Woodshed Roasting Company Single Serve Cups Review
At Single Serve Coffee HQ, we're always on the lookout for local roasters/companies that are getting into the single serve market and often, we're contacted by companies who want us to review their products either before or after they've hit retail shelves. We were recently contacted by a micro roaster based out of Laconia, NH named Woodshed Roasting Company and they sent us some samples of their recent Single Serve Cups for use in Keurig K-Cup brewers. Rather than go with Real Cups or Rogers Family style soft-bottomed cups, they decided to try the new LBP UpShot Solution Cups. These cups are made from 100% recyclable materials and unlike K-Cups or Real Cups, the bottom piercing needle doesn't actually pierce the bottom of the cup as instead, water flows through the coffee and out the sides of the mesh filter.
Woodshed Roasting Company got their start in 2010 when the owner decided to start sample roasting coffee beans in the garage of his plumbing & heating business after reading about another local businessman starting up a shop that offered locally produced items. After a few scorched beans and several attempts later, they successfully managed to get their coffee introduced at local farmers markets, small country stores, natural food stores and some local restaurants. They continued to pursue those markets and have been experiencing growth ever since. We often stop by southern & central NH to do some shopping once in a while and to be honest, we had no clue that coffee roasters even existed in the state. It just goes to show you don't know what's under your nose until someone reaches out and grabs your attention (or as is often the case, until we stumble upon it by sheer luck).
With only a handful of local companies across the US (and soon the first big-brand, Melitta) using the UpShot Solution Cups, we were eager to test things out and see if they really could produce a "better brew" as LBP advertise. Rather than do individual reviews of each flavor we were sent, we're bunching them all together into one mega-review of sorts. The photos we've included here are mostly of the Winnipesaukee Weekend Blend flavor since we didn't notice that much difference in body between all 3 flavors.
Winnipesaukee Weekend Blend
Brewing these Single Serve Cups resulted in rich woodsy aromas with some earthy notes underneath and a slight hint of smoke hiding in the background. Flavor carried-through some of those notes as we got more earthy notes followed by some hits of smoky flavors blended with mostly notes of dark cocoa throughout. We also could taste some of the coffee's natural oils as well, but it wasn't anything overbearing. That's one thing that LBP had noted back when they first introduced their UpShot Solution Cups... that you'd be able to taste more details in each roast such as the oils. So far, so good as we were definitely getting what had been advertised.
Acidity seemed pretty well balanced throughout as we didn't notice any strong sour notes yet still felt the main flavors came popping through nonetheless. Body was a pleasantly vibrant sunburst shade of red, yellow & orange which reminded us of a lakeside sunrise and evoked thoughts of this coffee's namesake. Mouth feel seemed a bit light and somewhat watery, yet things were still smooth and the main flavors helped carry things along to a clean finish with faint smoky notes in the aftertaste.
Overall, while the mouth feel seemed a bit watery, this was still a rather pleasant coffee which yielded excellent results. It seemed suited mostly for those who like a lighter morning cup of coffee to get things started throughout the day. Definitely worth a try if you're interested. This coffee is Fair Trade Certified and 100% USDA Organic.
Brewing these Single Serve Cups resulted in deep robust notes of burnt hickory and rich oils nuanced with faint traces of cinnamon notes buried underneath. Billed as a medium-dark roast, flavor seemed more on the dark side (the force is strong with this one!) and definitely reminded us of some Sumatran coffees we've had in the past. We detected notes of coffee bean oils up front followed by strong tinges of dark chocolate alongside some rich earthy notes covered in smoky hickory. We also detected very faint cinnamon notes hiding in the background much like in the aroma and a pleasantly sweet taste profile near the middle of each sip.
Acidity was leaning a smidge on the strong side but nowhere as intense as your average Starbucks fare and in general, it seemed more or less balanced as it wasn't strong to the point of washing-out the primary flavors yet kept a smooth warmth and liveliness flowing throughout each sip and kept luring us back in like some form of sweet exotic fruit. Body was a deep red tinged with shades of orange & slight touches of amber around the edges. Mouth feel was a little bit on the lighter side, but we wouldn't exactly call it watery since it had a substantial feel to it which, if anything, was rather well-balanced as it didn't seem oily either.
