September 16, 2014
Starbucks in the US has released Starbucks Fall Blend K-Cups for 2014. You can now safely welcome the season with a harvest of flavors all wrapped up in a K-Cup. This coffee is layered and full-bodied. The three-region blend offers the best of all worlds:
- Sumatran beans lend the warmth of fresh spice notes
- Beans from Kenya add citrusy brightness,
- Beans from Peru provide balance and a subtle nuttiness.
$11.99 for a box of 16 K-Cups. Whole bean and ground are available as well.
September 15, 2014
When Keurig first announced earlier this year that it was working on a new brewer which could brew both K-Cups & full carafes of coffee, we were left scratching our head as we thought the whole point of a single serve coffee machine was to… well… serve single servings of coffee. Why would anyone want a single serve coffee machine to make an entire pot (or carafe as Keurig prefers to call it) of coffee? Single serve machines were built specifically to get rid of the old customs of brewing full pots only to have them go stale or burnt (if left on a hot plate) before anyone could finish drinking the entire pot. More often then not, we’d end up dumping more coffee down the sink drain than what would end up in our mugs throughout the course of a day.
When compared to K-Cups or Vue-Packs, the new K-Carafe Packs are considerably larger (think of an oversized Travel Mug Vue-Pack) and appear to contain much more coffee. When you first realize how oversized these things are, it comes as a bit of a surprise and makes sense why you only get 8 in a retail box. That wasn’t the only surprise that the new Keurig 2.0 brewer would hold in store for us. The very controversial decision to implement DRM and make the brewer only brew licensed/coded K-Cups caused much stir and vitriol from consumers & competitors alike. Companies which were already making several unlicensed K-Cups were angry that Keurig was effectively locking them out from being able to brew their products on the new machine. Anti-competitive lawsuits emerged and all sorts of issues arose around the matter.
Continue reading: "Keurig 2.0 Brewer Series Overview & First Impressions"
September 12, 2014
With the recent early introduction of Starbucks PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) this year, the company also decided to bring back and introduce some other fall products.
New this year (in Canada at least) is Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K-Cups. Long available in whole bean & ground coffee format, this marks the first time we've seen it offered in K-Cup format.
Billed as a dark roast with herbal notes, these K-Cups will work with all K-Cup Brewers including Keurig 2.0. Also back for 2014 are Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups (now 2.0 compatible) & Starbucks VIA Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Look for them at your local Starbucks shop while supplies last.
September 10, 2014
AB has found a new offering from The Original Donut Shop on a recent trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. The Original Donut Shop has conjured up a devilishly delicious, extra bold brew Don't be afraid of the DARK K-Cups. $11.99 for 18 K-cups, and Don’t Be Afraid of the DARK K-Cups will work in all K-Cup Brewers including Keurig 2.0.
September 9, 2014
Adrian Rivera of Whittier, California (collectively, 'ARM') filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337. In less law like terms ARM has patents regarding reusable K-Cups and other patents around brewing with a K-Cup that uses your own coffee. The adaptor assembly of the reusable brewing capsule is also listed in the complaint. If ARM succeeds it looks like there may be a single reusable K-Cup in town.
The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the 'Proposed Respondents') unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain beverage brewing capsules, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,720,320 (the '320 patent):
- Solofill LLC of Houston, Texas
- DonGuan Hai Rui Precision Mould Co., Ltd. of China
- Eko Brands, LLC of Woodinville, Washington
- Evermuch Technology Co., Ltd. of Hong Kong
- Ever Much Co. Ltd. of China
- Melitta USA, Inc. of North Clearwater, Florida
- LBP Mfg. Inc. of Cicero, Illinois
- LBP Packaging (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. of China
- Spark Innovators, Corp. of Fairfield, New Jersey
- B. Marlboros International Ltd. (HK) of Hong Kong
- Amazon.com, Inc. of Seattle, Washington
In the complaint, ARM states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the '320 patent. The complaint specifically refers to various products associated with the Proposed Respondents, including, for example, the Solofill K2 and K3, the EkoBrew Elite and EkoBrew (China), the Melitta E-Filter, and the Sparks Café Cup.
Via ITC Law
September 8, 2014
Nature Valley, one of General Mills’ several brands, is more commonly associated with granola bars & more recently protein cereals. So when they announced they’d be coming out with oatmeal which could be prepared using a Keurig K-Cup brewer, we were totally shocked. This doesn’t mark the first time something other than coffee, tea or iced beverages has been announced for Keurig K-Cup brewers.
A year ago, Keurig & Campbell’s Soup announced a partnership which would see instant soups that could be produced using Keurig K-Cup brewers, however, we have yet to see the products hit either retail store shelves or online retailers and haven’t heard anything from Keurig or Campbell’s since the original press release. As a result, it was only a matter of time before competitors decided to put a spin on the idea and come out with their own products, although we didn’t think Nature Valley would beat Keurig at their own game and release their products first. Today we’re checking out the first of the 2 flavors in the line-up with Nature Valley’s Brown Sugar Pecan Bistro Cups.
