June 23, 2014

TV Show Single Cups - When Fiction Meets Reality

Celebrity kcups

When we first got into the world of single serve coffee over 10 years ago, we knew that as time progressed, we’d eventually start seeing more and more brands of coffee become available for various single serve coffee brewers such as the Keurig & Tassimo platforms. It would seem that when Keurig’s copyright patents expired a few years ago, the floodgates opened and along came a surge of unlicensed knock-offs and competing 3rd-party products.

We knew Kraft had locked-up their T-Disc patents and that the Tassimo would be shielded from knock-off T-Discs but never did we think we’d see Kraft making K-Cup knock-offs. That was the first major shockwave to spread across the unlicensed K-Cup universe and was the first snowflake to fall in K-Cup hell. Over the months that followed, we saw a tidal wave of products which were outstanding to the point of rivalling licensed K-Cup quality while inevitably, we also saw products that performed and tasted like total junk (a quick look through our review archives will clearly point them out).

Well, it would seem that K-Cup hell has now officially frozen-over solid enough to host the next Stanley Cup playoffs since recently TV shows are coming out with their own unlicensed K-Cups. Imagine our sheer disbelief when we first heard rumors of Comedy Central’s Workaholics TV show coming out with their own Single Cups. At first we thought it was some sort of April Fool’s joke but stared on in disbelief as we stumbled across the press release and subsequently confirmed the Amazon.com product listing. A TV show with fictional characters coming out with their own real-life Single Cups?!? What the actual hell was going on here?!?

Oh, but that wasn’t the end of it… not by a long shot… things were about to get crazy up in here. While having Celebrity Chefs create their own K-Cups was nothing new (Emeril Lagasse & Wolfgang Puck have long had their own fully licensed and Keurig-approved K-Cups on the market), having Television Personalities create their own Single Cups is a whole other matter. Let’s just say we weren’t prepared for what was to come. 

First up saw us board the train to Flavortown, USA as Guy Fieri introduced his own line-up of Single Cups. Known for being a bit… um… unique? We knew some of the flavors would be out there to say the least and sure enough… possibly the weirdest coffee flavor we’ve seen yet came to Fieri’s bizarre fruition: Bananas Foster. Umkay… color us cautiously interested? Even though he has his own line of restaurants, BBQ sauces, recipe books and kitchen utensils, we find it rather humorous that his official Wikipedia page doesn’t list him as a chef and instead dubs him a television personality. Hmm… maybe that’s because he’s best known as the host of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives where he travels the country eating (not cooking) various foods at said establishments? Perhaps it’s the fact that he hosted game shows which had nothing to do with food or cooking such as the ill-fated Minute To Win It? Whatever the reason, we started wondering if companies who license this stuff are taking things seriously or if this is all one big joke to them.

Our answer likely came a few months ago with the 2nd what the hell moment when we noticed TLC’s Cake Boss Single Cups hit the market. Buddy Valastro, a guy best know for BAKING CAKES had decided to create his own line of cake & pastry-inpired coffee flavors in Single Cup format. Seriously?!? A show from TLC now has its own Single Cups? Well holy hole in a donut… please, please, PLEASE don’t let TLC create a line of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Single Cups! We swear if we see Sketti & Meat Cake Single Cups or Go-Go Juice Single Cups, we’re freakin giving up and declaring the sanctity and once serious brand name only world of single cup coffee to be lost beyond repair.

There just comes a time when enough is enough and the more oddball flavors and bizarre tie-ins that appear just become unnecessary to the point of being completely ridiculous. We are getting very close to that quickly disappearing thin line and personally, it’s a line that (depending on what hits the market in the coming months), we’re probably not going to cross.  We’ve reviewed some pretty horrible coffee just so that our readers wouldn’t have to suffer through it or waste their money on it (we’re still having occasional nightmares of Wal-Mart Canada’s terrifying Our Finest T-Discs), but we’d like to preserve our taste buds and spend our money on products that weren’t cooked-up by a TV network just to make an extra profit on the side. 

What’s next? Jeff Probst pimping The Tribe Has Spoken Roast Single Cups on the next season of Survivor? Ryan Seacrest getting the judges to try Final Four Finalist Blend Single Cups on American Idol? (We’re sure Simon Cowell would still claim it’s rubbish regardless). No, really… stop and look at how crazy things could eventually get. Do you really want to drink something that looks like it belongs on a late night infomercial being peddled by the creepy ShamWow guy? Ultimately, the decision will be yours and yours alone. All we aim to do in our reviews & articles is to give our own impressions after trying the products ourselves so that you can decide if it’s something you want to try or not.

To be fair, we might decide to try some of the Guy Fieri & Cake Boss flavors we’d be most curious to sample, but that will likely be it as we don’t plan to try the entire line-up anytime soon. Also, if a product looks questionable and we think it might be total crap, chances are we’re not going to bother trying it either. We don’t always get free samples from every manufacturer, so buying full boxes of an entire line-up can get quite costly after a while. As for the current state of weird & crazy Single Cup brands & flavors, suffice it to say we’ll stay tuned to see what’s coming up next season.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff article. You can find out more info about Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Roasts Single Cups via vendingmarketwatch.com and more info about Buddy Valastro’s Cake Boss Single Cups via gourmetnews.com. We also posted a link to the Workaholics Single Cups press release further above in the main article. 

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Posted by Jay Brewer at June 23, 2014 7:28 AM
Recent Comments

I've been a follower of SSC's site since I first dipped into the Tassimo pool in 2005 or so. I can't help but say that this article is so beneath the website's standards - it sounds like a childish rant. I realize you folks probably derive some sort of revenue from Green Mountain, but really - what difference does it make to you whether TV personalities market k-cups? Are they taking your money? Very disappointed in this bashfest.

Posted by: Greg Moore at June 24, 2014 6:40 PM

You know if you go to ECS coffee you can buy almost any k-cup one k-cup at a time. I just ordered a bunch to try them out, I like the idea of those weird flavors, but I won't buy a whole box and then be stuck with 23 cup I will never drink as a lot of them are not for me. But for 89 cents each, I can deal with that. There are exceptions, but those Cake Boss and Guy Fieri you are mentioning are available by the unit.

Posted by: GC at June 23, 2014 10:54 PM
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