June 9, 2010

Re-Review: Coffee People Original Donut Shop K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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According to Coffee People's website, they got their start at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon back in the early '80s, selling small batches of roasted specialty coffee to market goers. Soon after in 1983, they opened their first coffeehouse in Portland, Oregon. Later in 1999, they were acquired by the Diedrich Coffee Family who in turn took over the roasting duties of their beans from them. The rest is history and has formed the Coffee People brand (now headquartered in Irvine, California) many people have come to know & love today.

We decided to revisit "the holy grail of K-Cups" which just about everyone & their grandma appear to adore (based on various forum comments & other site reviews): Coffee People Original Donut Shop K-Cups. Yes, before many competitors started releasing their own imitation versions, Coffee People were one of the 1st companies to release a donut shop coffee in K-Cup format, so they can be considered the pioneers in that sense and it's likely why their website shows "The Original" added to this K-Cup's name (the K-Cups we purchased didn't have this printed on them).

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June 2, 2010

Review: Green Mountain Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We have to admit that when we first heard Green Mountain was introducing donut-flavored coffees in their recent Donut House series of K-Cups, the only thought that sprung to mind was "yeah, right". Could they really capture the taste experience of biting into the flavor's namesake donut? We set off to find out if this truly was the case and opted for their Donut House Blend Chocolate Glazed Donut K-Cups this time around.

As any Green Mountain K-Cup fan will know, they have a reputation for making some pretty spot-on flavorings when it comes to their flavored coffee K-Cups (Island Coconut, anyone?), so our hopes were set high right off the bat. Needless to say, we had nothing to worry about. Upon brewing, rich chocolate aromas filled the room and left us wondering just how the heck the flavor geniuses at GMCR managed to pull it off... the scent was exactly like fresh baked chocolate glazed donuts at our favorite local donut shop and it even had some of our staff fooled as they rushed the Single Serve Coffee kitchens looking for a box.

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May 24, 2010

Review: Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee

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It's been a while since we've reviewed anything in Green Mountain's Café Escapes lineup, so we decided to try one of their newer varieties... Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups. Although we briefly touched on these K-Cups several months ago, we wanted to give a more fleshed-out full review as we're sure some of you were waiting for us to do.

The Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups are billed as having "flavors of black tea and exotic spices, smoothed by a splash of milk and sugar", it should also be noted that traditional flavors of cinnamon, cloves & cardamom along with slight notes of honey are also present in this K-Cup. We were curious to see just how creamy this flavor was going to be since we're adding nothing but water here and unlike Tassimo's Twinings variety, there's no separate creamer disc/K-Cup. When comparing the two, they're pretty well even in terms of taste. Some may find that this K-Cup has a slightly stronger sucralose aftertaste than the T-Discs but we found it was about the same either way.

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May 10, 2010

Review: Green Mountain Donut House Decaf K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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A while back, we announced that Green Mountain had introduced a new Donut House lineup of K-Cups but we never really got around to reviewing any of them. Now that we've finally gotten the chance to do so, we figured we'd start with something not many of us are accustomed to seeing in a decaf K-Cup... an extra bold version. Yep, we're kicking things off with Green Mountain's Donut House Decaf K-Cups and will eventually work our way through the entire lineup in coming months.

Now, we've got to admit, we don't usually grab decaf coffees when heading to donut houses (or as Coffee People would call them, donut shops). As a result, we don't really have much to compare this to other than some other decafs we've tried in the past. We figured the "extra bold" labeling on this K-Cup would mean a stronger flavor and while it does help prevent the coffee from becoming a totally bland mess, it can't be considered a true extra bold since there could have been a lot more room strength-wise for this K-Cup to expand.

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December 21, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Winter Blend K-Cups for Keurig

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Van Houtte decided to follow-up their Pink Ribbon K-Cups with another unflavored variety, this time it's their Winter Blend K-Cups which were recently released last month. Billed as a "rich and flavorful blend, with intense woodsy notes and subtle acidity", we decided to give this flavor a try and purchased a box during a recent trip to Tweed & Hickory for the purposes of this review.

Upon brewing, we noticed typical earthy Arabica aromas common with a medium roast & a quick glance at the packaging confirmed this was indeed a medium roast. As noted earlier, this is not a flavored coffee nor is it considered a single origin. Flavor was more on the smoky/hickory side (maybe that's what they meant by "woodsy"?) and we couldn't help but imagine brewing a pot of this stuff over a campfire.

