June 6, 2011

Review: Caribou Coffee Obsidian K-Cups - The X-Files of K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee


Today we decided to review something truly unique... an unofficial K-Cup which neither the roaster, distributor nor retail outlet which sells it want to acknowledge in any way. Why can't we find any info online about this flavor? Just what the heck is this dark & mysteriously secretive K-Cup anyway? To answer the 1st question: We have no frickin idea... and it kind of creeps us out. To answer the 2nd question: Caribou Coffee's Obsidian K-Cups (insert X-Files theme here).

Brewing these K-Cups result in deep, woodsy notes with almost floral characteristics. We'd have to say the most predominant aroma was that of smoky molasses tinged with licorice hiding underneath, but the aroma almost seemed as if it kept changing every time we took a sniff.

Billed as a dark roast, we could tell just by the weight that this had to be an extra bold (yet there's no indication of that on the packaging). Flavor was made up of mostly bittersweet chocolate up front followed by faint hints of smoky molasses in the background. As the coffee cooled, we even noticed notes of berries start to appear out of nowhere. With all the flavor & aroma "morphing" going about, we'd have thought for a moment that Willy Wonka was behind the creation of this K-Cup. Oddly amusing to say the least.


Body was very dark brown in color with shades of crimson red when held to a light source. Acidity was quite sharp at first sip but mellowed throughout the aftertaste. Mouth feel was astonishingly smooth for a dark roast extra bold and didn't seem too oily. Speaking of the aftertaste, we noticed lingering smoky notes on the finish. We're sure this coffee is more than capable of handling cream & sugar, but we loved it just the way it was straight out of the brewer.

  • Aroma - 9 - Intriguing. Keeps evolving as it starts with woodsy floral notes that morph into smoky molasses with hints of licorice underneath. Kept us guessing with every whiff.
  • Acidity - 9 - Sharp bite at first which mellows throughout the aftertaste
  • Body - 8 - Very dark brown with shades of crimson red when held to a light source.
  • Flavor - 10 - Bittersweet chocolate on the forefront meld with faint hints of smoky molasses in the background all without taking on a burnt or charred taste like some of the typical darker extra bolds. Berry notes appear out of nowhere as the cup cools. Mind-blowing!
  • Mouth Feel - 10 - Smoother than silk, simply amazing for a dark roast of this caliber. Lingering smoky aftertaste on the finish.
  • Coffee Drinker - This one's a sure bet for most dark roast drinkers. The fact that this is an extra bold (we're 99% sure of it) and doesn't taste burnt will help appeal to a broad range of dark roast fans.

Overall Rating: 96 - Excellent

While we were tempted to phone this one in to Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory TV show, we did notice Caribou Coffee had a listing for this coffee on their site after all... except it was only for the full bean version. Weird. Described by them as having the "floral aromatics of Guatemala", the "pungent acidity and winey body of Kenya & Ethiopia" and the "herbal sweetness of New Guinea", we're starting to comprehend what went into making this extraordinary K-Cup. Caribou masterfully blended the best of the dark roast coffee market and put them together into a single K-Cup. Brilliant lil' buggers, ain't they? Regardless, we can only say "hats off" to a job well accomplished.

While we would tend to wonder why Caribou, Green Mountain or even Target refuse to list this product online, we happened to stumble across yet another secret unlisted K-Cup while shopping at our local Bed, Bath & Beyond recently. This one is an iced coffee K-Cup and much like Obsidian, it wasn't listed anywhere online. Not even on Amazon. We'll have a review of that one later this summer.

Yep, we're still kind of creeped out here and left scratching our heads wondering what the heck is going on, but as for Caribou Coffee's Obsidian? Let's just say it was like finding money you had forgotten about in one of your coat pockets... an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack... maybe it's not a wonder after all why the companies involved want to keep this K-Cup as a secret for fans to discover on their own.

We indeed found an 18-pack of these K-Cups at our local Target for about $9.99 USD, but Target's website only lists the full bean version. The only place we could find this for sale online was for a rather pricey $22.99 USD at Amazon.com. Canadians will have to do without as we couldn't find any online retailers for this product north of the border.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased a box of these K-Cups on our own 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 June 6, 2011 7:46 AM
Recent Comments

Thanks for highlighting these! Obsidian was my favorite dark roast before I got my kcup machine. I was thrilled to find it at Target last year in cups -- and totally puzzled to NOT find it online (my fav way to shop). I'm afraid it will one day disappear as quietly as it appeared, since nobody knows they have it.... :(

Posted by: eJ at June 6, 2011 9:44 AM

Yup, they're good! More info.: http://www.singleservecoffeeforums.com/caribou-obsidian-k-cups-at-target-t7842.html

Posted by: jbviau at June 6, 2011 8:20 AM
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