Overall, we'd say this is our favorite of the bunch so far. It remains to be seen if the French Roast Blend can outperform it. It seems suited mostly for those who like light-intensity dark roasts which don't seem overbearingly burnt or oily and makes for a decent light alternative to the Charbucks crowd who are looking for something a bit less intense yet still satisfyingly dark. This coffee is Fair Trade Certified and 100% USDA Organic.
French Roast Blend
Brewing these Single Serve Cups resulted in strong smoky notes touched by hints of chocolate & sweet cocoa as well as faint woodsy notes in the background. Flavor revealed a strong presence of oils from the roasting process along with notes of dark chocolate, hickory and faint hints of molasses buried underneath. We really liked it as a very dark roast but to be honest, we still think the Sumatra Mandheling is the best flavor of the 3. There was a bit of a mild sweetness near the end of each sip, but the Sumatra still seemed sweeter.
Acidity was really well balanced as we were expecting strong sour notes but things remained calm & smooth instead. We got all of the smoky roasted notes and the primary flavors without having anything washed away by a strong sour bite. Body was characteristically dark with deep reds tinged with amber notes throughout. Mouth feel remained surprisingly smooth for such a dark roast and unlike the previous flavors, there wasn't as much of a watery feel overall. More of the smoky notes revealed themselves and lingered in the aftertaste.
Overall, this is a well done dark French Roast coffee which should satisfy most French Roast fans and is suited mostly for those who prefer dark roast coffees. It's strong, but still nowhere as strong as Starbucks or Coffee People K-Cups.
Overall Final Thoughts
We like that a small micro roaster had the foresight to expand his business in order to cater to the single serve coffee market and we think it was a smart move which should prove successful for the company. Most small roasters couldn't be bothered to make the investment or take the time to market such products but Woodshed Roasting Company took the plunge and ended up producing a truly remarkable alternative to K-Cups. We also like how they showed us their gamut of roasts from lighter to medium-dark all the way to super dark with the French Roast Blend. It gave us a good idea of the quality they're able to produce and their attention to detail during the roasting process (plus it makes us anxious to try some of their flavored varieties).
The fact that a good selection of their coffee is Fair Trade Certified and 100% USDA Organic (and more recently, Rainforest Alliance Certified) only helps support their choice of using the 100% recyclable UpShot Solution Cups. From start to finish, this company's single serve products are geared to be socially responsible and environmentally friendly all while supporting the coffee farmers who source the beans in the first place. We applaud the folks at Woodshed Roasting Company for these decisions and hope they inspire other local roasters around the area to do the same.
When we first started reviewing single serve coffee products in what seems like ages ago, we NEVER thought we'd one day see K-Cup compatible products from 3rd-party companies or even competing companies (i.e. Kraft's entry into the K-Cup knock-off scene). The fact that a small independent micro roaster now has their own products in single serve format just blows our minds. This is an amazing feat which if it catches on with enough consumers, could end up making Woodshed Roasting Company nationally famous just like many big-brand companies today.
Keurig may be kicking themselves for letting their K-Cup patent expire, but in our opinion, it's likely one of the best things that ever happened as it now allows small companies like Woodshed to enter the market and show that they're capable of producing something that can stand up in quality to anything the big brands can make. In our books, that's just awesome.
Woodshed Roasting Company Single Serve Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in 16-packs for $11.85 USD (Winnipesaukee Weekend Blend & French Roast Blend) & $12.85 USD (Sumatra Mandheling) at WoodshedRoast.com. These Single Serve Cups are not available for shipping to Canada. Please also note that Single Serve 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 thank Woodshed Roasting Company for sending us samples of these Single Serve Cups for the purpose of this review.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at August 20, 2013 7:29 AM