K Cup Reviews
March 17, 2015
We hadn’t heard of Williams Fresh Cafe before and that’s because it’s a Canadian cafe chain which appears to be operating solely out of Ontario. A big of digging around on the company’s website revealed that Williams got its start in 1993 when the company opened their first location in Stratford, Ontario and named it Williams Coffee Pub. After several years of growth, they decided to rebrand in 2009 as Williams Fresh Cafe and started offering freshly made menu items & coffee in a warm & inviting fast casual cafeatmosphere. The chain now has 35 locations across Ontario and recently decided to enter the single serve market by introducing their coffee in Real Cup format in their cafes and having it distributed throughout the rest of Canada by ECS Coffee. As a result, today we’re checking out their Williams Fresh Cafe Signature Blend Real Cups.
Continue reading: "Williams Fresh Cafe Signature Blend Real Cups Review"
March 10, 2015
We continue our review of the Numi Organic Teas Real Cups today by checking out the 2nd flavor in the line-up… Numi Rooibos Chai Real Cups. Normally we associate chai tea as having a traditional black tea base, so to have one with a rooibos base was an interesting change of pace. We always found that taking a chai tea black rendered the spices way too potent and created an intoxicatingly over-spiced cup which was to the point of being sickening, hence why most chai teas are usually transformed into chai lattes via the addition of milk. Would the lighter bodied rooibos tea make any difference this time around? Would it allow us to finally drink a chai tea au natural (i.e. sans milk)? Read on to find out.
Continue reading: "Numi Rooibos Chai Real Cups Review"
February 16, 2015
While we weren’t aware of the Numi brand before this review, we were a bit surprised to see how much popularity it had apparently gained in certain parts of USA & Canada over the past several years without our knowledge. It seems almost every week we’re hearing of a new brand making its way to the single serve world in one form or another, so we set about trying to find more info about the brand itself and these new Real Cups. While we couldn’t find much mention of the Real Cups except for this press release from early last year (the company’s own website makes no mention of them at all), we did find out that Numi got its start in Oakland California back in 1999 when brother (Ahmed Rahim) & sister (Reem Rahim) decided to start up their own tea company after noticing little difference in consistency & selection within competing tea brands already on the market.
Ahmed had already owned & operated tea houses abroad while Reem had been studying art in Northern California. They wanted to create a company that would encompass both their passions and so Numi Organic Tea was born. The hallmark of the company has since become known as super-premium, organic and Fair Trade Certified teas and herbal teas made with 100% real ingredients. They also make a point to ensure no natural flavorings or perfumes are used to flavor the teas… all the flavor comes from the natural ingredients themselves, nothing else.
Continue reading: "Numi Moroccan Mint Tea Real Cups Review"
January 20, 2015
While we realize we’re about a month overdue with this review now that the holiday season has come and gone, we still had quite a few seasonal holiday items we didn’t get a chance to check out until now. We figured it was better late than never to start digging through some of these items and we’re reviewing one of the most recent single serve products which was introduced last year… Barrie House Spicy Mistletoe Single Cups.
As we may have noted in earlier reviews, Barrie House recently changed the design of their Single Cups so that they appear to be made out of a solid plastic shell vs. the old design which had a plastic shell but a foil bottom. We were a bit concerned that the plastic would be too thick for the Keurig’s piercing needle but this wasn’t the case. Other items such as their intensity scale and peel-away lid appear to have remained intact from the old designs. Let’s give these a try and see if they’re a worthwhile addition to our holiday coffee line-up.
Continue reading: "Barrie House Spicy Mistletoe Single Cups Review"
January 12, 2015
With the cold weather upon us, we decided to try out a cold weather-inspired drink which is usually served throughout fall & winter but especially around this time of year… hot apple cider. Apple cider is the unfiltered version of apple juice made from pressed apples. It can be prepared as-is and served chilled as a form of naturally unfiltered juice, it can be mulled with various seasonings and spices (cinnamon is usually the norm in this instance) and served hot or it can be fermented and and turned into an alcoholic hard cider.
