January 18, 2012

Review: CBTL Americano Single Serve Coffee, Espresso, and Hot Beverage System

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CBTL has introduced the Americano single serve coffee, espresso, and hot beverage system recently, and it's packed with features you'll love in a single serve coffee maker. We received the CBTL system from them (thanks for sending) a few weeks ago and have been using it daily since. The machine look and feel is modern, and there's even an adjustable cup stand that just makes sense when you make coffee, espresso, and also hot chocolate with such a machine. We also really love the fact you can use a really tall travel mug to make coffee to go.

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January 12, 2012

Review: Carte Noire Americano T-Discs for Tassimo

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The Canadian T-Disc retail scene has been... well, let's just say "unappealing" for the past number of years with only a few minor updates here and there in an mild effort to match what was already being sold in American retail stores. As is usually the case, competition is good and with Starbucks jumping the sinking ship over to Keurig, Kraft finally got the swift kick in the arse it needed to inspire a massive campaign that at long last introduced brand new T-Disc flavors across many countries.

Unfortunately, the powers that be at Kraft still refuse to abandon their country-centric methodology and certain brands remain "geo-blocked" only for sale in their respective countries of origin. It's too bad to see that in an effort to save their sinking ship, they chose to retain the boat anchor that had been weighing them down instead. All gripes aside, our Canadian Correspondent, SH, received a shipment of the new Canadian T-Disc flavors recently and provided us today with the first of many reviews by covering the new Carte Noire Americano T-Discs.

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Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

January 3, 2012

Review: Van Houtte JavaNation Vanilla Cupcake K-Cups

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Today we review a new concept on the Canadian K-Cup scene that Van Houtte have decided to test out recently… creating a “brand within a brand” and passing it off as something which is completely unrelated to its parent company. When we first heard of JavaNation, we thought this was a new brand acquired by Van Houtte. We dug further and discovered that this was rather a new brand created by Van Houtte in order to introduce some rather unconventional K-Cup flavors. Case in point? Their JavaNation Vanilla Cupcake K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups result in strong notes of caramel (wait… what?). Yes, you read that correctly. A caramel scent during brewing which slowly morphs into a vanilla cake scent with sweet tinges of sugary white frosting lingering in the background once the coffee is sitting in the cup. The whole “aromatic musical chairs” bit was rather strange, but hey, the final scent was more or less spot-on. The only reason for point loss here is that we kept thinking this was a caramel coffee instead of vanilla at first. Not too good when the coffee initially doesn’t smell anything like its namesake. It’s almost like brewing a blueberry coffee and having it smell like bananas for the first 5 minutes.

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

December 14, 2011

Review: Celestial Seasonings Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups

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Here at the Single Serve Coffee kitchens, we're always keeping an eye open for the latest innovations in single serve products and a while back, Green Mountain decided to do something which had never been attempted before... they manufactured the World's first "all-paper' K-Cup. Made from a special combination of printed cardboard & paper lined with a special film (to prevent a soggy mess during brewing), this K-Cup marks a manufacturing milestone for Green Mountain and opens up the door to future innovations. Today we review Celestial Seasonings Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups.

While we realize this review is LONG overdue (this product was introduced around Sept. 2010 and has since been discontinued) & apologize for the delay, we figured we would at least give our readers an idea of what the product was like. There's always a chance that another flavor may be introduced using this new paper K-Cup format sometime in the future. You can even read our earlier review of the packaging we did last year. As you can see in the photos, the things that stand out the most are the floral design & Celestial Seasonings logo printed on the side of the K-Cup (marks the first time print/artwork has been able to appear on a K-Cup) as well as the unique paper crimping process used underneath. You keep thinking the thing will blow apart inside your machine, but it's surprisingly well designed to withstand the water pressure. Did we mention this thing was made entirely of fricking PAPER? Amazing.

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December 5, 2011

Review: Millstone Hazelnut Cream K-Cups

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We continue our Millstone reviews today by checking out their Millstone Hazelnut Cream K-Cups.

Brewing the Millstone Hazelnut Cream K-Cups resulted in creamy hazelnut notes with hints of vanilla when smelled from up close, yet when we brewed one of these K-Cups at work recently, some of our co-workers complained that the nearby corridor smelled as if someone had smoked a cigarette. Wait... what?!? We thought they needed to get their olfactory senses checked since we didn't notice this ourselves and certainly couldn't reproduce the effect at the Single Serve Coffee kitchens here today. Just to be sure, we had a few other staff members walk by the room afterwards and they did not notice anything out of the ordinary either. Jim Morrison was right when he said "People Are Strange".

