January 21, 2014

Gloria Jeans Caramel Almond Torte K-Cups Review

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Gloria Jeans is a brand that has stuck around and endured the years with Keurig ever since the company first started creating K-Cup brewers and for the longest time, we hadn't seen any new flavors emerge under the brand for just as long. Then a few years ago, we started getting tips from our readers that the brand was releasing new flavors but that they could only be purchased at select retailers. The same holds true today as we check out a flavor that was originally only available at Target stores across USA... Gloria Jeans Caramel Almond Torte K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in delicate notes of amaretto which (despite what the connoisseurs would argue) often reminds us of those little bottles of artificial almond flavoring our grandparents used to flavor icings & cookies during the holidays. We also noted some nice hints of vanilla & caramel lurking around in the background which helped to complete the experience. If you add it all together, it's a pretty close match to a slice of the real deal being served up, except in a cup vs. a plate.

Flavor was surprisingly spot-on as we noted more notes of caramel & almonds which played well off each other instead of masking things up. We got the notes of almonds which were similar to if shavings from a marzipan log had been dumped in the cup and for the first time in a LONG while, we could actually taste the caramel instead of the usual sour mess that most caramel-flavored coffee seem to bring. We also notices some slight vanilla notes in the background which we suppose could count as the crust portion of the torte but that's kind of pushing it a bit if we say so ourselves. 

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Acidity was definitely present and yielded a subtle kick near the end of each sip but things remained mostly bright without being too overly sour, which again, always seems to be the case with most caramel coffees we've seen in the past. Body yielded bright sunburst shades of golden orange much akin to the color of caramel from the namesake flavor while mouth feel seemed to be a bit on the lighter side with a slight watery feel. We'd normal dock a chunk of points but the flavors were so well-executed that they made us forget about the watery feel and kept things moving along. Finish was rather sweet with more notes of caramel & almonds in the aftertaste.

  • Aroma - 10 - Delicate notes of amaretto reminded us of almond flavoring often used in baking and fit right into the whole torte theme on the packaging. We also noted hints of vanilla and buttery caramel underneath. Nicely done.
  • Acidity - 9 - A bit on the bright side with a subtle kick near the back end of each sip. Gave a slight sour note but nothing as sour as most caramel-flavored coffees we've seen in the past. 
  • Body - 10 - Bright sunburst shades of golden orange reminded us of the caramel notes in the namesake flavor.
  • Flavor - 10 - Caramel? Check. Almond? Check. Torte? Uh... check? You definitely get the taste of almonds & sweet caramel throughout the cup and we suppose the hints of vanilla could stand in for the torte crust if you wanted to stretch your imagination a bit. Since we can FINALLY taste caramel in a caramel-based coffee, this one earns a 10.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - A bit on the lighter side with a slight watery feel but the main flavors help keep things popping and distract you from that fact. Rather sweet finish with lingering caramel & almond notes in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker - This one is best suited for those who like medium flavored coffees and anyone who has ever wanted to melt a chunk of marzipan in their coffee. 

Overall Rating: 98 - Excellent!

Love it or hate it, it seems the de-facto flavors for most coffee brands when they're first released are always French Vanilla & Hazelnut. When K-Cup brewers and Vue Pack brewers hit the market, it was none other than Gloria Jeans who had the first hazelnut flavored coffee in both formats and they excelled for the most part as one of the best hazelnut flavors available at the time. It should come as no surprise then that Gloria Jeans is again blazing a new flavor trail by releasing new & creative dessert-inspired coffees. It was just recently announced that their next K-Cup flavor already on shelves is Brown Sugar Cake and we can't wait to give it a try. If it's anything like these Caramel Almond Torte K-Cups, then we're sure they'll be a hit (providing people can manage to actually find them). 

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We've seen this retailer-exclusive trend before and it's really, really annoying. While we understand that a retailer might make a deal with Kraft or GMCR to promote sales of products in their stores, we think the practice will ultimately hurt them in the long run as people get fed-up of having to hunt down specialty flavors that are only available at select stores. It makes them more difficult to find and in some instances, we've had to go without since every time we'd visit a local store, they'd ALWAYS be sold-out and could never advise when more stock would arrive. We think that all flavors should be sold at all stores, not just hidden away at specific retailers forcing consumers on endless scavenger hunts. It makes sense for Dunkins to only sell Dunkins K-Cups in their shops, but for a national brand only to have select flavors carried at 1 specific retailer and nowhere else? That just isn't fair and is rather asinine in our opinion.

That being said, for those who are lucky enough to find a box, they'll see that their time was well spent as this is one of the best flavored coffees we've seen produced from the Gloria Jeans brand in quite some time and as noted above, it looks like they're not done rolling-out new flavors yet.

Gloria Jeans Caramel Almond Torte K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available at select Target locations in USA & online at Target.com and Amazon.com. 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.

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

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Posted by Jay Brewer at January 21, 2014 7:28 AM

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