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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April 7, 2009

Review: Terra Keramik Handcrafted 8oz Coffee Mugs

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

One might say it's hard to review a coffee mug, but after using the Terra Keramik Handcrafted 8oz Coffee Mugs for the past week - we think differently. These are not your average coffee mugs as each is handcrafted in Switzerland by Terra Keramik, handpainted, and rimmed with a platinum glaze. The large mug holds 8 ounces and can be used for coffee or tea.This mug is recommended for coffee, espresso-based milk beverages (such as lattes), hot chocolate, and steeping tea directly in the mug.

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A simply perfect coffee mug. We love the platinum
glaze and bright green color.

What we like is how each mug is characterized by a simple and clean design, and the large mug has beautifully glazed outside and inside surfaces in your choice of eight different colors (ours for the review was bright green). The mugs are also lead-free and cadmium-free glazes for an absolute food-safe finish, as well as dishwasher safe.

You can feel the quality, and workmanship in each mug. The size is just right to grip around the base, or you can pick it up by the ring. We found ourselves feeling like royalty after a week with ours.

At Terra Keramik Handcrafted 8oz Coffee Mugs

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April 3, 2009

Review: Nespresso CitiZ Single Serve Coffee and Espresso Maker

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

Nespresso was kind of enough to send us the new CitiZ brewer ahead of launch to review. The new Nespresso CitiZ Automatic Espresso Maker range takes its inspiration from the streets - literally - of major cities from around the globe. The colors of well-known focal points and objects, the design and shapes of buildings and landmarks, and the urban vibe and attitude of cities led Nespresso designers to create a new generation of Nespresso machines. The design is not only an improvement in looks but in the footprint of the machine as well. Compared to the Nespresso C100T Essenza - the Nespresso CitiZ takes up much less space in width, and has some new features that make it a standout.

This Nespresso CitiZ machines come in the following designs and feature sets:

  • Nespresso CitiZ - a single-head automatic espresso machine
  • Nespresso CitiZ & Milk - a single-head automatic espresso machine with a built-in fresh milk frother for cappuccinos and lattes
  • Nespresso CitiZ & Co. (not available in North America) - the first-ever double-head machine designed for at-home use

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The spent capsule storage is improved and see through.

We tested the Nespresso CitiZ single-head automatic single serve coffee and espresso machine for this review in a stunning red case.

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March 27, 2009

Review: Green Mountain Fair Trade Wild Mountain Blueberry K-Cups

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We decided to give some of our old favorites another try as we wait for newer seasonal varieties to arrive, so our first pick was Green Mountain’s Fair Trade Wild Blueberry K-Cups. A quick look on Green Mountain’s website reveals that the company got its start in 1981 when they opened a small café in Waitsfield, Vermont and roasted their coffee on-site. Some of their first commercial clients were restaurants & inns within the area, but shortly thereafter, skiers from neighboring states started asking the café if they could have its coffee shipped to their homes. This growing demand would eventually give birth to the company’s first mail-order business. As of 1993, the company has been publicly traded on NASDAQ and has quickly established itself as one of the nation’s leading specialty coffee companies not to mention the pioneering force partnering behind the introduction of the Keurig single serve coffee system. Today the company also sells many other coffee & tea brands including Newman’s Own, Caribou and Celestial Seasonings.

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March 4, 2009

Review: Paradise Blend Surf's Up Breakfast Blend Certified Organic Coffee Pods

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod Reviews

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Aloha Island Coffee has something no other coffee pod maker has - Certified Organic Coffee Pods. So if you're looking to make sure there is only natural goodness in your cup of single serve coffee, you're probably going to want to go organic. We've been drinking the Surf's Up Breakfast Blend for the past two weeks each morning, and without cutting to the chase - this is excellent coffee.


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The coffee pod weighs in at 8 grams.

The Paradise Blend Surf's Up Breakfast Blend Certified Organic Coffee Pods come packed in a 18 count box for $17.99. So expect to pay a little more for your cup of single serve coffee, but the results are worth it. That puts each 8 gram coffee pod at about $1.00 a cup, but as we all know - organic products typically cost a bit more. How does the Surf's Up Breakfast Blend hold up?

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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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