October 6, 2010

Review: Celestial Seasonings Half & Half Perfect Iced Tea K-Cups

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We continue our iced beverage reviews with one of the latest “Brew Over Ice” K-Cups to hit the market… Celestial Seasonings Half and Half Perfect Iced Tea K-Cups. Their “half & half” consists of half lemonade (made with real lemon, or “true lemon” as they claim on the packaging) along with half black tea. As is now common with the entire Brew Over Ice lineup, these K-Cups are designed to be used with either the 6oz or 8oz settings on your Keurig brewer (which makes us wonder if the 4oz iced beverage setting on certain models will ever be used again)

Upon brewing, strong aromas of lemon quickly emerged and became the primary scent. At least now we know what the whole “true lemon” signage on the packaging was about since the aroma really is that of real fresh-cut lemons & not something artificial. Taste was what surprised us the most. We kept thinking of our less than ideal experience with Celestial Seasonings Unsweetened Black Iced Tea K-Cups and were afraid that this would just be that K-Cup with “more lemon” dumped-in.

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September 24, 2010

Review: Tassimo Pro T65 CUL Single Serve Coffee Maker and Hot Beverage System

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We've been fortunate enough here at Single Serve Coffee to test and review every single serve coffee maker for consumers, but we've often not tested many of the professional offerings for small business. We're pleased to say the folks over at Tassimo sent us the Tassimo Pro T65 CUL Single Serve Coffee Maker and Hot Beverage system to review.

That being said we think reading our reviews of the consumer models will give you the larger background on the machine, system, and how it works, along with a familiarity of the features the Pro models use as well.

Tassimo Professional Brewer Lineup

The Tassimo Professional line of brewers include the T65 CUL and the T-300. The T65 is designed for use with small office and requires the coffee drinker to dispose of each T-Disc as they brew cups of coffee, where as the T300 is designed for a larger office with a 20 T-Disc bin capacity. The T65 is also not able to be plumbed, but the T300 Tassimo professional brewer is.

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September 22, 2010

Review: Wolfgang Puck Chef’s Reserve Colombian K-Cups for Keurig

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Many of you know Wolfgang Puck as a World-famous chef with his own line of restaurants and retail food items, so when a chef of his stature decided to enter the K-Cup scene, we got really interested, really fast (after all, some of Emeril’s K-Cups weren’t too shabby). Distributed by Van Houtte (a recent acquisition which was the final card in GMCR’s royal flush poker hand of K-Cup manufacturers), we attended different events surrounding the launch of these K-Cups and decided it was about time we started reviewing the line-up. As a result, we kick things off today with the Wolfgang Puck Chef’s Reserve Colombian K-Cups.

Upon brewing, strong aromas of earthiness & dark chocolate fill the room although that’s no surprise since this is billed as a dark roast. We’ll admit the scent was a bit more balanced than what we’ve seen in other dark roasts since we got the earthy notes of the beans but no overbearing burnt notes of the actual roasting process or any hickory smoke characteristics seen in a few other dark roast varieties on the market.

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September 15, 2010

Review: Celestial Seasonings Southern Sweet Perfect Iced Tea K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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Our quest to try every new “Brew Over Ice” K-Cup continues today with our review of Celestial Seasonings Southern Sweet Perfect Iced Tea K-Cups. These K-Cups combine traditional black tea and dump on a generous serving of cane sugar to add a touch of the South to this drink since after all; sweet tea did originate from the Southern states (as is described via this interesting Wikipedia entry). As a matter of fact, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the weight of these K-Cups… they are PACKED with cane sugar and weigh a few grams more than some other flavors in the lineup.

Upon brewing, mild aromas of black tea appear for a few minutes although overall, there’s not much of a scent present in the finished cup once all is said and done. We were expecting a bit more of a traditional orange pekoe scent but it’s always hard to get the same aromas as the hot version when you’re making iced tea. As a result, we’ll score this as average.

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September 7, 2010

Review: Green Mountain French Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups

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With Summer drawing to an end and Fall settling-in within the next few months, we decided to try beating yet another heat wave recently by reviewing one of this year's new "Brew Over Iced Coffee K-Cups". What's so new, you ask? Why this first official iced coffee K-Cup, that's what. More specifically, Green Mountain's French Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups.

Conceived especially for iced beverages, this K-Cup is a bit different than the previous generation of iced K-Cups since instead of using your Keurig's 4oz iced beverage setting (if it has one), you just brew the default 6oz size over ice (just remember to use a larger cup/mug accordingly). Aroma was as expected, light notes of French vanilla with a standard base of Arabica coffee in the background. So far, so good.

