Reviews

September 15, 2014

Keurig 2.0 Brewer Series Overview & First Impressions

K450 Brewer

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. 

KCarafe vs KCup Side

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.

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

September 8, 2014

Nature Valley Brown Sugar Pecan Bistro Cups Review

Nature valley bistro kcups box shot

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

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 5, 2014

Lay's Cappuccino Potato Chips Review

Lays cappucinno chips

AB from Maine has sent in a review of Lay’s Cappuccino potato chips. I also got to try these chips recently, and I couldn’t escape the cinnamon grease finish. Brutual. I do however love the Wasabi Ginger Chips.

From AB:

On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I came across Lay’s Cappuccino potato chips. Being a lover coffee, I was excited to see this and picked up a bag for $2.99.

Upon arriving home, my wife and I opened the bag and dug in. The initial taste of the chips where good. You get a nice creamy taste that you expect from drinking a cappuccino.

However that taste soon morphed into what I can only describe as foul. Once the initial taste from the chip was gone, you are left with the sensation that you are chewing on old coffee grounds. Imagine brewing a pot of coffee, removing the filter with the grounds still in it, placing it in your mouth, and chewing. Yeah that is the taste.

This was a nice idea that really missed the mark. Not sure, who did the product testing for this, but they should be fired.

Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

August 11, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Stormio Capsules Review

Nespresso VertuoLine Stormio

We’ve been working our way through Nespresso’s VertuoLine capsule line-up for the past several weeks and while we tried to find meaning behind the capsule names, we just kept thinking in the back of our minds that they were named after would-be Italian X-Men characters. From the strongest espresso in the line-up (Diavolitto) to the strongest coffee in the line-up (Stormio), the names seem to invoke a sense of darkness & intrigue. Whatever the inspiration for the naming may be, we decided to forge ahead with today’s review of Nespresso's VertuoLine Stormio Capsules. Would the strongest coffee be as strong as the strongest espresso on the VertuoLine system? Let’s find out.

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July 28, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Capsules Review

Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto

We continue our VertuoLine capsule reviews today by checking out one of their strongest intensity espressos, the Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Capsules. The name was the first thing that piqued our interest and while we don’t know how to read or speak Italian, we got a basic connotation of what was inferred. A quick bit of experimentation on Google Translate quickly proved us right… uh… well, sort of. While Diavolitto is itself not an Italian word (as far as we’re aware) it is derived from diavol, which is apparently the Italian Romanian word for devil. 

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July 21, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Vanizio Capsules Review

Review nespresso vertuoline vanizio capsules Nespresso Vanizio

When we reviewed our first VertuoLine capsules a while back (the hazelnut flavored Hazelino), we noted how the flavoring tasted different and a bit off from what we’re used to seeing in a conventional flavored coffee produced from the likes of a Keurig or Tassimo system. Since we ALWAYS take our coffee black during reviews in order to notice any subtle flavor notes which might be hiding in the cup, we pretty much ignored Nespresso’s recommendations to also try their VertuoLine capsules with added creamer. 

Review nespresso vertuoline vanizio capsules IMGP5907

That was apparently a big mistake. Once we followed their suggestions, we noticed that the strange almost chemical hazelnut taste was replaced by a more subdued hazelnut flavor and that the harsher oily notes in the coffee became greatly reduced to more normal levels. It completely transformed the entire tasting experience to a degree we weren’t expecting. In hindsight, we’d like to offer an apology of sorts to Nespresso and would like to point out that while our original score of 91 - Exceptional still stands for the Hazelino capsules when taken black, we’d have to give a slightly higher score of 94 - Exceptional once you add creamer into the mix (sorry, we still can’t get used to the odd foreign hazelnut flavor).

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July 7, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Hazelino Capsules Review

Review nespressovertuoline hazelino capsules Capsule

When Nespresso first introduced the VertuoLine brewer to North America earlier this year, we were a bit caught by surprise as up until now, Nespresso was known primarily for their premium line of espresso machines which they’ve now dubbed OriginalLine. This marked the first time Nespresso had decided to focus on conventional coffee (while still retaining the ability to produce espressos from the same machine). 

An 8oz coffee from Nespresso? Given how superb some of their OriginalLine espresso capsules have been in the past, they certainly had our attention. Seeing as how coffee extraction is different than espresso extraction, Nespresso had to come up with a new way to extract brewed coffee from the capsules and they did so in a way which isn’t that common in the single serve coffee market… centrifugal force. Dubbed Centrifusion, the brewer has a laser which reads a barcode ring around the inner lip of the capsule and this code determines everything from water amounts to spin rate in order to deliver optimized results for each capsule. 

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June 9, 2014

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Toasted Amaretto K-Cups

 

ReviewcbtltoastedamarettokcupsIMGP5832

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. 

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 2, 2014

Newman’s Own Organics Cafe Almond Biscotti K-Cups Review

Newmansownbiscotti

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.

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

May 27, 2014

Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups Review

ReviewstarbucksbrightskyblendkcupsIMGP5806

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.

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

May 19, 2014

Counting Sheep Coffee Lights Out! Single Cups Review

ReviewcountingsheepcoffeelightsoutsinglecupsIMGP5795

 

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.

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May 12, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Single Serve Coffee and Espresso Maker Review

Vertuo experience about machine

We really love single serve coffee so, when we found out Nespresso was jumping into the dual coffee and espresso wagon we we’re beyond excited. Sure we love a cup of espresso, but we often like a shot of espresso in our single serve cup of coffee. The Nespresso VertuoLine Single Serve Coffee and Espresso Maker is the first Nespresso machine that makes a great cup of coffee or espresso. Each capsule is perfectly measured so that you get a uniformed brew each and every time, and when you put an espresso capsule in the Vertuo it will make espresso. If you use a larger coffee capsule it will make a larger cup of coffee.

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

May 5, 2014

Tetley Orange Pekoe Tea T-Discs Review

Reviewtetleyorangepekoeteatdiscs discs

Canada recently experience something it hadn’t seen for quite a while in the retail scene… a deluge of new T-Disc flavors for the Tassimo system. Today we take a look at the 1st of 2 new flavors that were introduced, namely the Tetley Orange Pekoe Tea T-Discs.

Tetley got its start as a tea merchant business founded in Yorkshire, England back in 1837 by brothers Joseph & Edward Tetley. They later relocated to London and by 1953, the company became the first to sell their tea in tea-bag format in the UK. Fast forward to present day and Tetley is now owned by Tata Global Beverages of India, the 2nd largest tea-producing company world-wide. This has ensured that Tetley has become a household name in many countries.

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April 28, 2014

ECS Coffee Maple Cinnamon French Toast Decaf Single Cups Review

ReviewecscoffeemaplecinnamonfrenchtoastdecafsingleIMGP5783

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.

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