When Sheetz sends you coupons for a bevy of free items in exchange for promotional consideration on your blog, it’s real dilemma. One the one hand, I’m a man of virtue and integrity; not one that would sell out to the first company trying to win my favor with free products. On the other hand, I totally love Sheetz. Since I first witnessed someone ordering a pair of nacho cheese covered hot dogs from a touch screen, I completely bought into what Sheetz was doing. So, does reviewing products I love on my site mean I’m selling out? No. It only means that I’m continuing to buy in – to a variety of conveniently delicious MTO foods and drinks.
Since the kind folks at corporate were nice enough to give me, among other things, five coupons for free Sheetz Bros MTO items, I set out on an experiment. Could Sheetz drinks fulfill the desires of my taste buds for 5 consecutive days? Luckily, there is a Sheetz within walking distance of my work in “downtown” Kittanning that I utilized to test this theory.
DAY ONE: Rolling into the touchscreen haven on a Monday morning, I decided to start with the familiar: one medium iced mocha, no flavors, dark chocolate, no whip cream. I resisted the temptation get poke-happy and overindulge in the numerous options and upgrades. I was looking forward to simplicity to really taste the ingredients. What did I think? I thought this was really good. This drink was similar to my review of Dunkin Donuts Oreo Iced Coffee that called that product a good drink, but not a coffee drink. The chocolate in the mocha is so overwhelming that you lose all sensory acknowledgment of any beans being in the mix. That said, the drink is pleasing, thick, and smooth.
DAY TWO: My afternoon break required something in a completely different direction from the day before. The Sheetz touchscreen was advertising milkshakes, but I had no idea how to order one. I stared and poked endlessly at the screen until I moved to the “new items” button. That was the key that unlocked the door to milkshake land. Twix bars, Oreos, or chocolate chips are the available mix-ins with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams serving as the base. Finished off with a swirl and whipped cream gives the buyer some good options, but I was surprised that the options were limited in that you cannot get Twix with Oreo, or chocolate with caramel swirl. Even for an upgraded price, there was no ability to add multiple customizations. If I want diabetes, I want it now. Why is Sheetz standing in my way? When the drink was ready for pick up, I knew right off this was a serious drink. Chunks of Twix that were small enough to slurp through the straw with smooth ice cream. Too bad this was an end-of-summer discovery. Otherwise, it could have had a weekly appointment in my gullet.
DAY THREE: For a cool end of summer/ early fall morning, I knew a warm drink was on the menu, commonly I don’t like Sheetz self-serve coffeeZ. Not because I don’t like the coffee, but because I can never make them with consistently. I get confused and flustered by the zillions of creamers and sweeteners. It always tastes over-doctored. Because of this, I normally go for the MTO screens. This day I went with the hot latte with caramel. Like with the day one mocha, this drink was good and the hot latte is less sweet than the iced mocha, but the caramel overpowers any trace of coffee.
DAY FOUR: By the next afternoon, heat had returned to western PA leading me to explore that “new items” menus that had spawned the milkshake from Tuesday. This day I stumbled onto the frozen hot chocolate, which when scrolling Sheetz’s Twitter feed, I knew had been around for some time, but it remains hidden in the new items menu. I was assured that it would no longer be a new item to me. Again, I was surprised by the lack of customization that Sheetz is known for. A frozen hot chocolate is a frozen hot chocolate. Don’t want the whipped cream and domed lid serving as a beacon of emasculation? Too bad. Upon first sip, I knew who would love this drink: my wife. At hot chocolate time, she opts for a packet of Swiss Miss over Hershey’s stirred into milk. Weirdo. Sheetz frozen hot chocolate is like throwing a Swiss Miss into some frozen mix. It was pretty good, though, but not something that makes my top 10.
DAY FIVE: The final day of the experiment was a mash-up of days one and three. This time I let my fingers order a large iced latte with vanilla. When Sheetz is footing the bill, always go large. In contrast to the other coffee drinks, this one was really strong with coffee flavor. It should be noted that this was the only beverage not purchased in Kittanning, rather it was Sarver’s location. Tons of ice that took hours to melt filled the cup leaving the liquid highly concentrated. Still good, but too strong to drink without letting the ice dilute the mix.
Final thoughts: To be fair, I’m overly critical of most things in my life. Just ask my swiss miss-drinking wife. The big question is: would I be willing to shell out my own dough for these items again? The true answer is: I would definitely purchase each of the five again. The speed, the convenience, the choices make Sheetz a good option for morning, noon, and night. Their ability to execute a high number of beverages well is impressive. Are they the best coffee shop? Heavens no. Are they as good as Dairy Queen? Nope, but it’s close. And they are good enough to get my business. Whether or not my car needs filled, I know my stomach will be. Thanks again to Sheetz for the promotional coupons that made this experiment possible. If they send me 10 next time, I’ll have to do 10 drinks in 10 days.
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives Sheetz MTO drinks 8.2 touchscreen pokes out of 10.