March 12, 2010

Review: Caffè Americano capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto

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It had never dawned on us that we reviewed the Nescafé Dolce Gusto system a while back but had completely forgotten to follow-up with reviews of the individual capsules which were available for it. Well readers, rest assured that glaring omission has now been resolved starting with this very review. From its quirky "alien duck thingy" looks to its professional quality 15-bar pressure (which produces incredibly rich, frothy drinks) to its fully manual controls & 100% no-mess cleanup... we love just about everything on this machine and we love the variety of its coffee capsules even more.

We decided to start with the most basic of all capsules, Nescafé's Caffè Americano, which is actually a recent addition to the lineup as it appeared online & in stores only within the past several months. A quick gander at Wikipedia reveals that an Americano is "a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving a similar strength but different flavor from regular drip coffee". We didn't have any of the cool Nescafé color-coded mugs seen on the packaging and certainly wouldn't mind if the kind folks at Nescafé would send a few our way the next time they have an overstock *cough*. So, all shameless begging aside, pardon us for using a plain 12oz glass mug instead. We decided to limit the amount of water to approx. 8 or 10oz as to not dilute the coffee too much.

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March 4, 2010

Review: Milka Hot Chocolate T-Discs for Tassimo

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After our recent battle with a frozen downspout, we didn't quite feel like getting a coffee buzz once back inside the house, so instead, we started craving some good old-fashioned hot chocolate. This got us to thinking, it's been ages since we reviewed any hot chocolate T-Discs for the Tassimo system and there hasn't been anything available to our liking... until the introduction of Milka Hot Chocolate T-discs on several months ago.

More common to the European market than on "this side of the pond", Milka Hot Chocolate is a combination of chocolate syrup T-Discs blended with European milk creamer T-Discs. The goal is to create a creamier version of hot chocolate than what we're used to with the Tassimo system. We've tried to enjoy the only other option, Suchard T-Discs, through their original version to their larger creamer-sized version and back to their recent "European Recipe" version, but they're just too watery for our liking and left a lot to be desired.

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February 26, 2010

Review: Cuisinart SS700 Single Serve Coffee K-Cup Brewing System

Review Single Serve Coffee


The Cuisinart SS700 Single Serve Coffee Brewing System is the first Cuisinart coffee brewer to use K-Cups for making tea, hot chocolate, and of course coffee. The Cuisinart SS700 Single Serve Coffee Brewing System features a very large 80 oz water reservoir, iced and regular coffee brewing settings, along with storage of a My K-Cup resusable coffee filter. It also features a very fresh yet angular Cuisinart industrial design, along with a very easy to read blue LCD display. We've been looking forward to more options in K-Cup brewers, and it's really nice to have a brewer from a major brand like Cuisinart.

Update: The Cuisinart Keurig Single-Cup Brewer SS-700 and SS-780 is available direct at Green Mountain Coffee and is also under the model number SS-780. The SS-780 will come with a selection of K-Cups but the brewer is the same.

If you want to compare exhaustively the features of other Keurig Brewers we suggest reading the following Single Serve Coffee reviews, however we'll do our best to cover all the differences and innovations we find in this review as well.

The SS700 has an 80 oz water reservoir. Yes - we said 80.

There is also a ton of info and reviews in our Reviews, Keurig & K-Cups, Keurig Reviews, and K-Cup reviews categories of entries. That's just the prep - now on with the review.

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February 9, 2010

Review: Nescafé Taster's Choice Single Serve Instant Coffee Packs

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With the recent arrival of some new Nescafé Taster's Choice Single Serve Instant Coffee Packs, it can only mean it's time for another one of our "mega reviews". Apologies in advance to our readers if this article seems rather long, but we're reviewing over 6 different flavors at once, so keep that in mind.

As we had previously noted, we always thought of Taster's Choice coffees as being something along the lines of our parents' bland freeze-dried crystals and the brand itself has been around since forever, but it appears they've taken a new competitive approach towards Starbucks' VIA instant coffees as they claim the samples they sent us were made from 100% pure coffee beans and their marketing is obviously aimed against Starbucks.

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January 29, 2010

Review: MyPressi Twist Portable Single Serve Espresso and Coffee Maker

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Portable and easy to use espresso machines are all the rage, and the MyPressi Twist is the latest in this growing category of single serve coffee and espresso. The folks behind MyPressi Twist lent us one for just over a week to try and use for this review. It's very much like the Handpresso, except it uses N02 cartridges instead of a built in pump. We've been big users of our Handpresso over the past year, and having seen the MyPressi was hoping for an improvement over the Handpresso or perhaps something different that it would offer. What did we find?

The MyPressi is on the left and the Handpresso is on the right.
The MyPressi is much heavier and larger.

What we found compared to the Handpresso is a much more complicated device that essentially does the same job. There are 5x the amount of parts and things to make the same shot of espresso and the Handpresso is much lighter and more environmentally friendly requiring only a little muscle to pump it versus using NO2 cartridges in the MyPressi Twist - but more on that later.

