March 4, 2013

Review: Martinson Hazelnut Real Cups

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We continue our Martinson Real Cup review series today with their first flavored variety... Martinson Hazelnut Real Cups. It would appear that hazelnut is a staple flavor in the single serve coffee world as just about every company that gets into the market usually goes with either that particular flavor or vanilla as one of their initial flavored coffee varieties. It remains to be seen if this will be like most hazelnut coffees or if anything in particular will set it apart from the masses.

Brewing these Real Cups resulted in light hazelnut aromas with hints of vanilla floating around underneath. We also detected very faint smoky notes buried below as well. They were barely noticeable, but still present nonetheless. Flavor was a bit on the sour side as you first notice the acidity's sour bite then a mild blend of hazelnut & vanilla appears underneath. The main flavor was a lot weaker than what we were expecting. We also noticed some smoky notes that appeared near the finish, while you'd think smoky hazelnut would be a unique flavor, we didn't really care for it all that much.

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March 1, 2013

Review: Martinson Breakfast Blend Real Cups

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When we first heard of the Martinson Coffee brand, we were left scratching our heads since we hadn't even been aware of the brand to begin with. You can only imagine our surprise once we did our research and found out that the brand has been around since 1898. According to their company history page on their website, Martinson Coffee was the brainchild of Joe Martinson who came to New York City in the late 1800s. He would apparently select beans right from the docking ships and roast them himself in his mother's kitchen.

He would sell fresh roasted whole beans from a pushcart in his neighborhood and as news grew, his coffee became more and more popular amongst the locals to the point where people from all areas started seeking what he had to offer. As time went on, Joe eventually bought a small factory and sold his premium coffee to hotels and restaurants. What shocked us even more was that the term Cup of Joe is rumored to have evolved from Joe's reputation and popularity of his coffee (although we've also heard stories about how it evolved from military officers' consumption of coffee since they were often referred to as G.I. Joes back in the 50s & 60s).

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February 28, 2013

Review: Martinson Donut Shop Blend Real Cups

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First there were One Cups, the soft-bottomed open filter style K-Cup knock-offs and now the latest trend that seems to be picking-up steam is yet another K-Cup knock-off which goes by the name of Real Cups. What are Real Cups you ask? Simple... they're similar to a One Cup that has the plastic K-Cup shell re-attached to the bottom. If you cut one open, you'll notice it uses the same filter style as a One Cup. As a result, you get a fusion of both a One Cup's soft-bottomed filter and a K-Cup's plastic shell all into one. We actually like this approach since this ensures the coffee won't go stale and can be stored for long periods of time in carousels or storage racks without any worries.

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When our friends at ECS Coffee told us they'd be sending us samples of the Martinson Real Cups for review after they toured the manufacturing facilities, we thought ok... we'll just get the single Real Cups in a Ziploc bag when we open the shipping box. Well, color us pleasantly surprised when we got the shipment. Nothing could have prepared us for what we received once we opened everything.

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February 4, 2013

Review: Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa K-Cups

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For about as long as we can recall, Swiss Miss hot cocoas have been a staple in many American homes over the years and up until now, the most common format it came in was powder packets. Known for its smooth Swiss milk chocolate taste (think Milka), this has been one of our favorites for ages. A few months ago, Green Mountain decided they’d take a crack at things and introduced what we’re reviewing today: Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in the distinct aroma of Swiss milk chocolate with sweet cocoa notes filling the room. Flavor was a bit more hit or miss though. When we tried our first K-Cup, about half the powder remained stuck in the bottom of the K-Cup after brewing (despite having shaken the K-Cup beforehand) which resulted in a horrible-tasting “hint of cocoa” flavored water. We had to dump the cup since it tasted so watery.

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January 22, 2013

Review: Starbucks Guatemala Casi Cielo K-Cups

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When Starbucks started releasing some of their seasonal coffees in K-Cup format last year, it got our hopes up that they’d eventually release ALL of their seasonal coffees as K-Cups. First came the excellent Anniversary Blend K-Cups quickly followed a few months later by the equally magnificent Christmas Blend K-Cups and our recent discovery during an in-shop visit proves that Starbucks Seasonals are going to be a common occurrence in the land of Keurig. This past week (Jan 14-18, 2013) saw the release of what we’re reviewing today: Starbucks Guatemala Casi Cielo K-Cups.

This is great news for Starbucks K-Cups fans and we couldn’t be happier. With a total of 3 seasonals within the past 4 or 5 months, it truly appears that Starbucks have decided to make their entire seasonal series in K-Cup format which means we’re in for some cups of awesome in the coming months ahead. Spanish for almost heaven, Casi Cielo has remained a favorite amongst fans and is a premium coffee harvested from the Antigua region of Guatemala. Billed by Starbucks as a medium roast & having hints of lemon with satisfying dark cocoa notes, we couldn’t wait to give this one a try. Lemon & dark cocoa? Not exactly 2 flavors you’d expect would pair well together, but Starbucks claims it’ll work for virtually any dish from the main meal to desserts.

