July 31, 2009

Review: Kienna Sun Cafe Coffee Pod Brewer

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The Sun Cafe single cup pod brewer makes coffee one cup at a time, and its patented pod drawer works with a wide variety of pods, allowing you to choose your favorite coffee or tea. Innovative extraction system brings out the full range of the coffee or tea for a perfectly balanced cup, and the brewer comes with a variety pack of Kienna Coffee pods.

We've said before in other articles on the Sun Cafe coffee pod brewer that the look and design is the same as the Simplehuman coffee pod brewer - well they do look the same, the coffee extraction and updates make this a totally new brewer that makes an excellent cup of coffee.

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It's very shiny and very stainless all at the same time.
We love the blue light on the oz indicator.
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July 28, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Pecan Praline K-Cups for Keurig

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Visit any Canadian grocery store and you're bound to see a huge Van Houtte display full of various flavored coffees where you can select the whole beans and grind them yourself right there in the store. They even have flavors which have yet to appear in K-Cup format and our past experience has shown that their flavored coffees usually have a decent, strong flavoring to them. We were hoping this would follow through to their K-Cups (their Apple Crumble K-Cup was rather good) but such was not to be the case.

We chose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors on our Keurig B70 and were wondering if perhaps we had forgotten to hit the brew button. Hmm... nope, the coffee's dispensing. Maybe we put in one of their unflavored K-Cups by mistake? Nope... so what the heck was going on here? We tried again with another K-Cup and soon realized that there was barely any scent coming from this flavored variety. Weird indeed. Using the "wine swirl" technique, we tried to uncover any hidden scents in the bottom of the glass but all we could detect was a very faint hint of pecans.

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July 21, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Sumatra Mandheling K-Cups for Keurig

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Van Houtte have started amassing a small collection of single-origin K-Cups over the past few years and have blended beans from these origin locations around the World with their own quality Arabica beans. This time, we decided to try a taste of Indonesia by sampling the Van Houtte Sumatra Mandheling K-Cups.

Upon brewing, you get the rich, earthy scent typical of a dark roast but closer inspection reveals ever the slightest hint of dark chocolate. Tasting was rather unique as there was some acidity present but it wasn't as strong as some other bold varieties we've tried in the past. This was almost bordering the beginnings of an espresso but without the harsh bitterness. Slightly tangy notes at times helped liven things up. You could tell this wasn't your average run of the mill dark roast.

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June 24, 2009

Review: Fair Trade The Perfect Peach K-Cups for Keurig

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There's something truly amazing about a coffee that has a peachy flavor, and a warm coffee finish. Sure we were skeptical at first when we thought about drinking the Fair Trade The Perfect Peach K-Cups coffee from Green Mountain, but after our second and third cup the skepticism turned into delight. This is a very interesting, and complex flavored coffee, and refreshing in both hot and iced coffee formats.

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May 8, 2009

Review: Keurig Water Filter Kit - Filter Water for Keurig Single-Cup K-Cup Brewers

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Following up on our earlier article - Better Water = Better Single Serve Coffee, we wanted to let Keurig owners in on how they can make their water better. Did you know you can add a charcoal water filter to just about any Keurig single serve coffee maker K-Cup brewing system? We didn't until last month, when we saw you could order a filter pack and filter holder for any Keurig home model made after August 2007.

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We installed the water filter in our Keurig Platinum B70 in less than 2 minutes.

So how does it work? Well - for us it works great. We have town water that always has a tinge of treated taste to it, and after using the charcoal filter the coffee taste is much better. Now you combine this filter with filtered water - and bam - it's a double treat. The coffee is even crisper with more flavor. Whatever your situation is, it's probably a good idea to run a filter in your Keurig to reduce build up and the need to de-scale.

The kit comes with 1 water filter adapter and 2 filter cartridges, and is compatible with Keurig Single-Cup Brewers purchased after August 2007. Each filter lasts approx. 2 months, so you're going to need to eventually get Keurig Water Filter Cartridge Refills. Note that filter lifespan will vary depending on the hardness of your water, and we found ours lasted about 3 months instead of the two.

