October 22, 2012

Review: Café Escapes Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Vue Packs

Review Single Serve CoffeeReviewcafescapesdarkchocolatehotcocoavuepacksIMGP4940

Today we decided to take a look at an addition to the Vue Pack lineup from earlier this year... Café Escapes Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Vue Packs. We've already tried their K-Cup version, so we were interested to see how this version would stack-up in comparison.

Brewing these Vue Packs resulted in medium aromas of dark chocolate but it wasn't as strong as what we were expecting. At first we thought that maybe some of the powder got stuck inside the Vue Pack but we made sure to shake it and tilt it backwards (to free up any remaining powder from the outlet spout) prior to brewing and sure enough... when we checked the Vue Pack afterwards, it was clean as could be... no left-over powder whatsoever. Odd... you'd think for a dark chocolate, it would have had a richer scent.

Flavor was a bit more in line with what we had imagined with notes of dark cocoa present and a decent infusion of sugary notes throughout to offset the usual bitter notes of dark chocolate (we're guessing this Vue Pack is aimed more at kids instead of adults) but we can't deny wishing there would have been a stronger dark chocolate taste overall. Body was an opaque dark brown which was spot-on with the K-Cup version and was definitely darker than the milk chocolate version plus we even noticed a light froth on top. Acidity was non-existent since this was after all a hot cocoa and not a coffee.

Mouth feel was... a bit off. We were expecting something rich & creamy but instead got something which was bordering on being watered-down. We double-checked the settings on the machine to make sure we hadn't somehow hit a larger brew size, but the default 8oz had been selected. As best we can recall, we don't think the K-Cup version suffered from this issue and to be honest, it was the main weak point of this Vue Pack which left us the most disappointed. Finish was a bit dry with a mild chocolate aftertaste.


Since the strong feature is disabled when brewing Hot Cocoas, we do not have a secondary score for this Vue Pack and the primary score resumes its role in determining the overall rating.

  • Aroma - 7 - Medium aromas of dark chocolate are present but not as strong as we were expecting.
  • Acidity - 10 - None whatsoever, helps any flavors shine through without impeding anything.
  • Body - 10 - An opaque dark brown characteristic of dark chocolate. Spot-on with the K-Cup version. Very light froth on top.
  • Flavor - 7 - Notes of dark cocoa are present and you can tell sugar was added to appease the kids, but we were really hoping for a stronger chocolate taste overall.
  • Mouth Feel - 5 - This is where things take a turn for the worse. Beyond any doubt, mouth feel was the major weak point in this Vue Pack. Everything seemed on the verge of being too watered down and we didn't get any creamy or substantial texture at all. Mostly dry finish with a mild chocolate aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker - Obviously this isn't a coffee, but then again, if you're looking for an exceptionally strong dark chocolate flavor, you might be a bit let down here. If you prefer a sweeter tinge to your dark chocolate or want a lighter-feeling hot cocoa which isn't as thick or syrupy as some can be, then this might be right up your alley.

Overall Rating: 89 - Good


Overall, we still like the taste that's present here and consider these Vue Packs to be good overall, just nothing extra-ordinary enough to earn them an excellent rating. We still recommend giving these a try if you ever get a chance to do so, but we think those in charge of the formula/ingredients need to go back to the drawing board and really boost-up the dark chocolate flavor to be a bit more in-line with what their K-Cup version can produce. If Nestlé can figure out how to make a super-rich dark chocolate hot cocoa in powder-packet format, it shouldn't be too difficult for GMCR to do the same thing in a Vue Pack.

Café Escapes Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Vue Packs are 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 of the system here. The Keurig Vue Packs are not compatible with older Keurig K-Cup systems. The Keurig Vue V700 system 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 thank Green Mountain for sending us a sample of these Vue Packs for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at October 22, 2012 7:43 AM
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