’s not sweet at all. My favorite is the vanilla one, but the other flavors sound delicious.”
How often I drink it: “If it’s hot outside, this is my go-to daily coffee rather than brewing hot coffee.”
Catherine Conelly, Healthline Editor
Favorite on-the-go drink: GT’s Kombucha
Why it’s my favorite: “I love that this kombucha doesn’t have any added sugar. There’s a decent variety of flavors, but Guava Goddess and Mystic Mango are my favorites. And if I’m going to reach for a ready-made drink, I like the fact that it’s doing something good for my gut.”
How often I drink it: “Usually a couple of times per week.”
Kelli McGrane, MS, RD, Healthline Nutrition Editor II
Favorite on-the-go drink: Spindrift Pineapple Sparkling Water
Why it’s my favorite: “Spindrift has just the right amount of carbonation and is sweetened with real fruit juice rather than artificial flavors or sweeteners. The Pineapple flavor, in particular, has been my go-to for a summery drink sans alcohol.”
How often I drink it: “During the warmer months, I drink it almost every day.”
Chamberlain canned coffee might not be a hit for everyone, but we definitely applaud the ambition. If nothing else, it can inspire us to audit our beverage choices and make any needed adjustments.
Speaking of cold brew, here’s our full list of the best ones available, including organic, protein-rich, and unsweetened options.