May 10, 2013

Review: President’s Choice Great Canadian T-Discs

Review Single Serve CoffeeReviewpresidentschoicegreatcanadiantdiscsIMGP4996

President’s Choice is an in-store brand created by Loblaws grocery stores in Canada and they regularly release seasonal products which they’ve developed via their test kitchens, market research/focus groups as well as their team of chefs who travel the world to find source ingredients. They most recently rose to national fame when they introduced a new TV series/content via Food Network Canada called “Recipe To Riches” (currently within its 2nd season) where contestants from anywhere in Canada can submit their recipe to a panel of judges and compete to have their recipe/product featured on store shelves each week.

We expected President’s Choice to come out with a new kind of marinade sauce or snack product but they completely shocked the Canadian single serve world and took us by surprise this past Summer when they announced a partnership with Kraft’s Tassimo system and agreed to release their line of in-house coffees in T-Disc format. This would mark the beginning of Kraft branching-out more often and licensing T-Discs with many outside companies since their split with Starbucks. Unfortunately, Loblaws don’t have any stores in USA, so these T-Discs are uniquely a Canada-only product.

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President’s Choice are also famous for creating “knock-offs” of brand-name products and in this instance, their Great Canadian coffee is supposed to be a knock-off of Tim Hortons regular coffee. At the time, Tim’s had yet to come out with their own T-Disc, so Canadians snapped these up the moment they hit store shelves. The reduced pricing (a first of its kind since Loblaws had a controlling factor due to product containing their coffee and being sold only in their stores) also helped to push sales along quite nicely. So, now that you know the background store, let’s get to the review.

Brewing these T-Discs resulted in an aroma that had mild smoky notes mixed with faint citrus notes on the finish. Billed as a “Light to Medium Roast” (no, that’s not a typo), flavor was oddly enough medium in taste while seeming lighter in strength with notes of bittersweet chocolate and molasses up front blended with smoky flavors in the background. Acidity was definitely present and gave off some sour notes throughout the cup. We wish things would have been a bit more balanced here, but overall it wasn’t that bad.

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Body was medium brown in color with shades of red when held in front of a light source. Mouth feel was a bit dry & sharp due to the acidity and seemed bordering on being watery. Finish was a bit sour with some of the smoke & chocolate notes appearing in the aftertaste. We’d also like to note that this is the first time (at least to our recollection) that we’ve seen a T-Disc that had actual artwork or imagery on the foil lid. We liked that touch and found it made for an enjoyable “look” in our storage rack. It also made for a few “oohs” and “ahhs” amongst some Single Serve Coffee staff members when we first opened the packaging. Unfortunately, this was the only thing that left us overly impressed with these T-Discs.

  • Aroma – 7 – Mild smoky notes mixed with faint citrusy notes on the finish.
  • Acidity – 6 – A bit on the stronger side which rendered an overly sour taste in the final cup. We wished things would have been more balanced overall.
  • Body – 8 – Medium brown with notes of red when held to a light source.
  • Flavor – 6 – An odd mix of medium taste with lighter strength. Bittersweet chocolate & molasses up front mixed with smoky flavors in the background.
  • Mouth Feel – 7 – The sour acidity made things dry & sharp overall with an almost watery feel while finish was somewhat sour with faint smoke & chocolate notes appearing in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – If you prefer lighter roasts with overly sour acidic notes, this will likely suit you. Medium or dark roast fans best look elsewhere and if you think this can compare to Tim Hortons regular coffee, you’re very likely going to be left disappointed.

Overall Rating: 84 – Average

While we won’t exactly claim that they’ve nailed the signature Tim Hortons aroma & flavor profile, we’ll admit that President’s Choice at least gave it a decent effort. There are instances which seem to evoke memories of a Tim’s coffee (loads of smoke, sour acidic notes) but it just doesn’t come close enough to call these T-Discs true “clones” of the real thing. It should be noted that this is only 1 of 4 T-Discs flavors which President’s Choice have released, so we’re hoping we’ll find at least 1 favorite out of the bunch once we finish reviewing the entire series.

Some people claim to actually prefer this coffee over Tim Hortons own coffee while others just seem to enjoy it as their everyday coffee regardless of the situation. We’ve certainly seen better & know that the Tassimo system is able to produce far superior results given the right ingredients & brewing times/temperatures, but we still think that for a store-brand coffee, this is a pretty decent try nonetheless and at several dollars less than most T-Discs on the market, they’re worth a try if there’s a Loblaws-owned grocery store in your area.

President’s Choice Great Canadian T-Discs work in all Tassimo Brewers (dual barcodes for home & professional models are on the discs) and are available in 14-packs for $6.99 CAD or lower at various Loblaws grocery store chains. You can find out more info via their product page at PresidentsChoice.ca. These T-Discs are not currently sold in USA.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased these T-Discs on our own for the purpose of this review.

Read More in: Reviews | T Disc Reviews | Tassimo & T-Discs

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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 10, 2013 5:14 AM

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