Continue reading: "Nature Valley Brown Sugar Pecan Bistro Cups Review"
September 4, 2014
Both USA & Canada will be getting a Costco exclusive model of the Keurig 2.0 dubbed the K560. From what we can tell, there's no mechanical or physical difference between a K560 and K550 machine. There doesn't appear to be any extra features on the K560 and the K-Carafe is still the same type you'd get with a K550.
What IS different however is that the Keurig 2.0 water filter handle & 2 filter refills are included, plus instead of the "4 K-Carafe Packs and 8 K-Cups" standard sample pack, you get 4 K-Carafe Packs and 48 K-Cups. Final price is $149.99 USD.
Canadian Costco customers may have to pay higher ($169.99 CAD) but they also get a slight bit more as instead of 48 K-Cups, they get 60. Other than the higher price and 12 extra K-Cups, there's no difference between the USA K560 & Canadian K560 models on either Costco site.
Amazon.com also has the same K560 package as Costco USA, yet they're selling it for $199.99 USD instead.
News from early adopters is that there's a few issues with the machines:
- The hot water feature only brews 6oz of hot water at a time and you need to hold the brew button during the entire time it's dispensing the water. Workaround = cut off the top from a Keurig 2.0 K-Cup and you can brew up to 10oz of hot water while only needing to press the brew button once.
- The current maximum brew size for K-Cups is 10oz. Apparently 12oz, 14oz and 16oz brew sizes will be "enabled" in the future once newer K-Cups are released.
- Unlike previous Keurig 1.0 and Keurig Vue machines, you CAN'T adjust the brew temperature. The machine determines what temperature to use based on what kind of K-Cup/K-Carafe pack you use.
At Keurig 2.0 K560 Bonus Bundle
Update: We received some updated pricing and info regarding the Keurig 2.0 Bundle
- The Costco exclusive offer in the U.S. features the K560 brewing system, and also includes a 4-cup starter carafe, a water filter handle, 2 water filters, 4 K-Carafe packs and 48 K-Cup packs
- The Costco exclusive offer in Canada features the K560 brewing system, and also includes a 4-cup starter carafe, a water filter handle, 2 water filers, 4 K-Carafe packs and 60 K-Cup packs
- SRP is $149.99 in the U.S. and $159.99 in Canada
- The K560 brewing system can brew a wide variety of coffees, teas and hot cocoa from an extensive list of brands, such as Green Mountain Coffee, Starbucks, Swiss Miss, Bigelow and more.
September 3, 2014
Founded by Luigi Lavazza in Italy back in 1895, Lavazza coffee got its start as the founder’s culinary passion and evolved over the course of 4 family generations to become what is known today as Italy’s favorite coffee. While some may argue that Illy coffee is the epitome of Italian espresso coffees, we’ve actually come to prefer Lavazza as our espresso brand of choice and found that it always offered consistency in quality, strength and taste time and time again regardless if we prepared it at home using an old manual espresso machine or ordered a shot at a Lavazza counter/kiosk in a road side rest area plaza (we had to double-check our surroundings to make sure we were in a rest area & not an actual cafe given the espresso quality).
We’ve been enjoying Lavazza espresso for years, so we were a bit shocked to see them enter into the ground coffee market recently with 4 different varieties and were further surprised this past week when we stumbled upon the K-Cup versions of these coffees during a visit to the Keurig retail store (each variety is now available to order online directly off of Keurig.com & ShopLavazza.com). We kick things off today by reviewing the lightest of the flavors, Lavazza’s Gran Aroma K-Cups.
Continue reading: "Lavazza Gran Aroma K-Cups Review"
August 26, 2014
Those who adopt the new Keurig 2.0 series of brewers can rest assured that they'll still be able to enjoy the same Real Cup brands on the new brewers. All current Real Cup brands are being upgraded to the Eco Cup format (see through cup with filter you can peel off) and Mother Parkers have figured out a way to make Real Cups compatible with the 2.0 brewer WITHOUT getting them licensed through Keurig.
This should mean the current slightly cheaper pricing format of Real Cups will remain in place once the 2.0 brewers launch this fall. All your favorite brands will work with the 2.0... Marley Coffee, Martinson, Higgins & Burke, etc.
All of the new, K2.0-compatible capsule formats to be launched by Mother Parkers will feature the FlavorMax™ filter. The unique filter allows more of the essential oils into the cup to produce a new level of quality and authentic taste in single-serve capsule brewing, proven in scientific studies to deliver a more flavorful cup of coffee compared to the leading brand.
At Press Release
August 25, 2014
CNET has a feature on Keurig 2.0 and the K500 model brewer. The full photo slideshow is at: The K500 is Keurig 2.0's flagship brewer and you can see their video review here. The K500 AKA the Keurig 2.0 550 model left them feeling bitter. What made them feel bitter? For them the only reason to buy the Keurig 2.0 550 brewer is to get the ability to brew a carafe of coffee, and since the DRM prevents you from using unlicensed K-Cups the value is just not their for this new brewer.
For us the ability to brew with the carafe is interesting, and being able to use the recyclable VUE format along with K-Cups is a plus. We'll have to see whether it leaves a bitter taste for us. We're hoping the claims of it also being a better K-Cup brewer hold true, and that brewing K-Cups in Keurig 2.0 makes better coffee, tea, and other drinks.