Monin & Torani Syrups

Which brand?

Both Torani and Monin products are made with sucrose (cane or beet source) and are all natural flavors. Note that "natural" doesn't necessarily mean the Cherry syrup contains flavors from cherry juice, it means the Cherry syrup contains things from a natural source that are evocative of cherries. That might, or might not, include cherry juice. Monin products seems more likely than the Torani to contain the cherry juice.

Monin has some artificial colors, but no preservatives (which it could do with). The Monin bottle is much nicer than the Torani because it has a "glub-glub" type restrictor than makes for neater pouring. This couples with a plastic inner cap that provides a much more air-tight seal than the simple Torani lid. Again, because of the shorter shelf life and lack of preservatives, keeping air out is probably a good thing. In general, I think the Monin products are better that the equivalent Torani's, but note the Monin's are also usually more expensive than Torani by a buck or two, nor do they last as long on the shelf.

Torani is an "extract" style syrup, while Monin is more like a "concentrate" or "juice". Unfortunately Monin flavors don't seem to be as stable as Torani in storage. The average Torani syrup is probably still OK after 2 years, the average Monin about 6 months.



Plastic or Glass?

Plastic is cheaper to ship and easier to store.  The problem is oxygen permeability, in plastic containers O2 get through them and oxidizes the flavors.  If you are running a chain of 200 coffee shops with fast turnover, the plastic is better as it is cheaper to ship, easier to handle and you aren't going to have it sitting around long enough to go off.  If you have a mom-and-pop shop or for home use, get glass.


Testing, testing

My first method was simply to taste a teaspoon of the syrup in question. This method turned out to be giving some false negatives. Mango, for example, is repulsive straight from the bottle.

I still taste them "straight", but my preferred test is to dilute them 3 to 1 with soda water. This approximates the actual concentration of the finished product, but gives a better sampling of the aroma and flavors. Mango at this dilution is quite tolerable

Sometimes the formula changes (or perhaps the quality control improves), these results are from the last sample I tested. Some flavors can move up or down the scale, most recently both Torani Kiwi and Lime moved up from "ick" to "ok", while Torani Lemon recently moved up from "ok" to "good". Progress, I guess.  I'm now going to mark the date of the test in the results.


The Flavors (roughly in order of overall yumminess)

The Best! Buy these! Yum!

Torani Boysenberry
Ultra Yummy! Very complex, rich flavor.
Torani Pink Grapefruit
Yummy! Very much like a real ruby grapefruit.
Has some shelf stability problems.
Torani Blackberry
Yum!
Torani Raspberry
Yum!
Monin Strawberry
Perfect!
Monin Almond (Orgeat)
Unexpectedly yummy!
Monin Kiwi
A Kiwi done right.
Torani Blueberry
Good. A simple blueberry, no surprises.
Torani Tamarindo
Great! A must have if you like Tamarind.
Torani Watermelon
(2012) Good watermelon is hard to find, pretty good considering.
Torani Cherry Lime
(2012) Tastes exactly like it should.
Monin Raspberry
Not perfect, but very very Good.
Torani Lemon
A rich lemon.
Torani Mandarin Orange
Yup, very orangy!
Torani Vanilla
A rich, natural vanilla.
Monin Caramel
Good.

Not great, not terrible. OK to buy.

Torani Apple
Good, but a little one-dimensional.
Torani Cranberry
Good, but could have more unique cranberry taste.
Torani Kiwi
Good.
Torani Lime
Very lime.
Torani Grape
(2012 re-test, moved down to "OK")
Just OK, Now has some candy/artificial notes.
Torani Classic Root Beer
Reasonable.
Torani French Vanilla
OK, but not unique enough.
Torani Melon
OK. Seems to share alot with "peach".
Torani Strawberry
Simple, but ok. Vaguely cherry-like. Get the Monin instead.
Torani Peach
OK. Seems to share a lot with "melon".
Torani Pineapple
More like cheap pineapple candy than pineapple juice.
Torani Mango
OK.
Torani Cherry
Hmmm, well, OK. Has a candy/cough-syrupy note.
Torani Apricot
OK. Not very apricot-like.
Monin Mandarine
Nothing remarkable, kinda evocative of mandarin oranges.
Torani Huckleberry
(2012) Unfortunately this Torani berry isn't so great.

Ick! Don't buy these!

Torani Creme de Banana
"Creme de" must be French for "Nothing Like"
Monin Swiss Chocolate Syrup
I've never has a good chocolate syrup, this is no exception.
Torani Coffee
Yuck. And I _love_ coffee. Has some funny non-coffee notes.
Torani Caramel
Funny liquor notes, but not caramel.
Monin Grapefruit
My sample was very bitter, like grapefruit seed. Might have been a stability problem.


Monin Teas

Monin makes a line of 5 sweetened tea concentrates.

Monin Rasberry Tea
??? Tea + Raspberry flavor
Excellent, yummy!
Monin Lemon Tea
??? Tea + Lemon flavor
Great! Has a nice Lime note too!
Monin Tea
Celon Tea
Pretty good.
Monin Peach Tea
China Oolong Tea + Peach flavor
OK.
Monin Mango Tea
Ceylon Tea + Mango Favor
Not so good.
 
 

 

Be sure to visit the real (corporate) Torani, Monin and Da Vinci web sites for ideas and recipes. If you are a manufacturer and want me to test (or re-test) a product, drop me a line.

 

 

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