July 6, 2012

Review: Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut Vue Packs for Keurig Vue Brewing Systems

Review Single Serve Coffee ssc_brewer_hazelnutvueIMGP4688.JPG

We continue our Vue Pack reviews today with our first flavored variety, Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut Vue Packs. We already know what the strong button can do for regular coffees, so we were rather anxious to see what results a flavored coffee would yield.

Brewing these Vue Packs resulted in strong hazelnut aromas filling the room along with notes of cocoa and vanilla. Billed as a medium roast, flavor revealed more abundant notes of hazelnut & vanilla along with tinges of dark chocolate in the background. Overall, a nice mix of flavors that complimented one another.

Body was light to medium brown in color with sunburst shades of orange & yellow when held in front of a light source. Acidity was balanced but a tad on the light side of things. It didn’t impede the coffee too much but we wished it had been a bit stronger. Mouth feel was smooth but almost on the watery side while finish yielded notes of vanilla quickly followed-up with a hazelnut aftertaste.

Now, normally at this point, that would be it. We would have critiqued the coffee and let things stand where they may. Ah, but the Vue has one trick up its sleeve when it comes to coffees that don’t quite hit the mark… the introduction of the strong button. It can truly work wonders to elevate an average coffee to good or even excellent status. This was never more evident than with this Vue Pack.

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When strong was selected, aromas just blew things apart with a MASSIVE burst of hazelnut… forget the kitchen, almost every nearby room smelled like hazelnuts afterwards. The cocoa & vanilla notes from earlier were more present & discernible than before. Flavor was jam-packed full of hazelnut & vanilla while the dark chocolate notes became more evident & noticeable. Acidity went from light to medium and really helped pull things together while mouth feel went from slightly watery to a more substantial slightly oily.

Overall, we were blown away by how significantly this new feature changed the dynamic & characteristics of this Vue Pack. We most DEFINITELY recommend using the strong button when brewing these particular Vue Packs! If you have a box sitting around home and haven’t tried the strong setting yet, you owe it to yourself to give this Vue Pack another try. Trust us… it’s amazing how much it’ll change your opinion about this coffee.

As a matter of fact, the changes were so massive that for the first time ever in the history of SingleServeCoffee.com, we are implementing a new dual-scoring system! You will find the scores for the regular setting on the left followed by the scores for the strong setting surrounded by parentheses ( ) on the right. The overall score will be whichever total has the highest number. We will employ this new scoring system for all future Vue Pack reviews where the strong setting is used.

  • Aroma – 9 (10) – Can we give this an 11? Does it go up to 11? Wow… it was good enough on the regular setting, but the strong setting set things off like the 4th of July with HUGE bursts of hazelnut mixed with scents of vanilla & cocoa. Amazing!
  • Acidity – 7 (9) – Fairly balanced but was almost on the lighter side. Things improved quite a bit when the strong setting was used as it added more punch that helped bring the flavors together quite nicely.
  • Body – 8 (8) – Light to medium brown with sunburst shades of orange & yellow when held to a light source. Nothing changed after using the strong setting.
  • Flavor – 8 (10) – Hazelnuts, vanilla & dark chocolate were present but everything got kicked up a notch when the strong setting was used. Hazelnuts & vanilla in the foreground with a more noticeable dark chocolate flavor in the background.
  • Mouth Feel – 8 (9) – Smooth but was bordering on the watery side. That was quickly fixed with the strong setting as it added more substance with a slightly oily feel instead. Vanilla finish was quickly followed by a hazelnut aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited for the casual flavored coffee drinker when used on the regular setting and suited for the flavored coffee aficionado when used on the strong setting. If you love hazelnut, then this is definitely the coffee for you.
Overall Rating: 96, based on strong setting – Excellent

The only thing that could have cemented this as the best ever hazelnut coffee in Keurig history would have been the addition of coconut flavors. If anyone from Gloria Jean’s is reading this, please consider a Hawaiian Hazelnut Vue Pack in the future. While we remain disappointed with the lack of true froth on café-style drinks, we absolutely love, love, LOVE the new strong feature on the Vue V700 brewer.

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To be able to take something that would have scored 90 – Exceptional and turn it into something that scored 96 – Excellent just blows our minds into another dimension. We would have done anything in our power to have this ability on the old K-Cup brewers and are happier than heck to have it on the Vue brewer. Just… wow… amazing.

It’s a shame that this feature isn’t enabled when brewing teas on the Vue brewer as we suspect some truly amazing results could be achieved in that category otherwise. We guess we’ll just have to wait and see how other flavored coffees are affected.

As for this particular Vue Pack? It earns a spot as a permanent flavor in our growing Vue Pack stash & we recommend you give it a try. It’s no surprise this as one of the first flavors launched with the Vue V700 but we can’t help wondering if some users dismissed it without trying the strong feature? We almost did… until we realized we could fix some of the downfalls by turning that feature on. Sure enough, we were pleasantly surprised. We also like how 2 different types of flavored coffee fans can enjoy this Vue Pack… you can leave it on the regular setting for those who don’t like overly strong flavored coffees or enable the strong setting and appeal to those who enjoy strong flavors & aromas instead. Whichever way you choose, we’re sure you’ll probably enjoy this Vue Pack & we can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut Vue Packs is one of the many Keurig Vue Packs available for the Keurig Vue V700 Single Cup Brewing System, and you can also read our full review here. The Keurig Vue Packs are not compatible with older Keurig K-Cup systems. The Keurig Vue V700 isn’t presently sold in Canada, but Canadians can order these Vue Packs from Keurig.com if they’re willing to pay a $10 FedEx brokerage fee.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note we purchased a box of these Vue Packs on our own for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 6, 2012 7:58 AM

Recent Comments

@James Antinone... We always use the machine's default size of 8oz for all our reviews unless we state otherwise.

@J... Thanks for pointing this out. Did not stop to think of that & it should indeed work since there's no RFID reader in these models.


Posted by: SH at July 11, 2012 2:07 PM

I have the VUE... And the machine doesn't know if you have a coffee or tea pack inserted. So if you want stronger tea, just brew it on the coffee setting.


Posted by: J at July 9, 2012 12:35 PM

Please tell me what size cup was brewed for this review, Thanks


Posted by: James Antinone at July 9, 2012 8:33 AM

The RFID chip reader is for the commercial brewer only. It won't come out until this Fall. The commercial brewer will then be locked to not having consumer Vue Packs being ordered from consumer outlets and thus all the orders staying with the business / coffee companies - etc.


Posted by: Jay Brewer at July 6, 2012 2:28 PM

Have they started using RFID in the new V-Cups yet are not?

Or was that just a pipe dream to keep people from making counterfeit V-Cups?


Posted by: B. Moore at July 6, 2012 11:52 AM

This is one of my all-time *least* favorite k-cups! The wife hated it, too. Glad to hear it's better when brewed in the Vue.


Posted by: jbviau at July 6, 2012 8:33 AM
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