At Keurig Water Filter Starter Kit and Keurig Water Filter Cartridge Refills

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May 4, 2009

Review: Green Mountain Fair Trade Golden French Toast K-Cups for Keurig

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This past Winter yielded the seasonal Fair Trade Golden French Toast K-Cup from Green Mountain and after several hectic weeks around the single serve coffee office, we finally got a chance to give this flavor a try. Green Mountain describes this K-Cup as having the flavors of “warm, buttered French Toast drizzled with sweet maple syrup”. After reading that, we couldn’t wait any longer to do a review.

We chose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors and were greeted with the pleasant scents of maple with an added hint of cinnamon lying underneath. First impressions when tasting this coffee are surprisingly enough quite the opposite of its scent… you taste the cinnamon first, then you taste the maple afterwards. The flavoring is right up there with the real thing and we’re sure this K-Cup would be great paired with it.

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April 21, 2009

Review: Starbucks VIA Ready Brew 10-oz. Tumbler

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Starbucks has entered the instant single serve coffee market with their Starbucks VIA Ready Brew 10-oz. Tumbler, and accompanying single serve coffee packets. In order to review this travel mug and instant coffee, we decided to test it out in the wild for a few mornings on our ride into the Single Serve Coffee headquarters. The Ready Brew packets fit inside the mug, and you'll need access to hot water when using this travel mug.

We didn't have any issues when prepping, as we have a hot water dispenser in our kitchen, but we expect some people to need to use this at work where your water cooler has instant hot or the like. Mixing the Ready Brew Italian Roast is pretty simple, but make sure you put the packet of coffee in prior to putting in the hot water. One of the things we do like about the tumbler design is the ability to store packets in the bottom, but as we will later disclose - this makes the bottom of the tumbler too large for most drink holders in your car.

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April 17, 2009

Review: Timothy’s Sugar Bush Maple K-Cups

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With the introduction of Spring comes a tradition in the North-Eastern corners of the country known as visits to local maple sugar camps where one can enjoy all sorts of treats. We’ve seen everything from maple peanut brittle to maple caramel popcorn, but until recently we had yet to see any maple flavored coffees. Thankfully, Timothy’s noticed this as well and have been introducing their Sugar Bush Maple K-Cups each year as a result. We love anything maple around the Single Serve Coffee test kitchen and couldn’t wait to give this coffee a try since the maple scent was permeating through the unopened box.

We chose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors and were pleased to see the maple aroma fill the room (fond memories of the maple camp came flooding back). We were expecting a very sweet maple taste and were surprised by the initial bite of the acidity then somewhat disappointed to find that the maple flavoring was not as strong as we had hoped. We tore into another box only to find the same thing. Always willing to try anything with our coffees, we found a quick fix to this dilemma by adding a half-ounce shot of pure maple syrup to the bottom of the glass before brewing our next cup and were immediately pleased with the results.

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April 16, 2009

Review: Terra Keramik Handcrafted Cappuccino Cups

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These cappuccino cups are for the serious coffee lover who values a cup that combines functional design, handcrafted quality and a certain "fun" factor. We know how fun they can be - bright, interesting, and amazing to look at each morning, and always keeping our cappuccino warm until the last sip. Baristas consider their cappuccino cups to have the right size, shape and thickness to create a perfect cappuccino and retain the heat of the espresso and steamed milk, and from our experience - they're right.

Each cup holds a 5-ounce cappuccino which as you can see below is perfect for a lungo cappuccino from any Nespresso single serve coffee maker. As we stated with the coffee mug we reviewed earlier, we love the accented platinum band, and each cup is hand-signed by the artist.

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These cappuccino cups go great
with any Nespresso single serve coffee maker.

Note: These cups are not suitable for a microwave (pre-heat the cups either on top of your espresso machine or by filling with hot water).

At Terra Keramik Handcrafted Cappuccino Cups

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April 10, 2009

Review: Southern Pecan K-Cups from Green Mountain Coffee

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With the sheer multitude of K-Cup varieties on the market today, it’s almost impossible for us to review every single one (despite our best efforts), so we decided to follow-up our recent GMCR Wild Mountain Blueberry review with another one of Green Mountain’s classic flavored K-Cups... Southern Pecan.

We chose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors and it didn’t take long for the room to fill up with a strong scent of sweet buttered praline pecans. We could almost taste the real thing just by inhaling the scent, amazing. This was by far one of the best scented coffees we’d tried in a while and it had us wishing that Glade would make this scent as one of their scented candles or plug-ins. Hmm… maybe that’s a market GMCR could explore?

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