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January 15, 2010

Review: EZ-Cup for Keurig Single-Cup Machines - Make Your Own K-Cups and Use Your Own Coffee

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The EZ-Cup and EZ-Cup Filters allow you to make refillable K-Cups with a filter sleeve that fits inside the EZ-Cup, and then fits into the brewing slot in your Keurig Brewer. Unlike the Perfect Pod Holster which allows you to use coffee pods in your Keurig brewer, the EZ-Cup allows you to use any ground coffee in your Keurig Brewer.

The EZ-Cup filter paper.

Update: Many readers have written in asking if you could use your Perfect Pod Holster with the filters. We have tried this and the spring inside the two different products is well - different. The Perfect Pod Holster has a very strong longer spring and the EZ-Cups is shorter to make room for the filter sleeve. We recommend buying the EZ-Cup and not trying to make the Perfect Pod Holster work. We did not get good results if we used the Perfect Pod Holster - it's for coffee pods not for use with the new EZ-Cup filter sleeve.

It's different from the My K-Cup reuseable K-Cup because you don't have to wash out a filter basket, after you're done filling the EZ-Cup and brewing, you simple open the top and pop out the spent filter basket made of paper. This makes disposing of the coffee grounds really easy, and the entire popped out coffee filter and coffee are able to be composted.

We've had the EZ-Cup now for a few weeks thanks to the folks at As Seen on TV Products sending us one to review, and we have tried a variety of coffee grounds with various success - all of the coffee produced being really quite good. We find the darker finer ground roasts to be our favorites.

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January 8, 2010

Review: Nespresso CitiZ Automatic Espresso Maker and Milk Frother

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Nespresso has continued to expand it's single serve espresso and coffee offerings this year with the CitiZ line, and we're kind enough to send us along a test unit to review here at Single Serve Coffee. CitiZ Nespresso machines are sleek and have modern colors along with exceptional design lines that enhance not only your kitchen, but your coffee morning. We reviewed the CitiZ stand alone machine earlier this year, and we we're impressed. How much does the milk frother add to the equation and footprint?


We think if you're going to be using the Aeroccino a ton for making lattes and cappuccinos, having it integrated with the machine gives you a larger footprint, but the aesthetic is killer. It was hard to let this one go off the test kitchen counter, and the powder coated black frother blends nicely into the landscape of the coffee base.

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December 21, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Winter Blend K-Cups for Keurig

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Van Houtte decided to follow-up their Pink Ribbon K-Cups with another unflavored variety, this time it's their Winter Blend K-Cups which were recently released last month. Billed as a "rich and flavorful blend, with intense woodsy notes and subtle acidity", we decided to give this flavor a try and purchased a box during a recent trip to Tweed & Hickory for the purposes of this review.

Upon brewing, we noticed typical earthy Arabica aromas common with a medium roast & a quick glance at the packaging confirmed this was indeed a medium roast. As noted earlier, this is not a flavored coffee nor is it considered a single origin. Flavor was more on the smoky/hickory side (maybe that's what they meant by "woodsy"?) and we couldn't help but imagine brewing a pot of this stuff over a campfire.

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December 17, 2009

Review: Van Houtte Candy Cane K-Cups for Keurig

Review Single Serve Coffee


Van Houtte is back in the flavored K-Cup market with a rather unique entry for the Holidays... candy cane. Yes, you read that correctly. On a recent trip to a local Tweed & Hickory store, we decided to purchase a box of Van Houtte Candy Cane K-Cups for the purpose of this review (although we have to admit, our curiosity was the main reason of purchase)

Upon brewing, you get a scent of peppermint and oddly enough, hints of chocolate. Flavor is definitely "minty" & even lingers throughout the finish while hints of chocolate are again present in the taste. We won't exactly call this a bold blend, but rather more like a medium roast which was left in the roaster a bit too long. We found the experience rather surprising as the minty sensation made it feel like we had just munched on some candy canes after each sip. Some people might be put off by this, but we found it was a rather cool feature, literally. Bonus points to Van Houtte for making this coffee somewhat "feel" like you're eating actual candy canes.

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December 16, 2009

Review: Nespresso Variations 2009 Ginger, Apricot, and Chesnut Cream Coffee Capsules

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As Nespresso Club members are aware, each year around this time marks the release of 3 flavored espresso varieties known as the Nespresso "Variations" collection. These flavors are available for a limited time only and once Nespresso stops selling them, that's it... they're gone until further notice, sometimes never to be seen again. So we decided to order a bunch this year, and try and review them before they're gone.

This year's flavors are apricot, chestnut cream & gingerbread. The coffee base for each flavor is the Livanto capsule which ranks in at a strength of 6 on the packaging sleeves. We have to admit, we went into this order thinking that we'd only love 1 flavor while hating another & "maybe" liking the 3rd. Little did we know how surprised we'd be by what would emerge as our favorite & least favorite flavors of the bunch.

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