September 10, 2012

Review: King of Joe Espresso T-Discs for Tassimo

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Over the past several years, we've been known to complain about the lack of new T-Disc flavors in retail stores, online or elsewhere and were just about ready to think that Kraft had all but given up on the Tassimo since Starbucks left and decided to partner with the competing Keurig machines instead. Ah, but then something strange happened... Kraft & Bosch decided enough was enough and started listening to fans. New machines were being introduced, a major safety recall was handled somewhat efficiently (for the most part) and best of all, after what seemed like ages of inactivity, new flavors were being released.

A few at first, then more, and eventually the levee broke and we were flooded with a tidal wave of amazing new flavors to the point where we almost couldn't keep track of all the new things that were coming out left and right. Could it be? Have Kraft FINALLY listened to our complaints & concerns? It would seem so.

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Now, sure... our #1 pet peeve about Kraft is STILL present and hasn't been addressed: They STILL refuse to sell ALL their T-Disc flavors World-wide and have geoblocked them so that they can only be sold in their origin countries. Some flavors have found their way this side of the pond, but not all. In Kraft's defense however, they decided to do the next best thing... give us new flavors here at home vs. trying to import foreign flavors instead. Hey... a new flavor is a new flavor and after ages of seeing nothing develop, we'll gladly take what we can get.

We kick things off today with a new brand we've never heard of before... King of Joe. We tried finding more info online but couldn't dig up much & think it's a new brand that Kraft created exclusively for the American Tassimo market. Today we're reviewing the new King of Joe Espresso T-Discs.

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Brewing these T-Discs resulted in strong notes of molasses blended with nice smoky notes in the background. Closer inspection reveals faint notes of grains hiding underneath. A decent mix overall. Flavor was satisfyingly strong with yet more mash-ups of flavors swirling about the cup. You first get the strong smoky notes mixed with strong oils from the heavily roasted coffee beans followed up by notes of dark chocolate, molasses and yes... even bread-like grain notes underneath. Wow... could the namesake be true? Maybe we really are looking at the new king here.

Body was an opaque black in color with an amazingly thick beige/light brown crema layer on top. A light source had no effect as light couldn't escape regardless. Our jaws dropped when we saw the crema layer... seriously... when the heck was the last time you saw a crema layer THIS GOOD come out of a Tassimo? Color us gobsmacked... we were shocked to see the final results. Just... wow.

Acidity was on the strong side, which is to be expected for an espresso, but it wasn't overbearing as it blended well with the smoky flavors and oily notes already present in the cup. Despite strong acidity, mouth feel seemed smooth and (we can't believe we're saying this) almost on the syrupy side of things. Don't worry, it's not a thick syrup feeling like Mrs. Butterworth's, but more of a thin feeling something like a light maple syrup. Finish was slightly bitter with a smoky flavor and peppery aftertaste.

  • Aroma - 10 - A nice mix of strong smoky notes, molasses and even grains hiding underneath. For once, an espresso that doesn't just smell like dark chocolate. Fantastic.
  • Acidity - 10 - Obviously strong but not overbearing as it blended well with the smoky & oily notes in the flavor. Surprisingly enough, no sour notes were present, just an abundance of smoke & oils from the beans.
  • Body - 10 - Darker than the farthest depths of space with an opaque black color throughout. A light source had no effect whatsoever as things remained black regardless. The most stunning and mind-blowing note was the amazingly super-thick beige/light brown crema layer which formed on top. Beyond superb!
  • Flavor - 10 - Wow... what a smoke monster! We've got scotches which aren't as smoky as this beast. Heaps of smoky notes throughout blended superbly with notes of molasses, dark chocolate and bread-like grains. We adore smoky flavors and this one hit the spot.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - Despite the strong acidity, mouth feel was smooth overall with a light syrupy feel. We were surprised by this and actually enjoyed it as it felt like we were getting our money's worth with something substantial instead of something watered-down. Finish was slightly bitter with smoky flavors and even a peppery aftertaste. Minus 1 point since we think some will be freaked-out by the syrupy feeling.
  • Coffee Drinker - Do you like smoky flavors? Do you adore espresso? Then have we got the T-Disc for you! Suited best for espresso fans who like things STRONG. Some may be put off by the slight syrupy feel and think it's gross, but hey... don't kick it until you've tried it. A highly recommended selection in our books regardless. Some may find it too smoky but we just loved it.

Overall Rating: 99 - Excellent

So, quite a little number we've got here right out of the gate, wouldn't you say? We were pleasantly surprised by this new offering and really recommend that you at least give it a try if you've been looking for something strong in the espresso lineup. Our #1 fave was the Mastro Lorenzo Espresso T-Discs from several years back then the Carte Noire Espresso T-Discs which have been available for a while, but now we can proudly say King of Joe Espresso T-Discs are now right up there on our favorites list.

We've just barely scratched the surface of the new offerings that have just started hitting the market. There's still 2 more King of Joe T-Discs, 2 more Corner Coffeehouse T-Discs and 2 Tea Bar Iced Tea T-Discs to review over the coming weeks, all of them brand new to the market. Plus, just as when Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks hit K-Cups here in USA, Canadians are experiencing a major milestone this October when their beloved Tim Horton's coffee hits stores in T-Disc format. The good news? You'll also be able to order them in America as well. Plus they've still got the new Second Cup T-Discs coming out soon as well. We've been ragging on Kraft for many months but we think we owe them a BIG thank you for finally coming out with LOADS of new flavors not only in America but in Canada as well. All we can say is keep 'em coming guys, keep 'em coming!

King of Joe Espresso T-Discs will work in most Tassimo brewers and are available in 16-packs for $10.99 USD at CoffeeCow.com. Canadians can also order these T-Discs for $10.99 CAD at ECSCoffee.com.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to thank CoffeeCow for supplying 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 10, 2012 7:13 AM

Recent Comments

You don't suppose this flood fo new flavors has anything to do with Keurig's patent expiring on K-cups so anyone will be able to compete. KRAFT has already announced their own branded product.


Posted by: Merle at December 7, 2012 10:31 AM

I have some of this at home but haven't tried it yet because I'm still working through my stockpile of other discs. I am getting close though and after reading this I really can't wait. I LOVE smoky coffee.


Posted by: ao at September 11, 2012 7:58 AM
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