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We Taste Test Grumpy Cat's Grumppuccino -- Grumpily

A bottled coffee beverage isn't nearly as fun as trying to imitate the sneering cat who sells it.

 |  Oct 23rd 2013  |   8 Contributions


A cat needs coffee like that proverbial unattended child in the coffeehouse needs an espresso, a brownie, and a free puppy. Caffeine is toxic to cats, our sources tell us, (thank the almighty that the same isn’t true for Cat Dandies), and I would never let Thomas test that bit of veterinary knowledge. Yet a closer examination reveals that even though they can’t drink it, cats love to advertise, supply, contain, and (ahem) produce coffee for humans. For example, Starbucks’ Sumatra coffee is represented by a tiger. There’s a retailer called Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley, California, and another by the same name in Santa Barbara. A supplier based in New Hampshire calls itself Big Cat Coffee. An outfit known as Coffee Cat Pottery makes coffee mugs whose handles are the tails of the cats depicted on the vessels themselves. Last year, we here at Catster HQ brewed and sampled coffee that’s made from cat poop.

Leave it to Grumpy Cat -- an Internet celebrity feline who has the business savvy to get a movie deal -- to walk the path carved by other cats giving coffee to jittery humans eager for shocks to their tired central nervous systems. As we’ve told you, Grumpy Cat (whose real name is Tardar Sauce) recently introduced a line of iced-coffee concoctions known as Grumppuccino. Here at Catster, because we want to know all we can about cats, including their sources of income and their taste in brewed beverages, we ordered some.

A cat with her own letterhead -- you've got to admire that.

The grumpiness began right away when we learned we couldn’t order just three or four Grumppuccinos, but that they were available only by the case. (That has since changed, according to the website.) So, wanting to sample more than one flavor, we ordered three cases -- one vanilla, one mocha, one called, well, just “coffee.”

Some weeks later, they arrived. We headed to the basement here at 180 Townsend St. in San Francisco with intent to sample.

How did it taste? I can’t speak for everyone I work with who tried Grumppuccino, but at the same time I dare any of them to disagree with the following assessment. Upon taking a drink of vanilla, my reaction went something like this:

“Hmmm. Well, it’s not ba-- uh, well, it’s … that is to say, it’s kind of … well … I might describe it as … hmmm.”

The mocha and the “coffee” flavors produced the same non-reaction. The flavor was so unremarkable that I took repeated samples, certain that I’d missed something or that I’d been preoccupied with other thoughts while taking the previous sip.

My conclusion? It’s definitely a drink. It’s definitely sweet. (Maybe.) It certainly has a coffee flavor. (I think.) It’s better cold than at room temperature. (Or not.) I want more. (Except not really.) But maybe I do. (I still have three unopened bottles at home, and they whisper “Open me!” every time I look at them.)

Having exhausted the “foodie” part of the experience, I turned to the expressive and artistic. I proposed that each of us make a face approximating Grumpy Cat’s perpetual sneer while holding a sample of her product.

I believe my “grumpy face” is the closest to that of Tardar Sauce herself. Just the same, let’s see how everyone else did.

I take it back. Community Manager Lori Malm (left) does pretty good here. Anna Zeman, who’s a social media analyst for Catster’s parent company, Say Media, looks vaguely disaffected.

"Before I die ... I want to get inside the mind of Grumpy Cat."

Anna reclined after her tasting, putting on a look that was determined yet decidedly puzzled.

Here are Social Media Manager Liz Acosta and Editor-in-Chief Janine Kahn giving grumpy (and maybe perplexed) looks.

Our top-notch illustrator, Nigel Sussman, gets his grump on.

Here’s me giving it another go, just ‘cause.

On Friday I took three bottles home to repeat the photographic endeavor with my girlfriend, Daphne, and my handsome lad of a tabby, Thomas.

Product placement: If you're wondering, that little sculpture behind Daphne is one of mine, called "Cyclops."

Daphne might win. She gets the frown-curvature nearly perfect, and she mimics Grumpy Cat’s rightward gaze -- something I missed in my attempt.

"What can I do for you, Cat Dandy?"

Thomas didn’t really try at first, although he does look damn cute, regardless of the Grumppuccino.

"Colors! I see so many colors!"

Here he moves toward the interpretive (and maybe comical), behaving as though he’s just been on a catnip bender with the bottle.

Here’s another, just because he held the pose long enough for me to take several.

How about you? Have you tried Grumppuccino? Do you care? Why do you think cats love to give us coffee? What do you think about Grumpy Cat’s movie deal? And what about that cat-poo brew? Would you try it? (I didn't.) Tell us in the comments.

Cat Dandy spends much of his life fully caffeinated:

About Keith Bowers: This broad-shouldered, bald-headed, leather-clad motorcyclist also has passions for sharp clothing, silver accessories, great writing, the arts, and cats. This career journalist loves painting, sculpting, photographing, and getting on stage. He once was called "a high-powered mutant," which also describes his cat, Thomas. He is senior editor at Catster and Dogster. 

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