Apple cider is even the official state beverage of New Hampshire (a fact we were totally clueless about until doing research for this review which seems odd since we visit NH each summer). The fact that Keurig Green Mountain have since made 2 different versions of their apple cider K-Cups meant that competitors couldn’t be too far behind and today we’re checking out the latest addition to the single serve cider realm with Barrie House’s Hot Apple Cider Single Cups.
Continue reading: "Barrie House Hot Apple Cider Single Cups Review"
January 5, 2015
Lipton has been steadily forging ahead with new varieties of teas lately & the same can be said about their single serve offerings as well. 2014 saw a slow but continued growth of new flavors with the latest one being the Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups. We were curious to have a go at these but should have paid closer attention to the ingredients list since, for whatever reason, we thought these K-Cups had honey included as part of the initial flavor. We could not have been more wrong.
While panax ginseng is known as a form of natural energy supplement, it’s not exactly the best tasting ingredient in the world and despite its various health benefits, it has a very unique and somewhat off-putting taste which can only be described as chemical-like. That’s why most teas which feature this ingredient usually add honey as a sweetener to help mask the taste. This time around, Lipton opted not to do that and only left natural lemon flavoring (which is apparently soy-based… wait, what?) & lemon grass as the main flavor ingredients. So, what are the final brewed results like? Let’s have a look & find out. As noted above, there’s soy in this product (and even an allergen warning right on the K-Cup lids), so be forewarned if you’ve got any soy allergies.
Continue reading: "Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups Review"
December 16, 2014
It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything that truly piqued our interest in the single serve market and when we noticed the recent appearance of various chocolate candy inspired hot cocoas from brands such as Sugar Babies, Charleston Chew, Tootsie Roll & Junior Mints, we at first thought this was a severely early April Fools joke. That is until we started noticing more and more online retailers starting to carry them. Holy cow… these were actually REAL products! We immediately set about trying to procure various flavors only to find out that they were sold out almost everywhere (argh! why didn’t we believe these were real when they were announced?!?). We did however manage to secure a few samples of the Tootsie Roll & Junior Mint Hot Cocoa Single Cups and that’s what we’ll be checking out today.
Continue reading: "Tootsie Roll & Junior Mints Hot Cocoa Single Cups Review"
December 8, 2014
As anyone North of the border knows, Tim Hortons is to Canada what Dunkin Donuts is to America. It’s the largest coffee chain in Canada started by a hockey player bearing the same name (how à-propos) and throughout the decades, they’ve forced out many competitors from Canada including, much to our Canadian Correspondent’s dismay, Dunkins themselves. While they’re not as popular in America, they’ve rebranded themselves Tim Hortons Bake Shop in USA and have a small presence mostly throughout a few States in New England. Tims (as most Canucks refer to it) is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary in Canada and they’ve decided to do something rather unique.
Continue reading: "Tim Hortons Dark Roast Real Cups"
November 10, 2014
A few years ago, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) decided to release a new line-up of products which they dubbed their Wellness Collection. The collection was made up of coffees, teas and Brew Over Ice drinks which had vitamins added in. We already reviewed the 2 Vitamin Burst K-Cup flavors and unfortunately, the 2 Celestial Seasonings teas which were part of the collection have now been discontinued. The 2 coffees are still being sold and have even been made Keurig 2.0-compatible, but we never really got a chance to review them until now. As a result, today we're checking out GMCR's Focus Blend K-Cups and their Defend Blend K-Cups.
Continue reading: "GMCR Wellness Collection Coffee K-Cups Review"
October 29, 2014
Cafe Bustelo is a brand which, until recently, was a brand mainly known only to the latin community as it’s been a staple in bodegas for about the past 80 years or so. The brand had hit a slump until it underwent a rebranding a few years ago which aimed new products such as canned iced coffee (Bustelo Cool) as well as the brand itself towards a younger generation. Today the brand is popular amongst hipsters & those who simply enjoy a good, strong coffee. It’s also been gaining popularity in Hollywood with the brand appearing at various events from Coachella to the Oscars.
