December 18, 2008

Review: Mastro Lorenzo Espresso T-Discs for Tassimo

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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Mastro Lorenzo embraces the Italian culture where fine espressos and crema coffees were born and are part of daily life. Unfortunately, a quick search on their French website did not yield any further information regarding the company's history. We've tried a few of their different T-Disc varieties over the past several months and have found that their aroma and flavor always seem superior to their competitors. Such is the case once again with their espresso T-Disc.

From the moment you first start brewing your first cup, you'll notice the intense scent of fine Italian espresso will soon fill the room. Close your eyes and you might think you're sitting at café instead of your kitchen. Give the cup a light swirl and let the nose develop… you'll smell the initial burst of acidic bitterness but you'll also notice slight notes of chocolate hiding underneath. Not surprising, these hints of chocolate are also present in the taste and the acid lends an almost citrus-like quality. Kraft describes this coffee as being 100% pure Arabica, but we can't help but wonder if they mixed-in a few Robusta beans without telling anyone.

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December 4, 2008

Review: Jacobs Latte Macchiato T-Discs for Tassimo

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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A quick Google translation of the official company website will reveal that Jacobs coffee first got its start in 1895 when it was introduced by Johann Jacobs in the town of Bremen, Germany. Johann later opened his first Coffee House in 1907 and created his own roasting facility in its backyard since he knew that each coffee variety, based on the nature & structure of the bean, could impart its own special flavor when roasted. He was also much ahead of his time by offering pre-roasted coffees since until then; it was customary for people to roast green coffee beans at home on a stove top. The Jacobs company suffered many setbacks while weathering both World Wars but managed to pull through. By 1982, they had acquired the Suchard Chocolate company in their portfolio and in 1993, they merged with Kraft General Foods to become the company we know today.

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Jacobs uses a combination of their espresso T-Disc and the European shelf-stable latte milk creamer T-Disc (which is common among most latte varieties overseas) to create their latte macchiato. A "macchiato" made with a Tassimo machine is basically a "reverse-latte" where you insert the creamer disc before the espresso disc. This results in a layering of creamer on the bottom, coffee in the middle and creamer froth on the top. The only way you can truly appreciate this effect is by using a clear mug or double-wall glass. You can also stir the contents together to create a regular latte which has a slightly better taste, but for the purpose of this review, we wanted to prepare the drink "as intended" by the manufacturer.

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November 13, 2008

Review: Timothy's Trans Fat Free Creamy Hot Chocolate, White Hot Chocolate and Chai Latte Pouches

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod ReviewsIMGP3041.jpg

We know some of you may not consider powdered mix pouches to be something fitting of the single-serve coffee market, but as was proven in the past by Keurig with Ghirardelli pouches, the fact that you can get pre-measured cups of hot water instantly from any of their machines allowed them to sell such items amongst their usual K-Cup varieties.

Timothy's also offers their own varieties of powdered mixes and have decided to further improve these offerings by making them 100% trans fat free. In today's health-conscious World, it's nice to see we can now enjoy Timothy's Creamy Hot Chocolate, White Hot Chocolate and Chai Latte without any of the guilt.

As noted above, you can use your Keurig machine to mix the contents of these pouches with hot water, but Timothy's recommends using hot milk (or any similar substitute) for better results. Trust us, go with the milk... more on that in a bit.

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November 7, 2008

Review: Aeroccino Plus Automatic Home Milk Frother from Nespresso

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviewsnespresso.jpg

The Aeroccino Plus is a larger version of the Aeroccino that also allows you to override the heating function if you wish to froth milk without heating. The cost for the Aeroccino Plus is $129 versus $99 on the smaller Aeroccino (read our review of the earlier Aeroccino here). The reason any single serve coffee drinker would want to get an Aeroccino is the need for frothed milk for those latte and capuccino drinks you might want to make at home to save a few dollars. We used the Aeroccino Plus in this review with the new Essenza Touch and our Nespresso Essenza C100T.

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The Aeroccino won't make the same frothed milk as a high end espresso machine, but it will make a very thick-rich frothed cup of hot or cold milk. The Aeroccino Plus is also larger than the earlier version, and this allows you to make enough milk for 2+ drinks depending on what your making.

How does it work? To produce warm frothed milk, heating the milk to temperatures between 140-149°F/60-65°C, quickly press the button once. To override the heating function, press the button for two full seconds.

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October 30, 2008

Review: Timothy's Perfectly Pumpkin K-Cups for Keurig

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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S.H. continues his quest to find the perfect K Cup. Will he enjoy the pumpkin spice K Cups from Timothy's World Coffee?

With the opening of their first store in 1975, Timothy's World Coffee set out to become one of Canada's premier coffee houses. The company operates over 100 coffee/bakery restaurants across Canada under 3 distinct brands: Timothy's World Coffee, Mmmarvellous Mmmuffins & Michel's Baguette. In addition, the company operates a 35000 sq. ft. coffee roasting facility in the Toronto region and a bakery commissary; these guarantee the superior quality and freshness of all the coffee and bakery products served both in their retail stores and by co-branded partners.

Timothy's source pure origin coffee from countries around the world that grow specialty grade Arabica beans and only the top 5% of any harvest will meet their strict standards for quality. Over the years, the company has developed over 35 blends, various flavored coffees, teas and decaffeinated coffees. To ensure freshness, all coffee beans are brewed or sold in their retail locations within 20 days of roasting. They also service & supply offices, hotels, theatres and hospitals.

