September 15, 2011

Review: Van Houtte Cottage Blend K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

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Much like Green Mountain does each year, we noticed that Van Houtte have started releasing seasonal K-Cups lately. So today, we decided to review one of their Summer seasonals: Van Houtte Cottage Blend K-Cups. Unfortunately, Van Houtte have since removed the listing from both their American & Canadian websites, so we’re guessing the window for these K-Cups is very limited… likely June-July only. We did however manage to find them still listed on Keurig.com (USA only).

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in nice woodsy notes with a hint of smokiness in the background. The woodsy notes paired well with the image of being at a cottage in the forest, so we can see what Van Houtte were trying to achieve here.

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Billed as a light roast, flavor seemed surprisingly more on the side of a medium roast with the smoky notes of the aroma coming through an initial hit of semi-sweet chocolate in the foreground. There were some earthy notes mixed in there as well which only helped reinforce our idea that this was more a medium vs. a light roast. Don’t get us wrong… we were pleasantly surprised upon this discovery.

Body was dark brown in color with shades of red and a sunburst effect when held in front of a light source. We could picture watching a lakeside sunset on the front porch of a cottage. Mouth feel was quite well-balanced overall and had a smooth consistency without exhibiting any watery notes. Finish was clean and dry with only a slight lingering smoky aftertaste. Acidity was also well-balanced and seemed right down the middle. Not too weak, not too strong.

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  • Aroma – 9 – A lot stronger than expected. Nice woodsy notes with a smokiness in the background.
  • Acidity – 10 – Perfectly balanced right down the middle. We wish more K-Cups were as evenly balanced as this one.
  • Body – 8 – Dark brown with notes of red, nice sunburst pattern when held to a light source.
  • Flavor – 9 – For a light roast, this seemed more like a medium or even bordering on a dark. Woodsy & smoky notes from the aroma were present with a hint of earthiness as well. Quite pleasing.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Quite smooth, no oily or watery notes present. Clean finish with slight smoky notes in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – This one’s equally suited for medium roast fans and might even appeal to casual dark roast drinkers due to the stronger earthy notes hiding in this K-Cup. Don’t let the label fool you, this is definitely not a weaker-roasted or weaker-flavored coffee.

Overall Rating: 95 - Excellent

After some disappointing releases, we think Van Houtte are getting back on their game of producing exceptionally well-executed K-Cups and this new seasonal flavor is definitely proof of that. With some of their other regular-grind coffees & K-Cups recently winning 2010 & 2011 ITQI Superior Taste Awards, it’s evident we’re not the only ones who think the same.

Our only regret about this K-Cup? That it’s not available year-round and that (according to SH) it’s not easily found in Canadian retail locations. Those issues aside, we have to say hats-off to Van Houtte for jumping aboard the seasonal K-Cup wagon like GMCR did many years ago. If this is the quality of K-Cups we can expect with your seasonal blends, we can’t wait to see what flavors you’ll be releasing this Fall.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like thank Van Houtte for providing us with samples 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 September 15, 2011 7:43 AM

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