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August 31, 2010

Review: Cappuccino Ice capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto

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With the end of Summer drawing closer, we continue our reviews of iced single serve beverages with another one of our favorites in the Dolce Gusto line-up… their Cappuccino Ice capsules. Most of you are likely used to making your own “iced caps” with a brew-over-ice K-Cup and adding your own sugar & cream or perhaps you’ve had a go at some of the new Gevalia iced coffee T-Discs for the Tassimo recently, but when we tried the first cold water drink for the Dolce Gusto (it’s been around since the machine’s launch this side of the pond) we were a bit skeptical. How much of a crema layer could powdered capsules create anyway & just what kind of espresso flavor would powdered coffee yield?

Well, lots it would seem. You get 8 coffee capsules and 8 milk capsules in each box and you start by prepping the milk capsule first, followed by the coffee capsule afterwards for a drink that’s roughly in the 10oz range. We didn’t notice much of the crema until we started adding the coffee and saw the various layers slowly build up from seemingly nowhere. Aromas kicked-in when brewing the coffee capsule to reveal very light, earthy, somewhat smoky notes of Arabica (not a small feat considering this is powdered coffee after all).

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August 27, 2010

Review: Celestial Seasonings Sweet Peach Iced Tea K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We're going to feature a bunch of the brew over iced K-Cups over the next week, and we kick things off with the Celestial Seasonings Sweet Peach Iced Tea K-Cups and notice a light peach aroma filling our nose as the hot liquid melts over the ice. This aroma quickly becomes muted after the drink cools down a bit.

We didn't really notice much acidity as the ice cuts down on it somewhat. Things were smooth overall and there was barely any aftertaste. The thing which threw us off a bit was the initial punch to the face of bitter flavoring... we couldn't quite figure out what caused it. The peach flavoring? The cane sugar? (unlikely) or perhaps it was the hibiscus? Once we got accustomed, we started noticing more of the natural peach flavoring hiding below the light sweetness of the cane sugar. The longer we sipped on the drink, the more peach notes started coming through. A flavor score of 5 thankfully got changed to an 8 as a result.

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August 13, 2010

Review: Nestea Peach Iced Tea Capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto

Review Single Serve Coffee

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With the recent heat wave occurring on the East coast these past several weeks, most of us here at the Single Serve Coffee kitchens have been ditching our usual hot coffee drinks for the iced variety instead and with the explosion of "brew over ice" K-Cups that have hit shelves for Keurig systems, it's nice to know that Nescafé wasn't asleep at the wheel as they also pushed out a new iced capsule of their own. Today we review their Nestea Peach Iced Tea capsules for the Dolce Gusto.

We've been fans of Nestea products and went through tons of various flavors in our lifetime, so we were anxious to see if these new capsules were on-par with what we've tried in the past. Little did we know that "on par" would be the biggest understatement of this review. Billed by Nescafé as "the perfect Summer drink", we were hard pressed to disagree as we used the supplied latte macchiato glass which came with our machine, popped in a few ice cubes and pulled about 6oz of cold water only to notice a Guinness-like froth effect which slowly started to build up to a frothy top layer. An iced tea that froths like a Guinness? All we can say is if Nescafé were going for visual "wow factor" they frickin achieved orbit!

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August 3, 2010

Review: Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine

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Using iperEspresso capsules, the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine is a new design from illy in the single serve coffee and espresso world. The Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine allows you to make shot of espresso or larger lungo cups of coffee to enjoy both hot and iced. We've been using the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine over the past month since illy sent us a review model, and have to say this machine and system is nearly perfect.

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Both espresso and lungo cups of coffee brewed hot or over ice have been excellent. There are 4 flavors of iperEspresso capsules available, but we've settled on a double shot of the medium roast over ice as our favorite. How does this system work? How is it different than other single serve coffee and espresso machines?

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July 12, 2010

Review: Fratello Nicaraguan Los Placeres Single Serve Coffee Pods

Review Single Serve Coffee

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The latest batch of Fratello pods arrived from Calgary recently, and they don't disappoint! Quite the contrary. You'll find a great new micro-lot from Guatemala, the Guatemala Montecristo, as well as their superb Tanzania Songea Peaberry, which recently became the highest-rated coffee ever to be offered in pod form when Kenneth Davids gave its whole-bean equivalent a 94, and this coffee in whole bean form a 90. And you'd certainly be missing out if you overlooked Fratello's Nicaraguan Los Placeres, perhaps our favorite of them all and our focus in today's review.

With this pod Fratello continues its tradition of offering fantastic single-serve Nicaraguan coffees. Part of their secret seems to be keeping it in the family, so to speak. The Los Placeres Estate is run by the award-winning Mierisch family, who own other estates such as Limoncillo, Mama Mina, and Los Milagros from which coffee for highly regarded pods has been harvested in the past. If you favor a more direct connection to where your morning cup has come from than the big chain roasters can offer, i.e. coffee with a story, look no further.

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