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January 7, 2013

Review: Folgers Gourmet Selections Morning Cafe K-Cups

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Every once in a while, we stumble across something unexpected and discover rarities in the world of Single Serve Coffee like the Folgers Gourmet Selections Morning Cafe K-Cups we found recently at our local Target.

Brewing the Folgers Gourmet Selections Morning Cafe K-Cups  resulted in very mild woodsy notes with faint hints of chocolate throughout. Compared to their Lively Colombian K-Cups, aroma was considerably weaker overall. Flavor yielded more notes of chocolate with slight notes of berries buried underneath. We were expecting some of the usual smoky or hickory notes, but we suppose we shouldn't have looked for them since there weren't any in the aroma. We can't help but feel things seemed rather flat and could have been perked up a bit by slightly stronger acidity.

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January 2, 2013

Review: Vitamin Burst Strawberry Pomegranate K-Cups

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We continue our Vitamin Burst review series today with the 2nd flavor in their lineup... Vitamin Burst Strawberry Pomegranate K-Cups. We were absolutely floored with their Acai Berry flavor last time, so we can't wait to see if these K-Cups are just as mind-blowing or not.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in LOADS of strawberry aromas filling the room with hints of pomegranate slightly present in the background, but it was almost buried by the massive strawberry scent. Flavor was thankfully PACKED full of huge strawberry notes up front with a nice mild tartness of the pomegranate underneath. Again, the main notes were strawberries and we had to really search around a bit to find the mild pomegranate notes hiding in the cup. We were also detecting some other berry notes but couldn't quite put our finger on what it was until we checked the packaging and noticed dried black currant puree was listed in the ingredients. If we had to pick between these K-Cups and the Acai K-Cups, we'd say we probably enjoy the strawberry flavors a bit more than the acai, but just barely.

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November 26, 2012

Review: Starbucks Christmas Blend Single Serve Coffee K-Cups

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When we first reviewed their Anniversary Blend K-Cups a few months ago, we were cautiously optimistic that those would be the first in a line-up of seasonal K-Cups and it turns out that we were correct. We really liked that previous K-Cup, so we couldn't wait to see what Starbucks Christmas Blend K-Cups (the 2nd flavor in the series) would be like. Once again, Starbucks have gone all-out by creating nicely decorated packaging with festive artwork as well as a bright red reflective foil K-Cup lid (Ooh, shiny!) which proved quite the difficult item to photograph.

We also liked the addition of the year on the foil lid. They did this with their Anniversary Blend as well and we think it adds a certain collector's appeal much like you'd get when collecting wine vintages. We can already foresee asking guests if they'd like a 2012 vintage Christmas Blend K-Cup a few years from now (providing we have any left by then).

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October 8, 2012

Review: Café Escapes Café Vanilla K-Cups

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We kick things off today by reviewing a recent K-Cup addition to the Café Escapes line-up... Café Escapes Café Vanilla K-Cups. We’ve come to expect pretty decent results from Café Escapes over the years and their hot cocoas remain some of our favorites to date. We were intrigued when we noticed some new flavors pop up on Green Mountain’s site as web-exclusives, so we decided to give this one a try.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in delicate notes of sweet vanilla filling the room with hints of coffee in the background. The main notes were vanilla with coffee aromas being pushed to the back, something you might see in a vanilla latte. Flavor was pretty much the same with sweet notes of vanilla flowing through at first sip with faint notes of coffee in the background. We were wondering why we weren’t getting more of a coffee flavor until we remembered that Café Escapes use instant coffee in their K-Cups/Vue Packs. While we’re not exactly fans of instant coffee, we can put up with it in this case since it didn’t seem to be impacting the main flavor of vanilla. Instead, things seemed a bit lighter than what we were expecting.

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October 1, 2012

Review: Dunkin Donuts Mocha K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

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It’s been a while since Dunkin Donuts released a new K-Cup and since some of their flavored varieties have been hit or miss in the past, we were cautiously optimistic when we heard they’d be coming out with a limited edition flavor during the summer months. Today we take a look at Dunkin Donuts Mocha K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in strong blasts of chocolate aromas which quickly filled the room and quashed any doubt we had about these K-Cups being able to produce anything chocolaty. The weirdest thing though? We could have sworn we even detected faint notes of raisins hiding underneath. Yes, raisins! That has GOT to be a Single Serve Coffee first. Flavor was thankfully not raisin-like but moreso on-par with the aroma as we got the acidity’s sour notes which brought the coffee flavor to the foreground and then as we neared the end, we got a decent hit of chocolate flavor in the background.

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