Review: Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups for Keurig
It's been a while since we've reviewed anything in Green Mountain's Café Escapes lineup, so we decided to try one of their newer varieties... Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups. Although we briefly touched on these K-Cups several months ago, we wanted to give a more fleshed-out full review as we're sure some of you were waiting for us to do.
The Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups are billed as having "flavors of black tea and exotic spices, smoothed by a splash of milk and sugar", it should also be noted that traditional flavors of cinnamon, cloves & cardamom along with slight notes of honey are also present in this K-Cup. We were curious to see just how creamy this flavor was going to be since we're adding nothing but water here and unlike Tassimo's Twinings variety, there's no separate creamer disc/K-Cup. When comparing the two, they're pretty well even in terms of taste. Some may find that this K-Cup has a slightly stronger sucralose aftertaste than the T-Discs but we found it was about the same either way.
Upon brewing, we're smashed in the nose with a wallop of very strong cinnamon & cloves and the aroma quickly fills the room. We heard of K-Cups having a "punch" before, but jeez... the scent was almost overbearing to the point of drowning-out any other scents that might have been lurking underneath. Still, it did smell like a traditional chai latte, so it only loses a point for the overly strong scent which covers up any other aromas.
The acidity of the Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups is practically non-existent which helped keep things very mild & smooth. As for the body, it had a typical opaque beige color which is on-par with what any chai latte should look like and the only thing lacking was a stronger froth. We suppose you could whip it up a bit with a milk frothing wand. One interesting comparison is that even the Tassimo's Twining Chai Latte T-Discs have a hard time producing a decent amount of froth, so we can't really fault this K-Cup over that fact too much anyway. All was spot-on otherwise.
As far as flavor was concerned... wow. It was strong like the aroma and was indeed dominated by cinnamon & cloves, but this time it gave way to sweet honey notes mixed with cardamom and a surprisingly creamy taste overall. Wait a minute... we DID use a K-Cup, right? Did someone switch our drink with the Twinings T-Disc version? Nope. Wow... simply amazing for something like this to come out of a K-Cup. Nice to see Café Escapes kept with the creamy nature as with their hot chocolate K-Cups. Mouth feel was silky smooth with only the slight aftertaste of sucralose ruining a perfect 10 on the score (much like the Tassimo version).
- Aroma - 9 - Very strong notes of cinnamon & cloves almost to the point of being overbearing. It loses a point since the strength of the smell mutes any other scents that might be hiding underneath. Other than that, perfect.
- Acidity - 9 - Barely any acidity present, very mild & smooth.
- Body - 9 - Typical opaque beige chai latte color. We would have preferred more froth, but even the Tassimo has a hard time frothing this kind of drink, so we won't fault it too much for that. Spot-on otherwise.
- Flavor - 10 - Dead-on chai flavor throughout with strong bursts of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and hints of honey mixed in with the creamer.
- Mouth Feel - 9 - Silky smooth with a slight aftertaste of sucralose. Would have got a 10 if not for the aftertaste, but the Tassimo version doesn't do much better.
- Coffee Drinker - Suited best for casual tea drinkers, chai aficionados and anyone who's looking for a rich, sweet indulgent treat every once in a while. Very pleasing overall.
Overall Rating: 96 - Excellent
Overall, we are hard-pressed to find that much of a difference between this K-Cup version & the T-Disc version. Both are quite identical other than a slightly more creamy presence on the Tassimo side and given the fact that the Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cup is using powdered milk creamer, that's an amazing feat. We weren't expecting the drink to turn out as creamy as it did and were pleasantly surprised with the final results. The only thing that kind of turned us off was the somewhat overbearing aroma of cinnamon & cloves along with the sucralose aftertaste. Had it not been for those 2 things (which are also present in the Tassimo version to a lesser degree), this K-Cup could very well have come close to earning a 100. It's definitely one of our favorites and we can't help but recommend it.
The Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups will work in your Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, Keurig Platinum B70 Brewer, Breville BKC600XL Gourmet Single Cup Brewer , and other Keurig K Cup brewers including the Keurig Mini B30.
At Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups
A special thanks to SH for providing this review. Read how we review and rate single serve coffee and other single serve coffee beverages here. We would also like to note that we purchased these K-Cups on our own for the purpose of this review.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 24, 2010 8:23 AM