June 23, 2011

Review: GMCR Donut House Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups

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We continue our series of Brew-Over-Ice reviews with a bit of an oddity. As some of you may recall, Caribou Coffee introduced a K-Cup version of their Obsidian coffee a few years ago which ended up being a Target exclusive which was only available in-store. You couldn’t find any listing posted anywhere on the GMCR or Caribou sites. Well, we have uncovered yet another in-store exclusive K-Cup during a trip to a Bed Bath & Beyond in NH last year. Although it’s a year late, today we review GMCR’s Donut House Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in strong scents of vanilla which quickly filled the room and even though there was no indication on the packaging to state if this was a medium or dark roast, we thought it seemed more like a medium.

Flavor confirmed this as it was obviously filled with vanilla but had a certain smoky character lurking in the background with every sip. The presence of ice diluted the coffee’s strength somewhat, but if we were to have brewed this straight into a mug without ice, we could easily tell is was along the lines of a medium vs. a dark roast. The smoky tinges might suggest a medium extra bold perhaps? We didn’t want to dilute the flavor any further by adding cream & sugar, but we feel this would have brought the flavor more in line with a Dunkins iced coffee.

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Acidity was present but the ice kept it toned down somewhat. Body was medium brown with tinges of amber when held to a light source. Mouth feel was a bit watered down when drinking this coffee black, but we suspect the addition of cream & sugar would improve this considerably and help smoothen things out.

  • Aroma – 10 – Strong scents of vanilla quickly filled the room when brewing this K-Cup. Spot on.
  • Acidity – 7 – Present yet watered down a bit by the ice.
  • Body – 8 – A bit lighter than what we were expecting. Would take on the appearance of a typical iced coffee drink with the addition of cream & sugar.
  • Flavor – 8 – Strong notes of vanilla in the foreground with smoky notes in the background. We would have liked it if the flavoring would have been a bit sweeter, but you can always adjust this yourself by adding sugar.
  • Mouth Feel – 6 – The ice ends up making this coffee a bit watered down, but adding cream & sugar should hopefully smoothen things out.
  • Coffee Drinker – It’s been a while since we had GMCR’s own French Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups, but from what we recall, it had a bit more of a natural sweetness in the flavoring. That would have been appreciated here but we think this K-Cup is more geared towards drinkers who don’t like sweeteners in their coffees. Decent enough black, likely better if taken with cream & sugar.

Overall Rating: 89 - Good

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We’re not sure why some K-Cups appear to be in-store exclusives or why GMCR have decided to go this route. Perhaps they want to test market demand before rolling-out the products online? Would seem odd if that’s the case since it’s been well over a year that we’ve noticed these products in stores and despite listings slowly popping up on Amazon.com, GMCR have yet to acknowledge the existence of these flavors on their own site.

Ah well, regardless of the situation, it’s nice to know that there are ways of obtaining these K-Cups and in a sense, it kind of makes it like a fun treasure hunt of sorts. We think that anyone who like’s GMCR’s own French Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups might enjoy this somewhat lighter unsweetened alternative. While not one of the strongest iced coffee flavors we’ve had in the past, it still makes for a nice cool break on a hot Summer afternoon.

GMCR Donut House Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups will work in all Keurig models and are available in 16-pack boxes for $10.99 USD at Bed Bath & Beyond retail stores.

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 23, 2011 7:43 AM

Recent Comments

I found out yesterday that BB&B won't be carrying this K-cup any longer as it was last summers and it didn't sell well. I haven't been able to find it on anyone elses site for sale which bums me out because I also enjoyed it.


Posted by: Chris at July 18, 2011 2:27 PM

Interesting. I bought several boxes of these at Big Lots for $2/box (they were close to expiring) but had no idea they were exclusive to a specific store.


Posted by: Marla at June 26, 2011 4:03 PM
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