July 28, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Pecan Praline K-Cups for Keurig

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Visit any Canadian grocery store and you're bound to see a huge Van Houtte display full of various flavored coffees where you can select the whole beans and grind them yourself right there in the store. They even have flavors which have yet to appear in K-Cup format and our past experience has shown that their flavored coffees usually have a decent, strong flavoring to them. We were hoping this would follow through to their K-Cups (their Apple Crumble K-Cup was rather good) but such was not to be the case.

We chose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors on our Keurig B70 and were wondering if perhaps we had forgotten to hit the brew button. Hmm... nope, the coffee's dispensing. Maybe we put in one of their unflavored K-Cups by mistake? Nope... so what the heck was going on here? We tried again with another K-Cup and soon realized that there was barely any scent coming from this flavored variety. Weird indeed. Using the "wine swirl" technique, we tried to uncover any hidden scents in the bottom of the glass but all we could detect was a very faint hint of pecans.

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The body was the usual reddish-brown of most light roasts, so it gets points there, but the taste was just as disappointing as the scent. Where were the hints of butter & cinnamon? All we tasted was the usual Arabica flavor of the coffee with a bit of pecan in the background. Most Tassimo fans will admit they find K-Cup coffees to be too watered-down, but in this instance, we'd have to agree. Most flavored coffees have a smooth, somewhat thick feel to them, but this was more of a thin, watery feeling. There was still a somewhat sour aftertaste, but the thing that surprised us the most was the very low acidity. We've had decafs that had more kick than this, so this caught us off-guard. We like our coffees to have some "bite" to them, but we can see how this would appeal to casual drinkers who don't like high-acid drinks.

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  • Aroma - 4 - Very weak scent, pecan smell is there but just barely.
  • Acidity - 4 - Quite mild, probably one of the least acidic coffees we've had in a long while.
  • Body - 7 - Average, medium brown with hints of red.
  • Flavor - 2 - Watered-down even at small 5oz setting. Slight pecan taste overpowered by regular flavor of Arabica. No cinnamon or butter flavors present.
  • Mouth Feel - 5 - Thin, watery consistency. Not as full or developed as most flavored coffees. Somewhat sour aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker - Would probably be best for those who like low-acid coffees or those who don't like strong flavorings.

Overall Rating: 72 - Poor

Overall, we feel Van Houtte missed the mark on this flavored coffee (or maybe we got a bad batch?). Praline pecans are supposed to have a sweet, buttery, cinnamon taste to them and none of those flavors are even present here. We had an idea something was off the moment we could barely smell anything during the brew process but we had no idea just how disappointed we'd be with the final results. We'd strongly recommend Green Mountain's Southern Pecan K-Cups over this variety simply due to the fact that Green Mountain's version is packed full of flavor and Van Houtte's isn't.

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In Van Houtte's defense, they may have stumbled upon a sector that has only recently been touched on by Folgers... low acidity coffee. Certain people have very sensitive stomachs either naturally or due to various medical conditions and therefore can't take anything high in acidity since it will cause indigestion. This might be the single serve alternative to buying regular grind low-acid coffee. So while it may have lost towards its core market with this K-Cup flavor, Van Houtte may be poised to gain in another market they hadn't expected to reach.

Van Houtte Pecan Praline K-Cups will work in any Keurig models. Pricing is $13.75 USD for a 24-pack at www.vanhoutte.com.

Read how we review and rate single serve coffee and other single serve coffee beverages here.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 28, 2009 7:55 AM

Recent Comments

Ah, I see. Thanks.


Posted by: jbviau at July 28, 2009 9:55 AM

Oops - we usually include a link in each review. We have updated the review with the link and here it is as well - http://www.singleservecoffee.com/archives/013261.php


Posted by: Jay Brewer at July 28, 2009 8:28 AM

How does your rating system work? 72 seems like a high score for a coffee rated poor.


Posted by: jbviau at July 28, 2009 8:24 AM
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