What the heck is “Half-&-Half”? Why does the stuff show up on retail shelves?
It’s a wholesale product: It makes for coffee-shop convenience.
Its existence says: “Where customers desire expensive cream, we pre-dilute it , to expedite consumer-delivery in a fast-serve setting”.
It makes good business sense for any self-serve establishment.
In the home?
The Way of the Industry has developed in the opposite direction: the “Just Add Water” method.
But with “Half-&-Half”, the water (milk) is added in advance, so enlarging the size of the packaging and, of course, its weight. Why not simply sell the cream to the consumer and permit him to – if he chooses (more on that, below) – dilute it himself?
So: Question #1: What’s the point of selling Prediluted Cream (i.e., “Half-&-Half”) directly to the consumer?
Now, Question #2: And why would someone reach for this product in his or her own kitchen?
Most who use it do so in coffee or tea; cream is what they’re really after.
The milk/water in the Half-&-Half dilutes that cream, which then dilutes the coffee or tea, skewing the brewing proportions — perhaps tolerable at Starbucks or the corner luncheonette, but…at home?
Many of us are very careful — indeed, exacting — about how strong or weak we like the brew. Why throw the whole result off-kilter by pouring this stuff, cold, into our alchemically perfect elixirs? Why not just brew using a weaker coffee/tea ratio and then …
I propose that “Half-&-Half” in the home is a holdover from the “low-fat” era.
People figure that if they’re being prescribed Skim Milk, they’re being prescribed Skim Cream, too. If they fell for the first, they’ll fall for the second.
Next time a barista asks you, “Room for cream?”, enjoy a private chuckle: A serving of cream takes up almost no room. Half-&-Half, on the other hand, by substituting for the water that could have been used to more weakly brew your coffee, can take up as much as 20-25% of the cup’s capacity.
So, think: “Room for chilling/dilution?”
Some of us like it HOT…..and strong. And creamy. 😉