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August 6, 2020

It’s worth it to take risks. To kill my curiosity, I purchased online new generation instant coffee and sustainable bamboo toilet paper. With reasonable pricing and free shipping, there was nothing to lose. Coffee and toilet paper are two essentials where consistent quality, especially in Covid times, is imperative. I always buy locally, but when these essentials are hard to come by, I resort to online buying, short of venturing out to congested supermarkets.

When the small box of Swift Cup instant coffee was delivered, I set it on the patio table and stared at it, excited that it arrived on August 3, a Monday. I had just ordered it on Friday, July 31. Now that’s service.

I waited for Jacqueline to come into the kitchen to do a tasting together. I bought “The Essentials” package of three kinds of coffee – Mainstay, Ethiopia, and Brazil. Packaging was simple yet sophisticated (6 packets per box). Each packet makes 10 oz, enough for two cups. And the ceremony was simple: empty a packet into a cup, pour in hot water, stir, sip and savor.

First, we tried the sample packet of instant from El Salvador, a mild coffee. We looked at each other with approving eyes. I tasted citrus. Its lovely lightness reminded me of a rose wine. When I added a little sweetener, the flavors emerged even more. Jacqueline really liked the floral notes and mild acidity.

Next, we tasted Mainstay (African and Latin American coffee blend), a medium, slightly bolder coffee. Jacqueline tasted chocolate notes, red fruit, citrus and leather. Delicious!

The Ethiopian and Brazilian coffees were equally wonderful, bolder in taste, with their own exciting nuances. Suffice it to say, we are fans of instant coffee reborn. New instant freeze-drying methods have brilliantly succeeded in preserving robust coffee flavors.

At $1.99 per packet ($35.95 total, including shipping, no tax), I would call this a good buy.

Now, Jacqueline prefers to start her day with instant. I, a creature of habit, will keep to my morning ritual with Don Francisco coffee grounds brewed in the vintage percolator. But I will save my effortless instant moment for the afternoons.

Then yesterday, a much larger box arrived filled with 24 rolls of Reel bamboo toilet paper. I had placed the order on August 3.

With the Exacto knife, I carefully opened the box. The individually wrapped rolls looked more like a birthday present. Of course, I took a photo to remember this virgin moment.

Okay, so the packaging is very lovely. But how good is the TP? I gently unwrapped one roll. The texture of the TP looked really nice with a miniscule pillow-like pattern. So far so good. Then came the find-the-first-square test. And there it was, easy to see and easy to lift. It didn’t tear the next layer of paper to which it was ever-so-delicately adhered.

Then came the point of no return. This paper is great! I remembered reading a review that the paper is soft, but strong. Quality perforations allow for clean tears. And it didn’t fall apart when “moistened.” Thus, less paper is used. Thus, the roll lasts longer. We shall see. (Louie just told me that it’s great for blowing his nose! Oh dear.)

Not only has bamboo toilet paper gone beyond my expectations, Reel’s philosophy of sustainability agrees with my family’s sensibilities. Because bamboo fibers make high quality products (it’s part of the grass family), not a single tree is sacrificed. It’s biodegradable. And because other parts of the world are not lucky enough to have the use of toilets, Reel’s proceeds help to “fund access to clean toilet options for those in need.”

Now that I’m convinced of the quality and pricing (24 rolls at $32.83 total, including shipping and tax comes out to $1.36 per roll), I am ready to start a subscription for regular and free delivery.

Most of all, we’re doing something good for our planet.

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