September 17, 2012

Review: Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups for Keurig

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Starbucks created their Anniversary Blend back in 1996 to celebrate their 25th anniversary and it was so popular that it remained a seasonal favorite which would be reintroduced each Fall. Starbucks claims the secret to the distinctive taste of this coffee is due to the use of aged Sumatran beans from Indonesia, but to the honest, the thing that had us jumping for joy was the recent introduction of what we're reviewing today: Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups. We would like to note that we liked the artwork on the packaging & how the foil lid on the K-Cup gave a light gold appearance to the artwork as well. Since most K-Cups have pretty standardized artwork, this made for a nice difference.

Billed as one of the first seasonal Starbucks K-Cups (Hmm... could we be seeing Christmas Blend K-Cups in a few months?), brewing these K-Cups resulted in strong, almost wine-like aromas with smoky hickory tinged by mild notes of caramel in the background. Flavor was nicely presented with a huge amount of complex tastes swirling around in the cup. You start off with some of the smoky notes, but surprisingly, they're a lot smoother and not as intense as your typical Starbucks dark roast. You then notice some molasses flavors mingling around with more notes of sweet caramel and things are topped off by some dark chocolate flavors near the end with a light spicy kick in the finish. Outstanding & unlike anything we've seen before from Starbucks.

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September 10, 2012

Review: King of Joe Espresso T-Discs for Tassimo

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Over the past several years, we've been known to complain about the lack of new T-Disc flavors in retail stores, online or elsewhere and were just about ready to think that Kraft had all but given up on the Tassimo since Starbucks left and decided to partner with the competing Keurig machines instead. Ah, but then something strange happened... Kraft & Bosch decided enough was enough and started listening to fans. New machines were being introduced, a major safety recall was handled somewhat efficiently (for the most part) and best of all, after what seemed like ages of inactivity, new flavors were being released.

A few at first, then more, and eventually the levee broke and we were flooded with a tidal wave of amazing new flavors to the point where we almost couldn't keep track of all the new things that were coming out left and right. Could it be? Have Kraft FINALLY listened to our complaints & concerns? It would seem so.

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September 5, 2012

Review: The Original Donut Shop Coffee Sweet & Creamy Regular Iced Coffee K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We kick things off with what has to be the most ridiculously long name for a K-Cup we've seen in ages... wow... lots of words to try & cram into a title there, so we'll simply refer to them as "Sweet & Creamy Regular Iced Coffee K-Cups" for the remainder of this review. Most Brew Over Ice K-Cups recommend 6oz or 8oz settings but after noticing that this flavor used actual real ground coffee beans, we figured we'd go full tilt and use the larger 8oz setting to fill our iced beverage tumbler.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in light smoky notes of hickory during brewing which quickly faded away afterwards & we even noticed a few tiny flecks of coffee grounds in the cup which proved there was indeed real ground coffee present here instead of instant coffee. Chalk that up as a bonus for this flavor as we love getting the real deal vs. instant whenever possible.

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August 27, 2012

Review: Vitamin Burst Acai Berry K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We have seen a virtual explosion of new products coming out of Keurig’s HQ lately and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down anytime soon (which is a good thing for our taste buds, but a painful thing for our wallets). Today we take a look at the first-ever single serve fruit drink for Keurig machines with the new Vitamin Burst Acai Berry K-Cups.

Much like the Green Mountain Naturals brand, Vitamin Burst is a new brand that Keurig created in-house and marks the first time a vitamin-enriched fruit drink has been made available for a mainstream single serve coffee machine (ok, there are probably competitors out there, but they’re not necessarily mainstream or commonly known yet). We like the concept & think it’s a category that’s long overdue for Keurig. Let’s find out how well this flavor stacks up.

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August 23, 2012

Review: Tassimo Tea Bar Peach Iced Tea T-Discs

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We decided it was time to review something which has long been missing for the Tassimo machine... iced teas. Today we check out the new Tassimo Tea Bar Peach Iced Tea T-Discs. Much like the King of Joe series, Tassimo Tea Bar appears to be a new in-house brand that Kraft created for the Tassimo. Since this is the first time the Tassimo has seen iced teas, we were interested to see how things would play out.