The brand got its start when its founder, Gregorio Bustelo moved from Spain to Cuba in the 1920s & got hooked on the coffee style popular in the region. He decided to take up the practice of coffee roasting and later moved to Puerto Rico. Once US Congress passed the Jones-Shafroth Act which granted people of Puerto Rico US citizenship, Gregorio moved his family to the East Harlem region of New York City and used the last of his savings to buy a coffee roaster after falling on hard times trying to find work. As luck would have it, his home was located near a theatre and he would start roasting coffee around the time patrons would be let out each night after the end of each show. The smell lured people to his home and he started selling coffee each night. By 1931, the first Bustelo Coffee Roasters shop opened up on 5th Avenue between 113th & 114th streets as the business took off. Today, the brand is owned by Rowland Coffee Roasters Inc. based out of Miami, Florida. The rest, as they say, is history.
Continue reading: "Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style K-Cups Review"
October 20, 2014
We conclude our series of Lavazza K-Cup reviews today with the final flavor in their line-up… Lavazza Perfetto K-Cups. This is apparently the strongest roast & strongest tasting coffee of the line-up. Given how disappointed we were with their Gran Selezione K-Cups last time, we’re truly hoping for a return to form this time. Lets see if Lavazza strike out or knock it out of the park.
Brewing the Lavazza Perfetto K-Cups resulted in aromas of smoky hickory tinged with notes of dark chocolate throughout with a very mild earthiness underneath. Billed as an espresso roast, flavor seemed more akin to a dark roast and wasn’t anywhere as strong as what we were expecting. We did however notice a nice blend of chocolate flavors with caramel notes hiding underneath near the end of each sip.
Continue reading: "Lavazza Perfetto Coffee K-Cups Review"
October 14, 2014
We continue our series of Lavazza K-Cup reviews today with the next flavor in the line-up… Lavazza Gran Selezione K-Cups. This is billed as dark roast and is supposed to be Rainforest Alliance Certified while having intense flavor and chocolate undertones. Let’s see how things go, shall we?
Brewing these K-Cups resulted in mild smoky & earthy aromas which weren’t anywhere as strong as what we were expecting given the fact that this is a dark roast. Flavor was a mix of astringent smoky notes up front followed by some hits of smoke, very mild hints of molasses and mild chocolate notes in the background. Things were rounded-off with some faint berry notes hiding underneath near the end of each sip.
Continue reading: "Lavazza Gran Selezione Coffee K-Cups Review"
October 6, 2014
We continue our series of Lavazza K-Cup reviews today with the next flavor in the line-up… Lavazza Classico K-Cups. This is billed as medium roast and is supposed to be suited as an everyday coffee which can be enjoyed at any time. Let’s see how this one turns out, shall we?
Brewing these K-Cups resulted in light aromas of smoky hickory tinged with very mild hints of dates & raisins as the coffee cools off. Keurig & Lavazza describe the coffee as having an aroma of dried fruits and while it may not have been evident at first, we did eventually start getting some mild notes after a while.
Continue reading: "Lavazza Classico K-Cups Review"
June 9, 2014
In a move that only serves to reinforce the idea that they’re after just about every coffee chain & coffee manufacturer on the market, KGM decided to form a partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) chain of coffee shops to introduce some of their signature coffees into the K-Cup format several months ago. Now that those flavors are starting to trickle through the retail market, we decided to try their first flavored variety: CBTL Toasted Ameretto K-Cups.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (for brevity sake, we’ll just call them CBTL) got their start in 1963 when they opened their first coffee shop/cafe in Brentwood, California. Billing themselves as the oldest & largest privately held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States, the company has since opened stores in many different states and internationally as well. While they may not be that well known on the East Coast, they’re popular on the West Coast and have gained quite the fan following over the years.
Continue reading: "The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Toasted Amaretto K-Cups"