March 24, 2014

Dunkin Donuts Peppermint Mocha K-Cups Review

 

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With major donut shop chains such as Krispy Kreme entering the K-Cup scene in recent months, we decided we’d check in on America’s largest and one of the first to create licensed Keurig Brewed K-Cups… Dunkin Donuts. We haven’t seen too many new K-Cup flavors as they seem focused on creating new varieties mainly in their ground coffee format sold through various grocery stores across the nation, so when we saw they released their new Peppermint Mocha K-Cups a few months ago, we decided to grab a box and check things out. We thought their regular Mocha K-Cups weren’t too bad, so lets see what the addition of peppermint does to the mix.

Brewing these Single Cups resulted in strong aromas of chocolate tinged by a mild note of peppermint lurking in the background. The chocolate note was the primary scent we were getting and it lingered around in the room for quite some time afterwards. We did get a peppermint aroma but it just wasn’t as strong as the chocolate scent. Not too bad, but we wished there would have been more peppermint present.

Flavor was an interesting mix of mild peppermint notes up front quickly followed by strong notes of dark chocolate and then a sour punch from the acidity underneath. Again, much like the aroma, we seemed to be getting way more chocolate notes than peppermint notes. You could definitely get a minty taste going on in the background but it was a lot milder than we were expecting. A wee bit stronger peppermint flavor would have been nice and might have helped cover up the sour bite from the acidity.

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Acidity in Dunkins coffees is usually always on the strong side with a sour punch being felt regardless of the flavor when a light or medium roast is used. Such is definitely the case here as you definitely get a sour note throughout this coffee and while it does help things pop a bit, it almost distracts you away from the primary flavor which Dunkins is trying to achieve. We think they need to be careful of this with future releases and need to tone the acidity back a notch. Just the same, things seemed more or less balanced as we could still detect the main flavors nonetheless. Body was a vibrant mix of red & orange tinged with yellow near the bottom end. We thought the reds paired well with the peppermint/candy cane motif on the packaging. Mouth feel remained smooth despite the acidity levels and didn’t seem too watery while finish was a bit on the sour side with notes of chocolate & mild hints of peppermint lingering in the aftertaste.

  • Aroma – 9 – Strong chocolate notes quickly filled the room and remained for quite a while afterwards. While we did detect some peppermint scents in the background, they weren’t as strong as we’d hoped and seemed to take a back seat to the chocolate aroma which was dominating the cup. 
  • Acidity – 8 – As is usually the case in Dunkins coffees, acidity was rather strong with a sharp sour bite remaining throughout the coffee. While it was definitely noticeable, it was more or less balanced enough to let the primary flavors climb through rather than having them wash away.  
  • Body – 9 – Bright shades of red & orange were accented with yellow near the bottom end. The red notes paired well with the peppermint/candy cane swirls on the packaging.
  • Flavor – 9 – Much like the aroma, flavor was dominated mostly by strong dark chocolate notes. We got some hints of peppermint near the beginning of each sip but they were a lot milder than what we had hoped for. Things are quickly followed up by a strong sour punch of acidity near the end of each sip.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Despite the strong acidity levels, things remained smooth and didn’t seem too watery. Finish was on the sour side with notes of chocolate and hints of peppermint lingering in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited best for those who like flavored coffees with bright/vibrant (i.e. strong) acidity in them. You’ll enjoy this if you’re used to the acidity levels in Dunkins coffees and are looking for a stronger chocolate flavor than what was found in their regular Mocha K-Cups. Those who are going into this expecting a strong peppermint flavor will likely be somewhat disappointed.

Overall Rating: 94 – Exceptional

As we’ve noted above, Dunkin Donuts coffees usually have strong acidity in them and we can only surmise this is due to the fact that the chain aims most of their coffees for the morning crowd who are just getting up or who are hurrying off to work. Nothing will catch your attention quicker than vibrant acidity but too much of it will just render things overly sour. This is where Dunkins needs to keep a closer eye on things. We enjoy their flavored coffees but if things get any more sour, we might not be able to detect the finer, more subtle notes of a flavor and that wouldn’t be that great. This minor gripe aside, we really enjoy seeing them push for newer flavors and if they can take the innovation from their ground coffee line-up (most notably their recent Bakery Series & Seasonal Series) and turn them into K-Cups, we think they’d have real winners on their hands. Only time will tell what direction they decide to go in, so we’ll just have to wait and see how things develop.

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As for this coffee, we were a bit surprised at how much chocolate was present this time around. Had there been this strong of a note in their regular Mocha K-Cups, they’d have scored considerably higher. Such is the case this time as well, if the peppermint notes would have been a bit stronger, we think it would have balanced things out a bit more and earned these K-Cups a higher score overall. All things considered, this is still a solid choice for someone who is looking for something different and if you’re accustomed to the acidity levels in Dunkins coffees, you’ll probably enjoy this even further. Give them a try if you can still find a box at your local Dunkins shop as we still think they’re worth checking out.

Dunkin Donuts Peppermint Mocha K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available for a limited time in 14-packs for $11.99 USD at participating Dunkin Donuts retail locations across USA. These K-Cups are not 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 March 24, 2014 7:29 AM

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