Brewing these T-Discs resulted in sweet, rich peach aromas quickly filling the room and there was no mistaking that you were brewing a peach flavored drink, plus you could also smell some of the black tea aromas in the background as well. Spot on so far. Flavor is where things went a bit sideways. The first thing you notice is the artificial sweetener taste which is almost to the point of being chemical-tasting. Then, once that dissipates, you finally get the peach flavoring and then the black tea notes buried underneath. We were a bit taken aback by the chemical taste which we were NOT expecting, so we checked out the packaging and found the culprit... sucralose, which is more commonly known as Splenda. Things improved a bit once the ice melted and diluted the drink, but we could still taste remnants of the sucralose anyway.

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August 16, 2012

Review: Club Coffee Swiss Water Decaf Single Cup Capsules

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We continue our review series of Club Coffee Single Cup Capsules today with their Club Coffee Swiss Water Decaf Single Cup Capsules.

Brewing these Single Cup Capsules resulted in very mild smoky notes with hints of chocolate underneath. We’re still holding out hope that Club Coffee’s darker roasts will have more pronounced aromas, but man… so far, we’re rather disappointed with what we’ve seen in the lineup’s lighter roasts. It’s almost as if you need to be standing directly over your Keurig during brewing in order to get any aromas. This shouldn’t need to be the case.

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August 7, 2012

Review: Club Coffee 100% Colombian Single Cup Capsules

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We continue our review series of Club Coffee Single Cup Capsules today with their Club Coffee 100% Colombian Single Cup Capsules.

Brewing these Single Cup Capsules resulted in faint notes of hickory blended with even fainter notes of mild spices underneath with a bit of earthiness in the background. Once again, the past few Club Coffee offerings we've tried have had rather weak aromas, so we hope such won't be the case with their darker roasts once we give those a try.

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August 2, 2012

Review: Club Coffee Breakfast Supreme Single Cup Capsules

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After seeing the simplicity & success other companies have had with pod/K-Cup hybrids (i.e. Rogers Family Coffee Company's San Fransisco Bay One Cups), other coffee roasters are taking note and starting to follow suit. Such is the case with a new Canadian product which recently started appearing online. Today we review a new coffee brand with the Club Coffee Breakfast Supreme Single Cup Capsules.

Club Coffee is based out of Toronto in Ontario Canada. They've been in the coffee roasting business for over 100 years and got their start in 1906. They were acquired by Standard Brands' Food Service division which added a few more coffee brands to their lineup before merging with Nabisco in 1985. They remained part of RJR-Nabisco until being sold to Nestle in 1987 at which point they became part of Nestle FoodServices and remained in that position until being sold to Morrison Lamothe Inc. in 2007.

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July 25, 2012

Review: Café Escapes Café Caramel Vue Packs for Keurig Vue Brewing Systems

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Up next in our line of Vue Pack reviews are the Café Escapes Café Caramel Vue Packs. These are billed in the specialty drink category and are the first powdered ingredient Vue Pack we've tried so far. On top of that, we're total suckers for anything caramel-flavored, so we grabbed a box of these as soon as we could. We were curious to see how the blending of 3 separate powdered ingredients would mesh together... powdered milk creamer, caramel flavoring and instant coffee (yes, you read that correctly... INSTANT coffee). For those of you who haven't run out of the room screaming in terror yet, we'll get started now.

Brewing these Vue Packs resulted in rich scents of caramel along with faint butterscotch notes hiding underneath. As for the coffee, we only got faint notes of it here. We were glad the predominant scent here was caramel instead of coffee since we feel this is a specialty drink with hints of coffee, not a coffee with hints of caramel.

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July 16, 2012

Review: Van Houtte French Vanilla Vue Packs for Keurig Vue Brewing Systems

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Our voyage through the wonderful world of Vue Packs brings us today to yet another flavored variety, Van Houtte French Vanilla Vue Packs. Van Houtte have been around in Canada for about as long as long as Marmite’s been around New Zealand and we’re sure if Kiwis had a chance to sample some (Van Houtte Coffee), they’d agree it tastes considerably better. We were again curious to see what kind of results we’d get with the strong button, so we forged ahead.

Brewing these Vue Packs resulted in warm aromas of vanilla blended with caramel throughout. Billed as a light roast, flavor revealed the same notes of vanilla & caramel with the caramel flavors almost outpacing the vanilla ones. Those were definitely the 2 predominant flavors here as we simply could not detect anything else.

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