With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to review Timothy's Perfectly Pumpkin limited-edition K-Cups. These K-Cups will only be available during the Fall season, so now's the time to grab some if you want to try them out. When brewing, familiar scents of pumpkin pie start to emerge… all-spice, nutmeg & hints of pumpkin are all present. The body is medium with a usual brown/amber color.

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October 17, 2008

Review: Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto Single Serve Coffee Maker

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There's a new single serve coffee coffee and hot beverage system in town - the Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto. This amazing machine not only makes a perfect cup of single serve coffee, it can also make lattes, cappuccinos, shots of espresso, chococinos (hot chocolate), and even iced cappuccinos. And not only does it make an amazing range of drinks, this is one of the first single serve coffee makers to have a "round water reservoir", and to also look truly different than any other single serve coffee maker we've seen. The unique styling puts it on a path of it's own, and it's no wonder the design is so different.

Nescafe has teamed up with Krups and Nespresso to make this machine. You can see touches of Nespresso innovation, along with truly wonderful design choices from Krups. We also had the opportunity to test both the European and the recently launched US Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto that is now in stores in the US. The differences in the two machines show a revolution in thought on how to make the Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto a nearly perfect single serve coffee maker, from an already successful machine designed for Europe.

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October 15, 2008

Review: Van Houtte Apple Crumble K-Cups for Keurig

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod ReviewsIMGP2906.jpg

Our K Cup correspondent S.H. of the wild white north has managed to get his hands on Van Houtte's Apple Crumble K Cups. Does he enjoy them? Do they have the taste of apple with all the crumble?

Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Van Houtte have been pioneers in European-style coffee since 1919. Today, they're involved in almost every aspect of the coffee industry. They select and buy their own beans, roast and package their coffees, manufacture state-of-the-art single cup vending machines and market a wide range of unique products to retail, office, café and online customers. They even operate the largest coffee services network in North America serving more than 71000 workplaces in most major cities.

When brewing these Apple Crumble K-Cups, you're greeted with the warm aroma of cinnamon & apples plus very subtle undertones of dark chocolate. The body is medium, with a somewhat dark color usually seen in most flavored coffees but if held in front of a light source, hints of crimson red shine through. At first I thought this was the natural color but later learned some K-Cup manufacturers color their coffees to match the flavors (something I hadn't been used to with Tassimo T-Discs).

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September 25, 2008

Review: Nespresso Essenza Touch Single Serve Coffee and Espresso Maker

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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We've been using the Nespresso Essenza Touch in black and grey for over two weeks now, and find the texture and finish of this Nespresso to be very special. The Nespresso Essenza Touch is basically a Nespresso C100T (you can read our review of the C100T here), but it has a super smooth coating. This may be the first single serve coffee maker we've every used, where sliding your hand over it seems the thing to do each morning we make a cup of single serve coffee.

So, the big difference really is the coating. The Nespresso Touch features are the same as the C100T (which is an updated C90 - you can read our review of the C90 here).

Overall features are:

  • High-pressure pump (19 bars)
  • Thermoblock heating element
  • Programmable and automatic control of the amount of coffee in the cup
  • Functional handle allows for easy coffee preparation
  • Automatic ejection of used capsules on lifting the handle
  • Collection container for used capsules
  • Removable water tank (1L capacity)
  • Special Smooth Coating - feels like an iPod case or silicone

It's also good to note you can only use Nespresso coffee capsules with the Nespresso C100T Essenza. This is by design, and you'll also need to sign up for the Nespresso club to do you ordering or stop by a Nespresso boutique to get some new ones.

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September 8, 2008

Review: Bosch Tassimo Suprema Single Serve Coffee Brewer and Hot Beverage System

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod ReviewsPicture_tassimobosch_new_review.jpg

The Tassimo Hot beverage system has been out in the US for the past two years, and when it launched was made by Braun. Last year Tassimo decided they needed to update the system, and went with a new partner - Bosch. Even though we really liked the older Braun model, we're glad Bosch got the job. The new Bosch Tassimo is completely redesigned, and the design changes are far reaching. Gone is the annoying loud brewing, the spill back of water after brewing a cup, and the unit heats and brews much faster.

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The Bosch Tassimo Suprema Hot Beverage system.

Two models of the TASSIMO hot beverage system by Bosch are now available in the U.S. For this review, we tested the TAS4511UC model with an MSRP of $139.99. The TAS4511UC Bosch Tassimo is now available in select specialty and department stores as well as online. There is also a $99.99 Bosch Tassimo that will be available in select grocery and mass merchandise stores. The main difference in the two models is the water reservoir filtration, and aesthetics.

Update: Tassimo is now calling this system a "brewbot". What's a brew bot? The Brewbot (BROO·bot) is an advanced brewing machine programmed to make over seven different varieties of beverages. Brewbots can create coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, hot chocolates and coffee cremas all at the touch of a button. a.k.a. Roboticus Brewtus. The machines are the same as earlier Tassimo Bosch models above but being marketed as brewbots.

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August 4, 2008

Review: Podster - Make Your Own K Cups with Coffee Pods

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The device is a rivet sleeve, rubber band, and
rivet to puncture the coffee pod.

It's been a long time in coming, but we finally got to spend the last week with a home made device called the "Podster". The Single Serve Coffee Forums have been abuzz with activity over the past year with tales of the Podster, and how it allows you to use coffee pods in your Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, Keurig B70 Brewer, Breville BKC600XL Gourmet Single Cup Brewer, and other Keurig K Cup brewers that use the My K- Cup reusable filter.

The Podster is design is very simple, and unlike the Perfect Pod Holster, the Podster requires the the My K- Cup reusable filter. There's also a fair amount of rigging to get everything set in place, but if you do the Podster works great.

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