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Feb 10, 2013 09:18 PM

Cooks Illustrated Taste Test

I have been a Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen Fan for 7 years and I read their magazine from cover to cover and almost know most of the winners from their taste tests. I remembered them naming Land Of Lake's hot chocolate as their top winner a few years ago and I just looked today on their website and their list completely changed! Not only is their previous winner is no longer #1, they moved the Land of Lake's hot chocolate to the Not Recommended list! What changed? I just thought this was an interesting find....anyone ever run into these sort of inconsistencies with CI?

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  1. Oh heck yes. They changed their recommendation on garlic presses, for another example. But to be fair, Consumer Reports retests stuff frequently too, and the winners don't always repeat.

    1. They restest their taste test. Sometimes the brand is no longer available or something has changed in the formulation. Maybe they've run out of ideas? lol

      1. Is it an inconsistency or do they go back and retest the products after a certain length of time? If that's the case, then they are doing it right. Manufacturers change their products over time.

        I tried Land of Lake's hot chocolate once - it was actually greasy which is not a quality that I look for in hot chocolate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: 512window

          I agree - That stuck out in my mind because I tried the hot chocolate and didn't think it was good at all when it was #1. That's good that they retest their previously tested food products.

        2. They also tweak and fiddle with their recipes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sr44

            "They also tweak and fiddle with their recipes."

            Which I find to be a positive thing. We are always learning new things about food preparation or discovering new ingredients. ATK reacts to these finds and tweaks recipes based on this information. I do it at home with my own recipes. My chili recipe has evolved over the years as I learn about different cooking methods and ingredients. What I thought was definitive last years may not be this year.

          2. In fairness, brands change their recipes and may not be as good anymore. Or, a new brand comes out that is better. I don't see an issue with it. They do this with the equipment as well. A couple of years ago the Kitchen Aid food processor was the number one. It no longer is because they changed the design and it's not as good. That's what makes them trustworthy.