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"
June 2, 2014
From time to time, we stumble across K-Cup flavors which either aren’t widely advertised or were never announced on the Keurig or GMCR/KGM websites, flavors which appear out of nowhere or are only retailer exclusives (i.e. Only sold at one specific retailer) and other odd situations similar to the above. Such was the case with a flavor we first discovered about a year ago. It appeared briefly at Target & Wal-Mart stores then disappeared soon after. We eventually managed to track a box down at a local Target several months ago and are only getting around to reviewing things today. What is this elusive flavor? Newman’s Own Organics Cafe Almond Biscotti K-Cups. Let’s have at ‘er and see if this flavor was worth the hunt.
Continue reading: "Newman’s Own Organics Cafe Almond Biscotti K-Cups Review"
May 27, 2014
When Starbucks promised to expand their line-up a few months ago, they opted to go different routes and one of those routes was to introduce 2 new Blonde Roast K-Cup flavors which would be sold only at select retailers & various grocery stores. We already reviewed the first flavor, Starbucks Willow/Aria Blend, and today we managed to finally track down the 2nd… Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups. Will these be any different than the 1st flavor? Let’s find out.
Continue reading: "Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups Review"
May 19, 2014
When you think of coffee, you usually associate it with something that keeps you awake, right? What if we were to tell you that there’s coffee which can put you to sleep? Before you think we’ve finally gone off the deep end, hear us out. We recently found out about a new startup company named Counting Sheep Coffee. They’re based out of Vancouver BC in Canada and they’ve created the world’s first sleep aid coffee. You’re familiar with the dozens of sleep aid teas on the market and there’s even Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea K-Cups & Vue Packs which have been out for years. We’ve never seen (until now) a coffee which supposedly does the same trick. The company recently gained fame when they appeared on Dragon’s Den* (the Canadian predecessor to ABC’s Shark Tank). We were a bit surprised to learn that the deal didn’t close* after the show aired, but it doesn’t seem to have hindered sales since our local Bed Bath & Beyond was almost sold-out when we visited.
Continue reading: "Counting Sheep Coffee Lights Out! Single Cups Review"
April 28, 2014
We all know that folks who enjoy decaf coffees (or those who are required to drink it due to caffeine sensitivity/headaches) are unfortunately a target demographic which has been ignored for far too long. Just because you can drink regular coffee doesn't mean you should have to suffer with bland offerings and unflavored choices. Well, our friends at ECS Coffee Inc. thought so as well and decided to fix the problem with the first specialty flavored DECAF Single Cup on the market. They even created their own cheeky commercial for the flavor (check the video at the bottom of the product page on their site, link at end of review)
Sure, there may be a few flavored decafs on the market, but they're mostly staple flavors like French Vanilla or Hazelnut... they're ok, but... well, kind of meh. Where's the sense of adventure? Where's the innovative combination of various flavors? Why aren't limited edition K-Cups also sold in decaf versions? How about Maple Cinnamon French Toast? Is that adventurous enough of a decaf flavor for ya? Now that we've got your attention, let's put this flavor through its paces and see if ECS have created something worthy of celebration for decaf fans.
Continue reading: "ECS Coffee Maple Cinnamon French Toast Decaf Single Cups Review"
April 22, 2014
It’s been a while since we’ve seen any new K-Cups from Folgers, so we were caught a bit off guard recently when when stumbled across this new flavor on Keurig’s site a few days ago. While it may not be a flavored variety this time around and while it may seem a bit redundant given their Black Silk flavor is already a pretty strong dark roast coffee, we were curious to see what these new Folgers Gourmet Selections French Roast K-Cups would be like. Let’s find out.
Brewing these K-Cups resulted in strong smoky hickory notes with some very mild peppery notes lurking underneath. Oddly enough though, aroma didn’t seem as strong as what we’re used to with typical French Roast coffees. This carried through in the flavor as we also got smoky notes up front blended with dark cocoa and some faint citrus notes as things faded into a peppery finish near the end of each sip. It’s been a while since we had the Black Silk K-Cups but we’re a bit surprised that this flavor is turning out to be a bit lighter than that. Definitely not what we were expecting. Give us a second while we check the packaging again… nope, it says French Roast. Hmmm… strange.
Continue reading: "Folgers Gourmet Selections French Roast K-Cups Review"