Reviews

November 24, 2014

Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K-Cups Review

ReviewstarbucksthanksgivingblendkcupsIMGP6138

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

Wellness kcups gmcr 2014

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

Reviewcafebusteloespressostylekcups kcup shot

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

Keurig lavazza perfetto kcups brewer kcups

 

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

 

Gran selection lavazza kcup

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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October 6, 2014

Lavazza Classico K-Cups Review

Lavazza classico kcups

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.

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September 29, 2014

Keurig 2.0 Likes, Dislikes, Nitpicks, Hidden Port & Conclusion

Keurig 20 final

We reach the end of a long journey today with Part 3 of our 3-part Keurig 2.0 Mega Review where we discuss our main likes, dislikes & nitpicks about the new 2.0 brewers, our discovery of a hidden port under the machine (do we have your attention now?) & our final conclusion about the new 2.0 brewer series. 

What did we like?

- Overall design/look of the new brewers. They seem to have a nicer, more modern look which appears to be a fusion of various design cues from the old Keurig 1.0 Series B70 brewers & the Keurig (1.5 Series?) Vue V700 brewers. 

- The designing ingenuity which went into creating the retractable K-Cup piercing needle mechanism. As we noted in Part 2 of our Mega Review, this level of design is something we’d be expecting to see come out of Apple’s Cupertino offices… not Keurig Green Mountain. The fact that Legos inspired it further shows that amazing things can come from the most simple of ideas.

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September 22, 2014

Keurig 2.0 Menus, Brewing Various Packs & New Exclusive 2.0 Features

 

K450 Carafe

We continue today with Part 2 of our 3-part Keurig 2.0 Mega Review (you can read Part I here) by checking out the new menu system, discussing how to brew various packs in the new brewers and we also cover new features which you’ll only find on the new 2.0 brewers. One thing we’d like to tackle before we get started (and something we forgot to mention in Part 1) is how you can determine whether or not K-Cups & Vue Packs are 2.0 compatible before you even open the box. 

KCup2 Compatible Logo

We’re all familiar with the old Keurig Brewed logo and while most people will think this automatically means they’re getting 2.0 K-Cups or Vue Packs… this is NOT the case. Instead, you now need to look for even NEWER logos on the packaging. The new K-Cup compatibility logo is a colored rectangle with a circled checkmark on top which contains the words “For use in all Keurig K-Cup brewers”. While we’re not entirely 100% certain if boxes featuring this new logo might still contain older 1.0 K-Cups (since the use of the word all can be considered somewhat vague), we can however confirm that all the new boxes with this logo in our latest online orders & in-store purchases DID contain the newer 2.0 K-Cups which feature the Keurig Brewed grey/white ring around the lid. 

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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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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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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.

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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. 

ReviewnespressovertuolinediavolittocapsulesIMGP5935

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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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