November 16, 2010

Review: Wolfgang Puck Chef's Reserve Colombian Decaf K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee


We continue our series of Wolfgang Puck K-Cup reviews with the Wolfgang Puck Chef's Reserve Colombian Decaf K-Cups in today's review. It should be noted that there's actually one major difference between the regular & decaf versions of the Chef Reserve Colombian flavor (no, it's not the obvious lack of caffeine)... the decaf is a medium roast while the regular is a dark roast. We can't recall the last time we saw a K-Cup manufacturer use a different roast for their decaf version, so this should make for some interesting nuances.

Upon brewing, we got a small waft of your typical medium roasts but then it quickly disappeared. We had to stop and check that our Keurig hadn't crapped-out half way through the brew... that's how bizarre it was. Once the brewing was over, we took our time to try and discern any outstanding scents but couldn't really smell anything other than a rather weak standard Arabica scent. There were no dark chocolate notes of the regular Colombian version here, nor any of the earthiness. A really weak & lacking aroma overall.

Flavor was much the same since there was nothing that seemed to pop out at us and we couldn't note any distinct flavor profiles at all. All we kept tasting were the sour notes present with the mild acidity and stranger still, was a rather dry aftertaste similar to what your tongue would experience with tannins in a tea. Did we mention this coffee was rather bizarre already?


Body was obviously lighter than the regular version and had your typical shades of medium browns but popped with a nice sunburst pattern when held to a light source. This is the only category which seemed to be this coffee's saving grace. Mouth feel was just as disappointing as the aroma as it felt rather watery compared to other decafs we've tried before. We don't exactly want to compare this to a freeze-dried coffee you'd find at your local grocery store, but to be honest, that's one of the first thoughts that popped into our mind during this review. Thankfully there's more of an Arabica presence here than in a jar of coffee crystals, but we feel we were spoiled by regular version which had our hopes & expectations raised quite high for this decaf flavor.

  • Aroma - 5 - Somewhat lacking, no discernable scents present.
  • Acidity - 6 - Mild overall, more bitterness in the somewhat sour & dry aftertaste.
  • Body - 8 - Lighter than the regular version which results in a nice sunburst color pattern when held to a light source.
  • Flavor - 6 - Van Houtte's decision to go with a medium roast just didn't work here. All we got were the sour notes of the acidity and not much else. A dark roast would have been much better.
  • Mouth Feel - 5 - Rather watery, not as substantial as other decaf K-Cups we've tried in the past.
  • Coffee Drinker - Suited best for decaf drinkers who aren't too picky about their brands/tastes and just want something standard. While this coffee isn't completely unapproachable, we still think there are better options available.

Overall Rating: 80 - Average

We think Van Houtte's decision to go with a medium roast has tremendously hurt them for this K-Cup and we just can't understand why they went that route. The regular Chef's Reserve Colombian K-Cups were so pleasing in a dark roast that we can't help but feel this decaf could have been elevated so much higher had they made the same decision here. As it stands, it's not totally undrinkable since most of your freeze-dried varieties are considerably worse, but we've seen much better decaf K-Cups hit the scene and this one left us rather disappointed. Our suggestion to Van Houtte? Please revise this flavor and consider using a dark roast instead.

Wolfgang Puck Chef's Reserve Colombian Decaf K-Cups will work in your Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, Keurig Platinum B70 Brewer, Breville BKC600XL/BKC700XL Gourmet Single Cup Brewer, and other Keurig K Cup brewers including the Keurig Mini Plus and Keurig Mini B30. Canadians can also buy these for $16.49 CAD at

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would like to take this time to thank for sending us a box of these K-Cups for the purpose of this review.

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 November 16, 2010 7:44 AM
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