March 1, 2013

Review: Martinson Breakfast Blend Real Cups

Review Single Serve CoffeeReviewmartinsonbreakfastblendrealcupsIMGP5194

When we first heard of the Martinson Coffee brand, we were left scratching our heads since we hadn't even been aware of the brand to begin with. You can only imagine our surprise once we did our research and found out that the brand has been around since 1898. According to their company history page on their website, Martinson Coffee was the brainchild of Joe Martinson who came to New York City in the late 1800s. He would apparently select beans right from the docking ships and roast them himself in his mother's kitchen.

He would sell fresh roasted whole beans from a pushcart in his neighborhood and as news grew, his coffee became more and more popular amongst the locals to the point where people from all areas started seeking what he had to offer. As time went on, Joe eventually bought a small factory and sold his premium coffee to hotels and restaurants. What shocked us even more was that the term Cup of Joe is rumored to have evolved from Joe's reputation and popularity of his coffee (although we've also heard stories about how it evolved from military officers' consumption of coffee since they were often referred to as G.I. Joes back in the 50s & 60s).

To signify the quality of his product, Joe even went so far as to have delivery drivers dress up as chauffeurs and hotels & restaurant coffee deliveries throughout Manhattan in a small fleet of Rolls Royces painted with his company logo in the 1930s. He later used small airplanes to fly company banners across the NYC skyline and served free coffee to Wall Street in the dead of winter from a Martinson bus as a marketing strategy.


Martinson Coffee was apparently so popular that it gained a bit of cult status to the point where Andy Warhol even painted Martinson Coffee cans and more recently, Martinson Coffee was even depicted as a real client in a Season 2 episode of the TV series Mad Men. How the heck had we never heard of this coffee brand before?!? Wow... with such an amazing history behind it, we decided to pay closer attention to things on our 2nd review in the brand's Real Cup series... Martinson Breakfast Blend Real Cups.


Brewing these Real Cups resulted in light smoky aromas that had a bit of an earthy undertone overall. Flavor was again earthy in nature with notes of dark chocolate throughout followed by some smoky tinges near the end of each sip. We also detected faint citrus notes hiding underneath. Acidity was fairly balanced overall as it was mild enough to keep things from veering too much on the sour end while being vibrant enough to liven up the final taste profile.

Body was light brown in color with shades of orange & red when held in front of a light source evoking the characteristic colors of a morning sunrise. Mouth feel was smooth although bordering on the watery side but the presence of oils sort of toned that down a bit. These oils followed through to the finish which was predominantly smoky while having faint oily notes that occasionally popped-up during the aftertaste. We also detected a mild sweetness in the aftertaste which was a pleasant surprise.

  • Aroma - 9 - Light smoky aromas with a bit of an earthy undertone. Right on-par with most morning blend coffees we've seen to date.
  • Acidity - 9 - A bit on the lighter side but still well-balanced overall. Doesn't make things sour yet is lively enough to support the taste profile.
  • Body - 10 - Light brown with notes of orange & red when held to a light source. Reminded us of a morning sunrise which fit the namesake quite well. It's also been a while since we've seen lighter colors which made for a nice difference.
  • Flavor - 10 - Reminded us of a lighter version of IHOP's coffee. Mostly earthy in nature with notes of dark chocolate throughout followed by smoky tinges near the end of each sip. Faint citrus notes later revealed themselves as well. Overall, a nice start to a morning which would pair well with most breakfast meals.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - Smooth although bordering on the watery side. This was kept in check due to the presence of oils which helped tone things down a bit. The oily notes followed through to the finish which was mostly smoky with faint oily notes in the aftertaste. The fact that some sweetness showed up shortly afterwards was an added bonus and a pleasant surprise.
  • Coffee Drinker - This one seems to fit a balance between stronger more acidic fare like Dunkins or Tims yet isn't as docile as some mom & pop diner coffees we've seen before. While not exactly a Denny's style coffee, it's as we noted, more of a lighter version of IHOP's coffee. Anyone who enjoys a decent morning blend coffee should enjoy this. We're even thinking of adding it to our morning routine ourselves.

Overall Rating: 97 - Excellent

As noted above, there was something else about this coffee we couldn't quite place. While it didn't exactly taste like something you'd get at a Dunkins or Tim Hortons, it didn't exactly taste like something you'd get at a Denny's or a mom & pop diner either. Even though it's been a while since we've frequented one, the closest thing we could compare this too is a lighter version of IHOP's coffee. As you can imagine, this coffee pairs well with its namesake as we could very easily see adding this to or morning routine paired up with a serving of bacon & eggs or a stack of pancakes.

We've got to admit, we've been quite pleased with the quality of offerings we've seen to date in the Real Cup line up and think we might have finally found a slightly cheaper alternative to K-Cups. The quality is there, the consistency seems to be holding up (so far) and the taste with this latest flavor is right on-par with what you'd get in most chain restaurants. We also won't deny (as mentioned earlier) that until now, we had never even heard or been aware of the Martinson coffee brand which seems absurd given the brand's history, but if an unfamiliar (to us) brand can produce these kinds of results, we can't wait to see what more popular brands such as the Marley Coffee Real Cups will be like.

Martinson Breakfast Blend Real Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in Canada in 24-packs for $15.75 CAD or can be purchased individually for $0.89 CAD each at These Real Cups are also available in 24-packs for $13.99 USD at in USA. Please also note that Real Cups will NOT work with Keurig Vue brewers.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that these Real Cups were supplied by ECS Coffee for the purpose of this review.

Read More in: K Cup Reviews | Keurig & K-Cups | Reviews

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Posted by Jay Brewer at March 1, 2013 5:55 AM
Recent Comments

We are proud to be part of the Real Cup family of brands. Great coffee and the unique filterting system deliver the perfect cup.

Posted by: Brent Toevs at March 1, 2013 7:32 AM
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