September 16, 2013

Dunkin Donuts Caramel K-Cups Review

Dunkin Donuts Caramel K Cup

Earlier this year, Dunkin Donuts revealed a new flavor to their K-Cup line-up after last year’s new Mocha K-Cups were introduced… Dunkin Donuts Caramel K-Cups. Even though it’s been available for several months, we are just now getting the chance to review it. Better late than never, right? Oddly enough, even though Dunkins advertise these flavors as limited editions, they seem to always be available at various shops whenever we stop by, so we’re not exactly sure what the story is behind that, but hey… all the better (for example, last year’s Mocha K-Cups are STILL currently available at some shops).

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in a rich aroma blend of buttery caramel with some creamy notes on the top end. The first thing we thought of was that it smelled almost spot-on with the taste of Werther’s caramel candies (if that makes any sense). It was so pleasantly intoxicating & inviting that we were seriously wishing Glade made this aroma into one of their scented candles.

Dunkin Donuts Caramel K Cups in keurig

Flavor was a bit more on the sour side than we were expecting as a sharp sour note is the first thing we noticed upon first sip. It took a few seconds before we started noticing the caramel flavor in the background which had very subtle butter & cream notes buried underneath. Things improved somewhat when we added actual creamer to the coffee as it subdued the sour notes and brought forth the caramel flavors while adding to the overall creamy taste. We’re a bit disappointed that the coffee is so sour since we normally always take our coffee black. The fact that you need to add milk or creamer to kill the sour note is just an added inconvenience to us, but those who already add creamer to their coffee anyway likely won’t be too bothered by this.

Acidity was the main culprit of the sour notes as it was considerably strong and almost washed-out the main caramel flavors underneath. As we noted above, things leveled-out somewhat when we added creamer, but we shouldn’t have needed to do this at all. Body fared a lot better as it yielded deep orange & beige notes when held in front of a light source which reminded us of Kraft caramel candy (then ironically enough, when we added a touch of creamer, it reminded us of Werther’s caramel candy). Mouth feel was somewhat on the thicker side and almost like light syrup and only improved and became more smooth & silky when we added creamer. Finish was sour when taken black & sweet with the addition of creamer. In both instances, a lingering note of faint caramel remained in the aftertaste.

Dunkin Donuts Caramel K Cups brewed

  • Aroma – 10 – An intoxicatingly rich blend of buttery caramel with creamy notes on the top end left us standing around the kitchen like zombies. Very, very, happy zombies. Our heads… uh… hats-off to Dunkins for knocking the aroma out of the park. Outstanding.
  • Acidity – 4 – Bad acidity! No soup for you! This was the major downfall of this coffee as the acidity was so strong it almost washed-out the main caramel flavors. Thankfully, adding some creamer seemed to remedy the situation somewhat and is what earns this category a higher score than 1 (which is what we were going to originally give it).
  • Body – 10 – Deep orange & beige notes when held in front of a light source. Reminded us of the color seen on Kraft caramel candies while the addition of creamer made the color more reminiscent of Werther’s caramel candies. Either way, it’s a win for us.
  • Flavor – 8 – Things kick off with an overly sour note which is what knocks some points off in this category. We’re still giving it an 8 since the addition of creamer helps push forth the main buttery caramel flavors while adding to the existing creamy notes in the coffee.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Leaning on the thicker side like light syrup, but things improved with the addition of creamer which added a smooth & silky feel overall. In both instances, a lingering note of faint caramel remained in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – While we wouldn’t rush out and say this coffee is suited for caramel fanatics, we’ll note that it’s probably more suited to flavored coffee fans who don’t mind some sour notes in their coffees (or who don’t mind having to add creamer in order to balance things out). You’ll just have to decide if the $11.99 price is worth the taste test experience since Dunkins don’t sell single K-Cups.

Overall Rating: 91 – Exceptional

While we’ve seen some outstanding Dunkins K-Cup flavors in the past (Dunkin’ Dark), others have been total disasters (Hazelnut). Thankfully this time around, the only thing that leaves us feeling sour about this coffee (pun intended) is the acidity level and to a lesser extent, the flavor (once we doctored it with creamer). We struggled with the score as we kept feeling it deserved to score lower when taken black, but things improved enough to raise the score once creamer was added. We ultimately decided to give it the higher score in the end.

While our friends up North are no strangers to adding milk/creamer & sugar to their Tim Hortons coffee (the Double-Double could likely be crowned their National Drink if it hasn’t been already), we’ve always had the habit of taking our coffee black, in its purest unaltered form in order to enjoy the full flavors. A quick look around the Dunkins shop during our visit showed much of the same as most folks weren’t adding anything to their orders either. The fact that this coffee only comes alive when you add creamer to it seems a bit annoying to us, but hey… if that’s what it takes, so be it. At least it’s a fixable situation whereas most other coffees with this problem couldn’t be remedied no matter what we were trying. This does however pose an issue to those who are lactose intolerant (we have no idea how almond milk, soy milk, etc. would affect the taste/texture).

Those gripes aside, we still liked this coffee and think it’s a worthy addition to the Dunkin Donuts K-Cup line-up. While they’re a bit pricy and annoyingly only available in-store at Dunkins shops, they’re still worth a try if you’re interested.

Dunkin Donuts Caramel K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in most Dunkins shops in USA in 14-packs for $11.99 USD. These K-Cups are not currently available in Canada. Please also note that K-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 we purchased a box of these K-Cups on our own for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at September 16, 2013 7:29 AM
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