November 22, 2011

Review: Millstone Breakfast Blend Fair Trade Coffee K-Cups

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With all the news about Barista Prima K-Cups back at the time and the recent news about Starbucks K-Cups finally hitting select retail stores recently, it's easy to overlook a K-Cup brand that slipped "under the radar" a while back. Today we address that oversight by reviewing Millstone's Breakfast Blend Fair Trade K-Cups.

According to the wiki article, Millstone was founded in Everett, Washington in 1981. Founder Phil Johnson sold 100lb sacks of Arabica beans to high-end coffee shops in the greater Seattle area & pioneered the idea of selling whole-beaned coffees to supermarkets. Johnson sold Millstone to Procter & Gamble in 1996 which closed down most of the operation in Everett and now run the company out of Ohio.

Johnson took the assets P&G didn't purchase and created the Cascade Coffee Company which continued to operate out of Everett. In January 2008, P&G created the Folgers Coffee Company which consisted of retail, commercial & Millstone segments. Later that year in November, they announced the completion of Millstone's merger with the Folgers Coffee Company. Since Folgers released their own coffee in K-Cup format, it was only reasonable that they'd release their Millstone coffee in K-Cup format as well.

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Brewing the Millstone Breakfast Blend Fair Trade K-Cups resulted in rich hickory notes topped with hints of bittersweet chocolate... rather surprising for a light roast as we weren't expecting such a strong aroma. Flavor revealed more smoky notes of hickory & bittersweet chocolate along with some faint floral & fruity notes throughout.

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Body was light brown in color with vibrant shades of red when held in front of a light source. Acidity was rather on the light side but still held things together nicely as it helped push forward the fruity notes underneath. Mouth feel was smooth although bordering on the watery side of things but the finish is what had us perplexed... we were drinking coffee, yet the finish was almost "tea-like" in nature with the slightly dry/sharp tinges you'd get from tea tannins. Just when you thought you've seen everything in a K-Cup, Millstone created a coffee that has a tea finish. Hmm... makes us wonder if Celestial Seasonings has any plans to release a coffee-flavored Pu'erh tea in K-Cup format anytime soon. Meh, probably not due to high pricing.

  • Aroma - 9 - Strong, rich hickory notes reveal bittersweet chocolate. A bit stronger of an aroma that what we were expecting for a light roast.
  • Acidity - 7 - Rather light yet somehow manages to keep things together & helps push forward some of the fruity notes underneath.
  • Body - 7 - Light brown with vibrant shades of red when held to a light source.
  • Flavor - 9 - Notes of hickory & bittersweet chocolate reveal some faint fruity & floral notes hiding underneath. Had it not been for the light body, we'd swear this was more a medium roast.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - Smooth yet bordering on the watery side. The real kicker here is the finish which amazingly enough reminded us of the dry/sharp tannins normally found in a black tea. Amazing.
  • Coffee Drinker - We feel this coffee is versatile enough to please your average light roast & even medium-roast coffee drinkers. The low acidity might also be a drawing factor for those who don't like stronger coffees & the bizarrely amusing finish on the mouth feel is enough to warrant at least getting a sampler sleeve.

Overall Rating: 91 - Exceptional

We were quite pleased with the Folgers K-Cups we reviewed recently and while we haven't had regular-grind Millstone coffee in a while, we were expecting things to be much the same quality-wise with these K-Cups. We're glad to see we weren't disappointed and are still scratching our heads wondering how the heck they achieved that perplexing tea-like finish.

Millstone recently announced the introduction of their Foglifter coffee in K-Cup format (we'll have a review as soon as we can get a sampler sleeve) and for those who find the Breakfast Blend too "light", this should fill the niche as it's a blend of medium & dark roasts which should have a stronger overall flavor. If it's anything like what we've reviewed here today, we're sure to be in for a truly great cup of coffee.

Millstone Breakfast Blend Fair Trade K-Cups will work in all Keurig brewers and are available in 5-pack sampler sleeves for $3.79 USD or 24-packs for $16.49 USD. These K-Cups are not currently available in Canada.

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 22, 2011 8:19 AM

Recent Comments

These are really quite good - and It's nice to see even more variety in the major brands being offered in K-Cups.


Posted by: Jay Brewer at November 25, 2011 11:01 AM

It should be noted the pricing at the end of my review was taken from Keurig.com (in case some readers are wondering). As far as I'm aware, that's the only place where you can order 5-pack sampler sleeves.


Posted by: SH at November 22, 2011 1:56 PM

I haven't seen the Millstone in my local area, but I must say the Folgers K-Cups have been surprisingly good. If the Millstone are as good or better, it gives a lower cost option to Green Mountain. Nice stuff.


Posted by: Purcell MacDonald at November 22, 2011 10:37 AM
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