November 14, 2011

Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut K-Cups for Keurig

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We continue our review of Dunkin Donuts’ series of K-Cups today with their Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut K-Cups.

Upon brewing these K-Cups, you get a hazelnut aroma but it just doesn’t seem… natural. Unlike some of the other hazelnut-flavored K-Cups we’ve had in the past from competitors (trust us, there’s many), we’d have to say this just doesn’t have a normal hazelnut aroma. Dunkins doesn’t hide the fact that they’re using artificial flavoring in this K-Cup, but unlike their French Vanilla, there’s just something off-putting by this scent. The best we can describe it is coffee that’s been spiked with a few shots of Torani hazelnut syrup. It just had us somewhat weirded-out. Not the best first impression to make, but we’ll still give this K-Cup a chance to redeem itself in other categories. Let’s push-forward & see how it holds up.

Acidity was much like the French Vanilla K-Cup… flavoring helped mask most of the sour notes. There was still some sour bite at first, but it mellowed by the time we reached the finish which was once again, surprisingly clean with no sour notes. Body was considerably darker than expected with red notes shining through when held to a light source. We couldn’t help but wonder why a medium roast would end up looking more like a dark roast. Did we fall into an alternate dimension when we opened the fridge to get some spring water?

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Billed as a medium roast, flavor was unfortunately quite similar to the aroma. While not as disgustingly overbearing & over-sweetened like Torani hazelnut syrup, it was just as artificial and bizarre. We can’t understand how the heck Dunkins managed to ace the French Vanilla flavoring (since it too was artificial), yet they seem to have botched this artificial hazelnut flavoring. While we can just barely put up with the odd taste, we wouldn’t want to drink more than 1 cup of this in the course of a day. Does it taste like hazelnut? Yes & no. Again, we can only describe it as a slightly lighter-tasting version of coffee spiked with Torani hazelnut syrup. (In case you haven’t figured it out by now, we don’t really care for Torani syrups all that much). Despite all the chaos going on with the aroma & flavor, mouth feel was surprisingly smooth & didn’t seem too watered down. No oily notes present & barely any aftertaste (thankfully).

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  • Aroma – 1 – While there is somewhat of a hazelnut aroma, it’s a very artificial one at that. Just bizarre overall & very off-putting. Just kept reminding us of coffee spiked with a bunch of Torani hazelnut syrup.
  • Acidity – 9 – One of this K-Cup’s saving graces. Slightly sour at first, mellows in the middle, then finishes with a surprisingly clean finish with no sour notes at all.
  • Body – 3 – Darker than expected, red notes appear when held to a light source. Why would a medium roast end up looking like a dark roast? Strange & somewhat troubling. [insert Twilight Zone theme here]
  • Flavor – 2 – Sorry, we absolutely have to give this a low mark. Anything that tastes like it had Torani syrup spiked in it is a cardinal sin in our books. Why Dunkins? WHY have you forsaken us? What did we ever do to deserve this (other than writing this review)? Heavy on the artificial, the flavor is bearable but just barely.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Along with the acidity, this is one of this coffee’s only redeeming qualities. We have no idea how the heck mouth feel remains this smooth amidst all the chaos of the artificial aroma & flavoring. Did not seem too watered down, no oily notes & barely any aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – Um… jeeze… how the heck can we classify this one? Well, if you’re unlike us & absolutely LOVE dowsing Torani hazelnut syrup on everything from pancakes to ice-cream, boy, have we found your K-Cup! We could not in good conscience recommend this to flavored coffee drinkers since this K-Cup just doesn’t hold a birthday candle in a wind storm when compared to most of the other hazelnut-flavored K-Cups on the market.

Overall Rating: 74 – Poor

Wow… just… wow. We’re still in shock. While we REALLY would have loved to rate this one with a score below 70 (Don’t drink), the only things that saved it from our lowest score ever was the acidity & mouth feel. After the stellar performance of their French Vanilla K-Cup, we went into this review thinking we were in for a rockin hazelnut festival of flavors (this was the flavor we were actually most looking forward to reviewing), but boy… were we ever wrong.

At first we thought we were being too harsh and feared we had unknowingly trashed this review due to our underlying displeasure towards Torani syrups which (we’ll mention for the bazillionth time in a row) this reminds us so much of, but customer reviews on Keurig.com would seem to prove that we haven’t gone totally nutters. Only a very select few people seem to actually enjoy this K-Cup flavor. While we can’t really recommend giving this one a try, if you’re so inclined, you might be one of the few who actually likes this flavor. If not, then don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut K-Cups will work in all Keurig brewers and are available in 14-packs for $11.99 USD at most Dunkin Donuts coffee shops nation-wide. These K-Cups are not currently available in Canada, but may start appearing in Canadian Dunkin shops soon.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased 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 November 14, 2011 7:43 AM

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