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December 17, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Candy Cane K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee

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Van Houtte is back in the flavored K-Cup market with a rather unique entry for the Holidays... candy cane. Yes, you read that correctly. On a recent trip to a local Tweed & Hickory store, we decided to purchase a box of Van Houtte Candy Cane K-Cups for the purpose of this review (although we have to admit, our curiosity was the main reason of purchase)

Upon brewing, you get a scent of peppermint and oddly enough, hints of chocolate. Flavor is definitely "minty" & even lingers throughout the finish while hints of chocolate are again present in the taste. We won't exactly call this a bold blend, but rather more like a medium roast which was left in the roaster a bit too long. We found the experience rather surprising as the minty sensation made it feel like we had just munched on some candy canes after each sip. Some people might be put off by this, but we found it was a rather cool feature, literally. Bonus points to Van Houtte for making this coffee somewhat "feel" like you're eating actual candy canes.

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November 23, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Pink Ribbon K-Cups for Keurig

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Van Houtte recently decided to promote breast cancer research & awareness by releasing their new Pink Ribbon K-Cups. Billed as a medium roast "with good acidity, slight floral flavor & no bitterness", Van Houtte goes on to note that all funds raised through the purchase of these K-Cups will go towards their goal of donating $50,000 per year to breast cancer research. Logos in promotional material have even been redesigned to replace Van Houtte's white ribbon with a flowing pink ribbon design.

We decided to support the cause & purchase a box for the purpose of this review from a local Van Houtte supplier and although we're sure most coffee roasters have some sort of charity donation program in place, this is the first time in recent memory we've noticed a K-Cup dedicated solely for this purpose. Hats off to Van Houtte for taking this initiative.

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November 11, 2009

Review: Timothy's Winter Carnival K-Cups for Keurig

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We recently dug through our K-Cup stash and decided to revisit some Pumpkin Spice K-Cups we had left-over from a previous season, so we figured why not review another seasonal K-Cup which has been hiding in our ever-growing repertoire? This time around, it's Timothy's Winter Carnival K-Cups which grabbed our attention. We purchased these K-Cups for our own review purposes last season during a trip to Tweed & Hickory, and since Timothy's has yet to officially announce this flavor's re-launch this year, we decided to review what we had on-hand.

Upon brewing, you're greeted with a refreshing aroma of maple syrup and butter toffee which lingers in the room. Tasting notes yielded hints of caramel as well and had us wishing we hadn't ravaged our Spring supply of maple candies earlier this year. We can only imagine this coffee + a slice of maple butter pie would be nothing short of pure bliss. Please pardon us as our minds wander for a bit... mmm, maple butter pie (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound here). Timothy's also notes some "custard notes" in the flavoring, but we didn't really notice any during our tests.

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October 12, 2009

Review: Timothy's Kahlua Original K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee

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A sector which had only casually been explored in the past by other manufacturers has now seen full-fledged acceptance in the single serve coffee scene with the introduction of Timothy's Kahlua Original K-Cups. The sector in question is of course liquor-flavored coffees and this marks the first time a brand-name liquor flavor is introduced on the K-Cup market (previous versions only alluded to the brand, but never had its logo displayed). Seeing as how Kahlua is coffee-flavored liquor, it only makes sense to add it to coffee itself. For those of you who are still wondering, no... there's no alcohol content in this product.

Timothy's was kind enough to send us these K-Cups for our review, but despite them describing this as a K-Cup that combines "delicious notes of rum, vanilla and caramel", we were hard pressed to find any presence of vanilla and only noticed faint traces of rum in the aroma. It reminded us somewhat of Kahlua's scent, but the one note which stuck out above all else was the strong & unexpected scent of toffee. It filled the room and was quite pleasant. The same could be said of the taste which once again, yielded strong toffee & caramel flavors rather than the namesake taste of Kahlua coffee liquor.

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October 2, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Macadamia Nut K-Cups for Keurig

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We've been going through quite a few flavors in Van Houtte's flavored K-Cup line-up the past few weeks and decided it was time to review their Macadamia Nut K-Cups. A quick look at the Wikipedia entry reveals that macadamias are native mostly to Eastern Australia, an area which is typically warm year-round. As a result, we figured we'd take one last shot at something which reminded us of warmer climates before Summer completely fades away & the cool chilly nights of Fall start to appear.

Upon brewing, an exotic scent of macadamias along with hints of coconut & hazelnut filled the room. Taste was on-par with aroma as we immediately noticed macadamia nut flavoring throughout although there were still notes of hazelnut lingering underneath. Come to think of it, the taste of macadamias & hazelnuts aren't too different to begin with, so perhaps it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to wonder if Van Houtte modified their basic hazelnut flavoring in order to create this more exotic variety. Regardless, they succeeded in achieving the namesake flavor and the results are rather good.

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