Torq's gel is not just coffee-flavoured, but made with actual coffee from what Torq describes as 'an exceptionally large cafetiere'. Served as a drink you'd send it straight back, but as an inevitably sweet and synthetic gel, it's tasty, palatable and gives mind and body a good boost.
- Pros: Easy on tastebuds and stomachs, good late-ride caffeine hit
- Cons: Need alternatives for the rest of the ride, no bulk discount
While it's pleasantly coffee-ish, it's primarily a malty flavour. That's unsurprising given that maltodextrin (44 per cent) is the first ingredient listed, followed by real coffee (34 per cent) and fructose (19 per cent). It's sweet but not as sickly as some gels, and seems kind to the stomach.
In truth, the 'real coffee' part is actually just flavouring after all, as Torq uses a decaffeinated bean. It has to in order to precisely regulate the caffeine content, which is provided by extract of guarana (0.9 per cent), an Amazonian plant with beans twice as potent as coffee beans. It's a stimulant found in many energy drinks.
With 89mg of caffeine per 45g tube, the Caramel Latte sits at the high end of the 'single shot' range. I found it gave a hit that, if not quite instant, comes on smoothly and quickly for a useful mental boost. You wouldn't want to rely on these for the recommended 90g of carbohydrate per hour – with a relatively high 28.6g per tube, that's one every 20 minutes – for fear of wigging out on stimulant, but they combine neatly with other (uncaffeinated) products.
The packet's neatly designed too – it's easy to tear the top off (but not completely off) with your teeth and not get your hands covered in goo because the opening's quite small. And as the tear-off bit doesn't come off completely, you're not in danger of littering the road.
The price is reasonable against the competition at £1.85 per tube, but with an RRP of £27.75, there's zero discount for buying them by the box (15 gels), which seems a shame.
Pleasant flavour and caffeine boost make this an ideal late-ride emergency kick
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Torq Caramel Latte (With Guarana)
Size tested: 45g
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Torq says this gel is 'revolutionary', and that "Not only have we produced a new long-awaited variation of our caffeinated energy gel (incorporating natural Guarana to deliver 89mg of caffeine per tube), but this gel is actually crafted with real coffee."
It tastes good and works, but is not really revolutionary.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Torq says: "We roast our coffee beans just a few days before production and then brew an exceptionally large Cafetiere of real coffee, the contents of which are combined with natural caramel flavouring and the highly functional 2:1 Maltodextrin:Fructose energy matrix."
Noticeable lift a few minutes after consumption.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you going as well as any gel, with a decent caffeine boost.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Palatable, works well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Malty flavour is oddly reminiscent of sleepy bedtime drinks...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's competitive with caffeinated gels from the likes of SIS and High5, and cheaper than some – though buying in bulk (15) doesn't give any discount.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's debatable how much the 'real coffee' adds, as a) it's decaffeinated and b) it's slightly overwhelmed by malt flavour anyway. That said, it's perfectly pleasant and works as well as anything. So it's very good, but not exceptional, and the score reflects that.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking