Reviews

March 30, 2015

Robin’s Coffee Real Cups Review

IMGP6237 robins coffee real cups

Robin’s Donuts may not be a brand many of you are familiar with and given the fact that the brand is a privately-owned corporation which is sparsely located throughout Canada, many of our readers up north may not be too familiar with them either. Despite this fact, a quick look on their website shows that Robin’s got their start in Thunder Bay, Ontario back in 1975 and have since expanded to over 130 locations across Canada. The chain is in direct competition with Canada’s coffee juggernaut, Tim Hortons and to a lesser extent, Starbucks. Their locations offer a variety of breakfast/lunch sandwich items and the obvious fare such as donuts and regular/iced coffee drinks as well as a variety of other menu items. They recently entered the single serve market and today we’re checking out their Robin’s Coffee Real Cups. 

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March 17, 2015

Williams Fresh Cafe Signature Blend Real Cups Review

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We hadn’t heard of Williams Fresh Cafe before and that’s because it’s a Canadian cafe chain which appears to be operating solely out of Ontario. A big of digging around on the company’s website revealed that Williams got its start in 1993 when the company opened their first location in Stratford, Ontario and named it Williams Coffee Pub. After several years of growth, they decided to rebrand in 2009 as Williams Fresh Cafe and started offering freshly made menu items & coffee in a warm & inviting fast casual cafeatmosphere. The chain now has 35 locations across Ontario and recently decided to enter the single serve market by introducing their coffee in Real Cup format in their cafes and having it distributed throughout the rest of Canada by ECS Coffee. As a result, today we’re checking out their Williams Fresh Cafe Signature Blend Real Cups. 

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March 10, 2015

Numi Rooibos Chai Real Cups Review

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We continue our review of the Numi Organic Teas Real Cups today by checking out the 2nd flavor in the line-up… Numi Rooibos Chai Real Cups. Normally we associate chai tea as having a traditional black tea base, so to have one with a rooibos base was an interesting change of pace. We always found that taking a chai tea black rendered the spices way too potent and created an intoxicatingly over-spiced cup which was to the point of being sickening, hence why most chai teas are usually transformed into chai lattes via the addition of milk. Would the lighter bodied rooibos tea make any difference this time around? Would it allow us to finally drink a chai tea au natural (i.e. sans milk)? Read on to find out. 

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January 20, 2015

Barrie House Spicy Mistletoe Single Cups Review

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While we realize we’re about a month overdue with this review now that the holiday season has come and gone, we still had quite a few seasonal holiday items we didn’t get a chance to check out until now. We figured it was better late than never to start digging through some of these items and we’re reviewing one of the most recent single serve products which was introduced last year… Barrie House Spicy Mistletoe Single Cups.

As we may have noted in earlier reviews, Barrie House recently changed the design of their Single Cups so that they appear to be made out of a solid plastic shell vs. the old design which had a plastic shell but a foil bottom. We were a bit concerned that the plastic would be too thick for the Keurig’s piercing needle but this wasn’t the case. Other items such as their intensity scale and peel-away lid appear to have remained intact from the old designs. Let’s give these a try and see if they’re a worthwhile addition to our holiday coffee line-up.

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January 12, 2015

Barrie House Hot Apple Cider Single Cups Review

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With the cold weather upon us, we decided to try out a cold weather-inspired drink which is usually served throughout fall & winter but especially around this time of year… hot apple cider. Apple cider is the unfiltered version of apple juice made from pressed apples. It can be prepared as-is and served chilled as a form of naturally unfiltered juice, it can be mulled with various seasonings and spices (cinnamon is usually the norm in this instance) and served hot or it can be fermented and and turned into an alcoholic hard cider. 

Apple cider is even the official state beverage of New Hampshire (a fact we were totally clueless about until doing research for this review which seems odd since we visit NH each summer). The fact that Keurig Green Mountain have since made 2 different versions of their apple cider K-Cups meant that competitors couldn’t be too far behind and today we’re checking out the latest addition to the single serve cider realm with Barrie House’s Hot Apple Cider Single Cups.

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January 5, 2015

Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups Review

  

Lemon ginsing lipton review kcup

Lipton has been steadily forging ahead with new varieties of teas lately & the same can be said about their single serve offerings as well. 2014 saw a slow but continued growth of new flavors with the latest one being the Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups. We were curious to have a go at these but should have paid closer attention to the ingredients list since, for whatever reason, we thought these K-Cups had honey included as part of the initial flavor. We could not have been more wrong. 

While panax ginseng is known as a form of natural energy supplement, it’s not exactly the best tasting ingredient in the world and despite its various health benefits, it has a very unique and somewhat off-putting taste which can only be described as chemical-like. That’s why most teas which feature this ingredient usually add honey as a sweetener to help mask the taste. This time around, Lipton opted not to do that and only left natural lemon flavoring (which is apparently soy-based… wait, what?) & lemon grass as the main flavor ingredients. So, what are the final brewed results like? Let’s have a look & find out. As noted above, there’s soy in this product (and even an allergen warning right on the K-Cup lids), so be forewarned if you’ve got any soy allergies.

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December 16, 2014

Tootsie Roll & Junior Mints Hot Cocoa Single Cups Review

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything that truly piqued our interest in the single serve market and when we noticed the recent appearance of various chocolate candy inspired hot cocoas from brands such as Sugar Babies, Charleston Chew, Tootsie Roll & Junior Mints, we at first thought this was a severely early April Fools joke. That is until we started noticing more and more online retailers starting to carry them. Holy cow… these were actually REAL products! We immediately set about trying to procure various flavors only to find out that they were sold out almost everywhere (argh! why didn’t we believe these were real when they were announced?!?). We did however manage to secure a few samples of the Tootsie Roll & Junior Mint Hot Cocoa Single Cups and that’s what we’ll be checking out today. 

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December 9, 2014

iCoffee Opus Single Serve K-Compatible Cup Brewer Review

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It's been an interesting year for the entire single serve coffee industry, and especially with the introduction of the Keurig 2.0. The problem has been with the Keurig 2.0 - it only brews compatible Keurig 2.0 Keurig brewed K-Cups. If you have an older K-Cup brewer you're in luck, but what if that older brewer has stopped working and you don't want a Keurig 2.0 with the DRM to lock you in to only what Keurig Green Mountain has to offer in K-Cups? We think you're going to be just fine with the iCoffee Opus K-Compatible single serve coffee brewer.

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December 8, 2014

Tim Hortons Dark Roast Real Cups

 

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As anyone North of the border knows, Tim Hortons is to Canada what Dunkin Donuts is to America. It’s the largest coffee chain in Canada started by a hockey player bearing the same name (how à-propos) and throughout the decades, they’ve forced out many competitors from Canada including, much to our Canadian Correspondent’s dismay, Dunkins themselves. While they’re not as popular in America, they’ve rebranded themselves Tim Hortons Bake Shop in USA and have a small presence mostly throughout a few States in New England. Tims (as most Canucks refer to it) is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary in Canada and they’ve decided to do something rather unique.

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November 24, 2014

Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K-Cups Review

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While our friends up North got a chance to try these Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K-Cups since early October, we thought it would be fitting to test things out ourselves now that Thanksgiving is only a few days away this side of the border. It would seem that Starbucks has a blend for just about every major seasonal holiday on the calendar and you have to wonder just how different each blend is considering that Starbucks keep using the same source regions & varietals for most of their coffees. You can only mix the same varietals around for so long before they all start tasting the same, right? Being familiar with their Christmas Blend, Anniversary Blend, Tribute Blend and so on, we figured we’d give this Thanksgiving Blend a try rather than a pass and see if we can detect any of the tasting notes Starbucks have advertised on their packaging. 

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November 10, 2014

GMCR Wellness Collection Coffee K-Cups Review

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A few years ago, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) decided to release a new line-up of products which they dubbed their Wellness Collection. The collection was made up of coffees, teas and Brew Over Ice drinks which had vitamins added in. We already reviewed the 2 Vitamin Burst K-Cup flavors and unfortunately, the 2 Celestial Seasonings teas which were part of the collection have now been discontinued. The 2 coffees are still being sold and have even been made Keurig 2.0-compatible, but we never really got a chance to review them until now. As a result, today we're checking out GMCR's Focus Blend K-Cups and their Defend Blend K-Cups.

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October 29, 2014

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style K-Cups Review

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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.

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October 20, 2014

Lavazza Perfetto Coffee K-Cups Review

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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.

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October 14, 2014

Lavazza Gran Selezione Coffee K-Cups Review

 

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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.

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