February 23, 2009

Review: Nabob Breakfast Blend 12oz T-Discs for Tassimo

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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Nabob's latest Tassimo option is their new 12oz Breakfast Blend T-Discs which, according to the packaging, contains more than 30% Rainforest Alliance Certified content... something the company has been trying to achieve with all its discs recently, so hats off to them in that aspect. Any 16oz travel mug or coffee cup/glass should be enough to hold all 12 ounces (we chose a Bodum 16oz Pavina series double-wall glass) and needless to say, we were happy that the Bosch Tassimo didn't leak a small pond of water on the cup stand during the brew cycle (Braun users, we feel your pangs of annoyance as you'll surely be reaching for the paper towels).

Unlike the small variety of "morning blend" 12oz T-discs available on the American market, Canada had yet to see any 12oz discs until now and since Nabob is quickly becoming a top choice amongst coffee drinkers North of the border, we suppose it was only fitting that Nabob be the brand which was chosen to introduce this new size format (although we keep hoping to see a Dunkin Donuts or Tim Hortons disc on the horizon).

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February 4, 2009

Review: Kenco Medium Roast T-Discs for Tassimo

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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A quick view of the company's website reveals that Kenco was originally known as the Kenya Coffee Company which got its start in 1921 when they setup a shop in Mayfair (a district in the West end of London). They started selling roast & ground coffee locally from the shop although most of their sales were via mail orders through advertisements in magazines such as Tatler, Country Life and The Times. They would later be bought after the Second World War and diversified into several coffee shops across the UK by Gardiner Merchant, a food merchant company next door to the original shop. The name of the company was later changed to Kenco in 1962 when they stopped acquiring most of their beans from Kenya. The company would go on to change hands many times throughout the coming decades having such owners as Cadbury, Premier Foods and General Mills.

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Before we start, it should be noted that this variety of T-Disc comes in 2 different types of packaging. Some of the older Braun-style packages still have "Classic Blend" listed as the flavor while newer versions (as well as the current Bosch-style packages) now list "Medium Roast". This had always been a bit confusing since the older packages still listed "Medium Roast" on the foil of each disc and left us wondering if we were getting 2 different kinds of coffees. Well, you can rest assured you're getting the SAME coffee out of either package (despite Kraft still listing "Classic Blend" on their Tassimo site).

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January 23, 2009

Review: Cafe Invento Single Serve Coffee Pod Brewer

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The Cafe Invento is now available in Canada, and the US. You can make one or two delicious cups of coffee with a crema like layer, and the machine does this by using a Multiple podholders, for one or two coffee- or teapods. It has a large removable watertank, for approx. 10 cups of coffee. We are really taken back by the striking design, and found this coffee pod brewer to be unlike any other we've tested.

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From the side - the reservoir is very COOL blue.

The Café Invento Single Serve Coffee Pod Maker also features the Tasteselector, allowing you to select your personal coffee taste - be it light, medium, or darker cups of coffee. Best of all - it has an auto-shut off that powers the machine down after approx. 2 hours. Very green.

The really interesting thing about this new unique coffee pod maker - it features a unique material to make cleaning it up a breeze called Protact. Protact has a synthetic layer which is easy to clean and leaves no fingerprints. Developed by Corus, the synthetic layers have a smooth and silky finish. Inventum is the first in the world to use this material in a product or single serve coffee maker.

What do we think of the Cafe Invento? Is it the best single serve coffee pod brewer we've ever used? How does it compare to the Senseo?

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January 21, 2009

Review: Emeril's Organic French Quarter Roast K-Cups

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Distributed by Timothy's World Coffees, Emeril's Organic French Quarter Roast is one of the company's latest offerings in the K-Cup market. As noted in a recent review, Emeril is known mostly for his cooking shows on the Food Network and various food products available at most grocery stores. The coffee scene is a relatively new one for him, but he's quickly gaining recognition amongst Keurig users across the nation.

As usual, we decided to choose the 5.25oz brew size to extract the full flavors of this dark roast using our Keurig brewer. The scent reveals hints of hickory and chocolate while its appearance (when held up to a light source) reveals a surprisingly clear, crimson red tint. This is almost ironic as the French Vanilla BAM! K-Cups we reviewed earlier were a medium roast yet had a much darker color. Maybe this color difference has something to do with this coffee's organic nature? Speaking of which, sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between organic and non-organic products… certain organic baked goods yield obvious differences in taste while organic fruits & vegetable often times taste identical to their non-organic brethren.

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January 7, 2009

Review: Emeril's Vanilla Bean BAM! K-Cups for Keurig

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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Distributed by Timothy's World Coffees, Emeril's Vanilla Bean BAM! is one of 2 new Emeril's K-Cup flavors recently introduced to the single serve coffee market (we'll be reviewing Emeril's Organic French Quarter Roast in the coming weeks). Known mostly for his cooking shows on the Food Network and various food products available at most grocery stores, the coffee scene is a relatively new one for Emeril and his goal was to introduce a coffee which stood out among the rest as having a richer, heartier taste & character. This new vanilla flavor marks the first time he's gone with a medium roast vs. his usually darker varieties.

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We chose the 5.25oz brew size on our Keurig one cup coffee maker to extract the full flavors, and were greeted with a strong French vanilla scent which seemed stronger than any other vanilla K-Cup we'd tried before. As a result, we were expecting a stronger vanilla flavor from this smaller brew size but were surprised at how subdued & mild it was. The sweet taste of vanilla was present but was struggling to balance the sour nature of the acidity. We thought there would have been more "BAM!" (so to speak) in the flavoring overall and it left us wanting to throw in a few dashes of vanilla extract. We understand some people will likely prefer less flavorings in their coffee, but when a product is marketed as "having enough BAM! for Emeril himself", the final result is rather disappointing.

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January 5, 2009

Review: Keurig Milk Frother for Single Serve and One Cup Coffee Makers

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Up until recently the only other automatic milk frothers were from Nespresso - the Aeroccino and Aeroccino Plus. We love our Aeroccino, but we're also ready to have some more alternatives to milk frothing companions for our single serve coffee. The Keurig Milk Frother is another stand alone frother that you can use with any single serve coffee system, but will make an amazing companion for your Keurig Mini B30, Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, Keurig B70 Brewer, Breville BKC600XL Gourmet Single Cup Brewer, and any other Keurig brewer.

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We've been using the Keurig Milk Frother over the past two weeks, and have to say it's easy to use, clean up, and makes great frothed milk. You'll need only one essential ingredient - great skim milk for frothing. If you want to use other milk fat levels - you won't get great froth, but you will get whipped hot milk. There are two levels as well 150 ml for froth using skim milk, and 250 ml for hot milk. Both of these measure levels are marked inside the frother.

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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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