January 13, 2014

Archer Farms Caramel Macchiato Single Cups Review

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Archer Farms is Target's own in-house brand for food products and we decided to continue checking out their single serve coffee line-up today by reviewing their Archer Farms Caramel Macchiato Single Cups. As we've noted in previous reviews, there's no indication or branding anywhere on the packaging to indicate that Real Cups are being used for Archer Farms single serve products, but given the similarities, we wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be the case.

Typically a milk-based frothy drink, a conventional caramel macchiato this is not. We were wondering just what goal Archer Farms were trying to aim for here and could only come to the conclusion that they wanted to produce a regular coffee that had a similar taste as a macchiato. This would seem rather difficult given the fact that there's no milk ingredients present in these Single Cups and for the sake of not altering the final flavor, we decided not to add any milk creamer for this review although we can see how that might help move things more in line with the actual flavor of a macchiato-style drink.

Brewing these Single Cups resulted in mild aromas of sweet caramel which had all the caramel notes of a macchiato yet none of the espresso notes as an espresso-style coffee apparently wasn't used here. Not too bad overall, although we think a stronger/bolder coffee might have helped bring things more in line with the real deal.

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Flavor seemed to follow suit as we got mostly notes of buttery caramel with some faint citrusy tinges lurking in the background. As noted above, we didn't add any creamer so the taste did not really replicate anything you'd find in an actual caramel macchiato other than the bursts of caramel. Had they decided to add a powdered creamer into these single cups, it might have improved things somewhat. As far as a caramel-flavored coffee, we got the usual sour notes which seem forever present in caramel coffees but it wasn't as strong as what we're used to and this allowed for the caramel notes to move forward and finally dominate the cup. You definitely won't have any problem finding a caramel taste here, so good job in that regard.

Acidity was bright and gave a bit of a pop at first sip but quickly balanced out and helped move things along. Body yielded shades of golden orange and yellow much like the namesake caramel notes which were present in the coffee and had we added creamer, this would be identical to the beige color of a macchiato minus (obviously) the thick froth on top. Mouth feel remained smooth overall and it almost seemed like a light syrupy feel was also present throughout which made for a pleasant experience combined with the caramel notes in the flavor. Finish was a blend of sweet & sour notes which gave way to a mild caramel aftertaste.

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  • Aroma - 9 - Mild aromas of caramel quickly fill the room but single a stronger/bolder coffee wasn't used, we don't get any of the typical espresso notes you'd find in a real macchiato.
  • Acidity - 9 - Bright overall with a bit of a pop at first sip. Things balanced out quite well in the end and moved things along quite nicely.
  • Body - 8 - Shades of golden orange and yellow much akin to caramel was present but since we didn't use any milk, the typical beige shades from a macchiato weren't present.
  • Flavor - 8 - Predominantly sweet caramel notes were present throughout which made for a good caramel-flavored coffee, but we didn't get any espresso notes since a stronger/bolder coffee wasn't used. We also found it a bit odd that some citrusy notes were lurking around in the background and admit that we didn't get any milk notes since we obviously didn't add any creamer.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - Smooth overall with a bit of a light syrupy feel which played well with the caramel notes in the coffee. Finish was a blend of sweet & sour notes with more caramel present in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker - If you like caramel-flavored coffees, then you definitely need to give this one a try as it's not as overbearingly sour as most we've tried in the past and has a fairly good caramel taste. Don't kid yourself though as a regular Arabica coffee can't really be compared to an espresso-based macchiato drink and you certainly won't be getting that here.

Overall Rating: 93 - Exceptional

So, what can we make of this Single Cup? To be honest, we're not sure why Archer Farms decided to name this coffee as caramel macchiato since the espresso component is missing. They should have played things less fancy and just called thiscaramel coffee, plain & simple. We find this works much better as a caramel-flavored coffee and a rather decent one at that (so much so that it helped earn extra points). The fact that you get 18 Single Cups in a box for $10.99 USD makes this a good alternative to the more expensive caramel K-Cup coffees on the market plus we're sure you'll find this is nowhere as sour as some of the caramel-flavored K-Cup brands (Dunkins, we're looking at you).

There are still some Archer Farms flavored coffees that haven't made the switch to Single Cup format yet, most notably one we've been keep our eye on very closesly... Coconut Macaroon. As anyone who reads this site regularly will know, we're suckers for anything coconut and would love to see what Archer Farms could achieve if they took that coffee the single serve route. We also think they could introduce other flavors that haven't been done before or introduce some of their single-origin coffees in Single Cup format as well. We'd also like to see Target Canada start selling Single Cups in their stores since after all, this is labeled as a Product of Canada. Maybe in the next year or so we'll see these things occur and we'll certainly be looking forward to seeing what Archer Farms has in store. Out of all the in-house brands we've tried to date, Archer Farms seems to be the best we've seen so far.

Archer Farms Caramel Macchiato Single Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup brewers and are available at most Target locations in USA & online at Target.com in 18-packs for $10.99 USD. You can also pick these up at Amazon.com if there is not a Target in your area. Smaller 3-pack sampler sleeves are also available in-store for $1.99 USD. These Single Cups are not currently available in Canada (despite being labeled as a Product of Canada). Please also note that Single 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 Single Cups on our own 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 January 13, 2014 7:41 AM

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