April 12, 2012

Review: Starbucks House Blend K-Cups

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We continue our Starbucks K-Cup reviews today with their Starbucks House Blend K-Cups.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted once again in the signature Starbucks aroma filling the room (we've been seriously considering installing a neon Starbucks logo sign in the Single Serve test kitchens lately). A closer look at the final cup reveals woodsy notes with faint hints of cocoa & hickory hiding underneath.

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April 3, 2012

Review: Starbucks Veranda Blend K-Cups

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Long before there were Folgers K-Cups & ages before there were Dunkin Donuts K-Cups, the one coffee brand most people wanted in single serve format was Starbucks. The company went through quite a bit over the past few years. They tried creating pods which were sold primarily in limited quantities within their own stores but that failed to take off as most people weren’t even aware Starbucks pods existed. Then many a wish was answered when they announced they’d be partnering with Kraft to release Starbucks Tassimo T-Discs.

Fans rejoiced as the various T-Discs hit the market, however, not all was perfect… many complained that the coffee was way too strong/intense while others complained that it was more than living up to the Charbucks reputation by tasting extremely “burnt”. Before things could be fixed, both Starbucks & Kraft stopped seeing eye to eye and the partnership was dissolved. Those who loved the T-Discs bemoaned the loss while others panicked at the prospect of not having Starbucks in single serve format anymore. So, fresh off being burned (pun intended) by Kraft, Starbucks decided to give the single serve market another try with the largest entity in the business… GMCR. Starbuck & GMCR announced with typical fanfare that Starbucks K-Cups would be sold not only in their own retail stores but also in various grocery stores & online (something which Dunkins fans are still wishing for to this day). The announcement also revealed that Tazo Teas would also be returning to the K-Cup format with the new addition of their Zen green tea blend.

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March 29, 2012

Review: Donut Shop Coconut Mocha Coffee K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

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When chocolate meets coconut we stand up and pay attention, and the soon to be released Donut Shop Coconut Mocha coffee K-Cups warrant such attention. The artificially flavored coffee doesn't have the calories, but it sure does have the taste of that favorite chocolate bar you know, and the packaging it came in as a promotion was quite fetching as well.

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March 27, 2012

SunCana Single Serve Coffee Pod Brewer Improvements Impress

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Brewing a cup of French Roast coffee from La Pod coffee pods.

The SunCana (formerly SunCafe) coffee pod brewer has recently received several upgrades. Though coffee pod brewers using this design have have failed to impress us in the past, the current iteration of the SunCana coffee pod brewer impresses us with 3 key upgrades that make the coffee produced excellent.

The SunCana brewer improvements include:

  • Brew Temp
  • Coffee Pod Drawer
  • Better pre-wetting cycle
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March 7, 2012

Review: Keurig VUE V700 Single Cup Brewing System Makes Amazing Coffee, Tea, and Café Style Drinks

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The Keurig Vue V700 Single Cup Brewing System uses Keurig's Vue Packs, and is a single cup brewing system capable of making coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and even lattes and cappuccinos. The Keurig VUE brewer can only use Keurig Vue Packs, and not K-Cups, which are meant for older Keurig systems. Also unlike the older K-Cups, pulling off the top of the foil lid with the filter attached to a VUE Pack one can recycle the cup part of a VUE pack.

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February 23, 2012

Review: Carte Noire Long Espresso T-Discs for Tassimo

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We continue our reviews of new Canadian T-Discs today with another entry submitted by our Canadian Correspondent, SH. Today he reviews the recent Carte Noire Long Espresso T-Discs. A "long espresso" is pretty much similar to a "lungo" whereby you use the same amount of coffee at the same extraction level but increase the final amount of drink volume in the cup. As a result, you get a super-sized espresso with all the same amount of kick. Sign us up!

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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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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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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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