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November 22, 2011

Review: Millstone Breakfast Blend Fair Trade Coffee K-Cups

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With all the news about Barista Prima K-Cups back at the time and the recent news about Starbucks K-Cups finally hitting select retail stores recently, it's easy to overlook a K-Cup brand that slipped "under the radar" a while back. Today we address that oversight by reviewing Millstone's Breakfast Blend Fair Trade K-Cups.

According to the wiki article, Millstone was founded in Everett, Washington in 1981. Founder Phil Johnson sold 100lb sacks of Arabica beans to high-end coffee shops in the greater Seattle area & pioneered the idea of selling whole-beaned coffees to supermarkets. Johnson sold Millstone to Procter & Gamble in 1996 which closed down most of the operation in Everett and now run the company out of Ohio.

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November 14, 2011

Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut K-Cups for Keurig

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We continue our review of Dunkin Donuts’ series of K-Cups today with their Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut K-Cups.

Upon brewing these K-Cups, you get a hazelnut aroma but it just doesn’t seem… natural. Unlike some of the other hazelnut-flavored K-Cups we’ve had in the past from competitors (trust us, there’s many), we’d have to say this just doesn’t have a normal hazelnut aroma. Dunkins doesn’t hide the fact that they’re using artificial flavoring in this K-Cup, but unlike their French Vanilla, there’s just something off-putting by this scent. The best we can describe it is coffee that’s been spiked with a few shots of Torani hazelnut syrup. It just had us somewhat weirded-out. Not the best first impression to make, but we’ll still give this K-Cup a chance to redeem itself in other categories. Let’s push-forward & see how it holds up.

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October 31, 2011

Review: Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

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We continue our review of Dunkin Donuts’ series of K-Cups today with their Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla K-Cups.

Upon brewing these K-Cups, a sweet aroma of vanilla fills the room. It was more of a light scent and didn’t have any other aromas hiding underneath. Just straight-up vanilla & nothing else. Made for a bit of a change from the norm since most French vanilla coffees always end up having other scents mingled within. We wish the aroma would have been a bit stronger, but that’s a minor nitpick at most.

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October 19, 2011

Review: Dunkin Donuts Dunkin’ Dark Coffee K-Cups

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We continue our review of Dunkin Donuts’ series of K-Cups today with their Dunkin Donuts Dunkin’ Dark K-Cups.

Upon brewing these K-Cups, strong earthy notes fill the room and are much akin to the Dunkins Original Blend K-Cups we reviewed recently. Similar notes of molasses were hiding underneath but weren’t as prevalent as in the Original Blend. We also noted very faint hints of dark chocolate too. It was like a slightly stronger version of the Original Blend’s aroma and reminded us once again of stepping into our local Dunkins shop. Spot-on.

Acidity was much more pleasing this time around. It’s amazing to see how much of a difference a change in a roast profile can make. Say goodbye to the strong sour notes of the Original Blend and hello to the silky smooth, well-balanced notes of Dunkin’ Dark coffee. You won’t find anything getting in your way of enjoying the richer flavor this time around. We are very, VERY pleased at how this K-Cup turned out.

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

October 14, 2011

Review: Dunkin Donuts Original Blend K-Cups

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We’ve all seen the commercials & the ads plastered everywhere from bus stops to taxi cabs and newspapers… America runs on Dunkins. Well, after years of waiting, you can now enjoy a “leisurely jog” to your kitchen since Dunkin Donuts K-Cups are finally being sold in most Dunkins shops across the country. Today we’re reviewing Dunkin Donuts Original Blend K-Cups.

What sets Dunkins K-Cups apart from others? Well, they come in 14-packs instead of your usual 12 or 24-pack varieties but the most obvious difference is that you can ONLY buy them in-person at a Dunkins coffee shop. They’re not being sold anywhere online (not even via Dunkins’ own online shop) and you won’t find them anywhere at a Wal-Mart or grocery store. Dunkins has effectively ensured that you’ll be tempted to buy their other in-store products by being forced to visit one of their shops in order to pick-up a box. Annoying? Yes. Clever sales approach? You bet’cha.

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