October 8, 2012

Review: Café Escapes Café Vanilla K-Cups

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We kick things off today by reviewing a recent K-Cup addition to the Café Escapes line-up... Café Escapes Café Vanilla K-Cups. We’ve come to expect pretty decent results from Café Escapes over the years and their hot cocoas remain some of our favorites to date. We were intrigued when we noticed some new flavors pop up on Green Mountain’s site as web-exclusives, so we decided to give this one a try.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in delicate notes of sweet vanilla filling the room with hints of coffee in the background. The main notes were vanilla with coffee aromas being pushed to the back, something you might see in a vanilla latte. Flavor was pretty much the same with sweet notes of vanilla flowing through at first sip with faint notes of coffee in the background. We were wondering why we weren’t getting more of a coffee flavor until we remembered that Café Escapes use instant coffee in their K-Cups/Vue Packs. While we’re not exactly fans of instant coffee, we can put up with it in this case since it didn’t seem to be impacting the main flavor of vanilla. Instead, things seemed a bit lighter than what we were expecting.

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Body was the usual beige of a vanilla latte with very faint hints of froth on the top. Acidity was kept at a bare minimum and was barely noticeable until you got to the end of each sip. Mouth feel was smooth throughout with more hints of vanilla on the finish while the very mild sour notes of the instant coffee’s acidity revealed themselves only in the aftertaste.

  • Aroma – 8 – Delicate notes of vanilla were present and left no doubt you were brewing a vanilla drink, but we wished the coffee aromas would have been more pronounced.
  • Acidity – 9 – Due to it being almost non-existent, the acidity didn’t hamper the light & delicate vanilla flavors from pushing through to the foreground, so this actually helped things out rather than impede them.
  • Body – 10 – Usual shades of beige much like a vanilla latte with a very faint froth on top. Nothing unexpected or warranting point loss here.
  • Flavor – 7 – Things kick off with a sweet vanilla flavor up front but it’s not as strong as what we were expecting. We also barely noticed the instant coffee flavor in the background and were a bit disappointed with that. Yes, we realize how odd that seems since we usually despise instant coffee on its own, but some extra coffee flavor could have gone a long way here.
  • Mouth Feel – 10 – Smooth overall with some more vanilla notes on the finish while the mild sour notes of the acidity only showed up in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited best for those who like sweet & creamy café style drinks. If you like the sweet vanilla notes of a vanilla latte, you’ll likely enjoy these K-Cups; just don’t expect to taste much coffee notes out of them.

Overall Rating: 94 – Exceptional

Despite some of our gripes about these K-Cups, we still think they more or less achieved what they set out to do. You get a light, sweet vanilla flavor with a decent milky/creamy texture and it somewhat mimics what you’d get out of a vanilla latte. Considering that Green Mountain were able to achieve that out of a K-Cup, we can’t complain too much. Yes, they can seem a bit costly but keep in mind that there are 3 ingredients present here… the vanilla flavoring powder, the milk powder and the instant coffee powder. So with several ingredients being combined, we can kind of understand why they’re charging a bit more for these K-Cups vs. what you’re used to paying for coffee-only K-Cups.

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Do we wish they’d used real ground coffee? Yes. Do we think they’ll change the formula when they eventually release this flavor as a Vue Pack? No. Do we think this is still worth trying out? Yes. Bottom line is that we actually enjoyed this K-Cup and thought it made for a nice lighter variant to all the stronger flavored vanilla lattes you’d find at your corner coffee shop. We also enjoy the convenience of the K-Cup format and that there’s no mess to clean-up. Plus you can make this in your own home, in your own favorite mug, whenever you want vs. having to stand in line waiting for your drink to be prepared at a coffee shop. We at least recommend giving these a try or seeking out samples if your local retailer allows you to buy single K-Cups.

Café Escapes Café Vanilla K-Cups will work in all Keurig K-Cup brewers and are available in 24-packs for $19.49 USD ($16.53 USD Club Price) at GreenMountainCoffee.com. Canadians can also order these K-Cups from Green Mountain if they’re willing to pay extra for shipping & brokerage charges.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to thank Green Mountain for sending us samples of these K-Cups for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at October 8, 2012 7:43 AM

Recent Comments

I know that Target in the states carry this flavor. Try there either in the US or Canada.


Posted by: Dan at October 20, 2014 12:15 AM

The Cafe Escapes Cafe Vanilla K-cup is my all-time favourite flavour, but can't find it in the stores anymore! Used to buy them in the Niagara Falls, New York Walmart but haven't seen them at all, in the last month or two... Unfortunaly I've never seen the Cafe Vanilla flavour sold at the Niagara Falls Canada Walmart, which would be ideal for me since I live in Canada. Is there another store that I can find the Cafe Escapes Cafe Vanilla flavour?


Posted by: Fran Burdett at October 11, 2014 9:38 AM
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