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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June 9, 2010

Re-Review: Coffee People Original Donut Shop K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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According to Coffee People's website, they got their start at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon back in the early '80s, selling small batches of roasted specialty coffee to market goers. Soon after in 1983, they opened their first coffeehouse in Portland, Oregon. Later in 1999, they were acquired by the Diedrich Coffee Family who in turn took over the roasting duties of their beans from them. The rest is history and has formed the Coffee People brand (now headquartered in Irvine, California) many people have come to know & love today.

We decided to revisit "the holy grail of K-Cups" which just about everyone & their grandma appear to adore (based on various forum comments & other site reviews): Coffee People Original Donut Shop K-Cups. Yes, before many competitors started releasing their own imitation versions, Coffee People were one of the 1st companies to release a donut shop coffee in K-Cup format, so they can be considered the pioneers in that sense and it's likely why their website shows "The Original" added to this K-Cup's name (the K-Cups we purchased didn't have this printed on them).

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June 2, 2010

Review: Green Mountain Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We have to admit that when we first heard Green Mountain was introducing donut-flavored coffees in their recent Donut House series of K-Cups, the only thought that sprung to mind was "yeah, right". Could they really capture the taste experience of biting into the flavor's namesake donut? We set off to find out if this truly was the case and opted for their Donut House Blend Chocolate Glazed Donut K-Cups this time around.

As any Green Mountain K-Cup fan will know, they have a reputation for making some pretty spot-on flavorings when it comes to their flavored coffee K-Cups (Island Coconut, anyone?), so our hopes were set high right off the bat. Needless to say, we had nothing to worry about. Upon brewing, rich chocolate aromas filled the room and left us wondering just how the heck the flavor geniuses at GMCR managed to pull it off... the scent was exactly like fresh baked chocolate glazed donuts at our favorite local donut shop and it even had some of our staff fooled as they rushed the Single Serve Coffee kitchens looking for a box.

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May 24, 2010

Review: Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee

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It's been a while since we've reviewed anything in Green Mountain's Café Escapes lineup, so we decided to try one of their newer varieties... Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups. Although we briefly touched on these K-Cups several months ago, we wanted to give a more fleshed-out full review as we're sure some of you were waiting for us to do.

The Café Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups are billed as having "flavors of black tea and exotic spices, smoothed by a splash of milk and sugar", it should also be noted that traditional flavors of cinnamon, cloves & cardamom along with slight notes of honey are also present in this K-Cup. We were curious to see just how creamy this flavor was going to be since we're adding nothing but water here and unlike Tassimo's Twinings variety, there's no separate creamer disc/K-Cup. When comparing the two, they're pretty well even in terms of taste. Some may find that this K-Cup has a slightly stronger sucralose aftertaste than the T-Discs but we found it was about the same either way.

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May 10, 2010

Review: Green Mountain Donut House Decaf K-Cups

Review Single Serve Coffee

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A while back, we announced that Green Mountain had introduced a new Donut House lineup of K-Cups but we never really got around to reviewing any of them. Now that we've finally gotten the chance to do so, we figured we'd start with something not many of us are accustomed to seeing in a decaf K-Cup... an extra bold version. Yep, we're kicking things off with Green Mountain's Donut House Decaf K-Cups and will eventually work our way through the entire lineup in coming months.

Now, we've got to admit, we don't usually grab decaf coffees when heading to donut houses (or as Coffee People would call them, donut shops). As a result, we don't really have much to compare this to other than some other decafs we've tried in the past. We figured the "extra bold" labeling on this K-Cup would mean a stronger flavor and while it does help prevent the coffee from becoming a totally bland mess, it can't be considered a true extra bold since there could have been a lot more room strength-wise for this K-Cup to expand.

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May 7, 2010

Review: Keurig MINI Plus Personal Single Serve Coffee Brewer


Review Single Serve Coffee

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The Keurig Mini Plus Personal single serve coffee brewer has all the features of a larger Keurig brewer packed into a mini form. In 2008 we saw the launch of the Keurig Mini B30 (read our full review here), and we were impressed, but even with a mini brewer there were some features missing.

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One feature missing was the ability to know exactly how much water you were using. There was one other complaint too - the brew temp seemed a bit cooler than we would like with at the brew head temp lower than the 190F range. Well, that's all been fixed with the Keurig Mini Plus Personal brewer, and the brewer look and feel is much improved as well.

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