Sunday, August 30, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VIII

The bottom of the box is in sight!


Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews VII
K Cup Sampler Reviews VI
K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I


EKOCUPS Organic Artisan Coffee, Light

Zero aroma, not much flavor, but the texture is pleasingly smooth. I don't know what to do with it. I mean, I can't call it bad coffee. It isn't. I can't call it good coffee. It isn't! I guess for people who want to like coffee, but don't, this might be a good introduction to help them acquire the taste for it? Otherwise, pass.

2.5 stars


Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend

I was in a huge hurry and kind of groggy when I drank this. I also had it from a cheap thermos in the car/at work. So I tasted it in the sense that I found it coffee and unoffensive. Sorry, review fans, I have failed you. When you change your phone alarm, always remember to hit save. I can attest to the fact that the caffeine content for this one is far from spectacular.

3 stars *


Barrie House Columbia Reserve

This is not the brew that is true. I enjoyed their other varieties much more. This one wasn't good flavor for me, even though I had an okay experience with one of their even darker roasts - they rate this one at level 7. It was just middling in all aspects from taste to texture to aroma. I was actually kind of disappointed because I had saved this one to get me through cups that I expected to be less than laudable. For shame.

2 stars


Rio Grande Roasters Premium Dark

Okay, you caught me. I varied my prep method on this one because I was literally afraid of how bad it might be. I added an additional splenda and a hint more 'creamer' before letting it sit on the counter for an hour and reheating it in the microwave. And by god! It was worth it! It stank. REALLY. But after the extra work, it still stank, but it actually tasted rich, warm, dark, and earth, not like gas station coffee at all. So relieved! I would recommend this as an excellent accompaniment to over-spiced, homemade Mexican food. Good to the last drop!

3.5 stars


Victor Allen Coffee, French Vanilla

As someone who prefers flavored coffee, medium roast, in a big way, I decided to end with something I hoped to enjoy, even if from a mediocre brand. Not disappointed. This coffee has a sweet, recognizable flavor without any harsh or chemical notes. The texture is pleasantly smooth and enjoyable. This is the kind of coffee I like to start or finish the day, although I do wish it had a little more kick. It is certainly one of the better, although not the best, French Vanilla from the box.

4 stars


And that concludes my review of the sampler. I will try and motivate myself to create an organizational post later on. So look for that!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VII

And from this point on...coffees I would never have chosen for myself. Worry, worry...


Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews VI
K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I


Brown Gold Brazilian

Smells like burning poop, but tastes pretty much okay for a bolder type of coffee. That first sip will require courage! I want to say it's worth it, but this is really middling dark coffee. Plus it has a heavy residue at the bottom of the mug, which may say quality to some, but just say yuck to me. I am not a fan of this one, although I will admit that for a bolder coffee, the flavor is not gas station-coffee, just deeper, darker regular coffee.

1.5 stars


Crazy Cups Coffee, Jamaican Me Crazy

This is the coffee that smells like happiness, warm beaches, and irresponsibility. Yes, coffee can smell like that. Nice aroma! The flavor is very good, but I've had slightly better coffee by the same name. The caffeine is enough to immediately quash a caffeine withdrawal headache, but not too much. Just right for a late morning or afternoon. Smooth texture. Not overly sweet. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this one, but a cup of it every so often would be nice, not as a treat, but for the uplifting experience of drinking something that conjures the Caribbean.

4 stars


Diedrich Coffee French Roast Blend

I don't know the brand at all, but it was the only one of its kind in the sampler. I don't care for the strong aroma of French roast, or at least not this one, but the taste is okay. I don't hate it, although it is super bitter coffee-yo. This one is just another dark roast to me. I don't think I would ever drink it regularly, but there are plenty of people who probably would.

2.5 stars


Tim Hortons Original Blend

I have never eaten at the restaurant, so I don't think I can speak to the authenticity of the K Cup vs the restaurant's actual coffee, but it is better than I expected, given that I don't care for restaurant coffee in general. The coffee has a very nice color and a mild aroma. The flavor is that of good instant coffee with a hint of nuttiness. The label doesn't say so, but I would call this a light roast. Not at all bitter. Pleasant and enjoyable, but for some, it might be considered weak. I can definitely see how a cup of this would be great accompaniment to breakfast or another meal.

4 stars


Polka Dot Cafe Donut Shop

The K Cup for this one is very pretty, not that it matters much. I have had limited luck with donut shop blends in general. This one's much milder and smoother than the others I have had. Not too much aroma, and what aroma it has is deceptively bitter. I'm not in love with it or anything, but I wouldn't mind having it occasional as something different or as a stand-by coffee for when sweet or flavored varieties would do. An afternoon coffee...maybe.

3.5 stars


Thursday, August 27, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VI

I hate to admit it...but I ordered another sampler. This time with an awesome coupon from the source (SPECIAL20). Worth it! Especially since I picked my own cups and still saved over grocery store prices. Ha-ha!!

Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I


Twin Ridge Roasters French Vanilla

I am accustomed to many things called French vanilla being overly artificial in taste. This one was hardly real tasting, but it didn't have that note of petroleum byproduct to its soft and sweet flavor. It was quite pleasing, although not perfect. Some aroma, for a medium roast, but not enough to fill the kitchen by half. I thought the texture was creamy and smooth - nice. I sip my coffee, but this cup was done before it had even fully cooled. That's unusual for me. Overall, I really liked it, especially for a dessert or instead-of-dessert coffee, although it may not fully satisfy all sweet-tooths. Mine was sated well enough.

4 stars


Martinson Coffee Breakfast Blend

This one is labeled as a light blend and a breakfast blend, which I thought had a certain appeal since I'm not really a dark roast person. The aroma is that harsh, gas station coffee smell, but the taste is more of a warm, medium roast with a hint of bitterness that fades nicely. The texture is smooth and pleasant. I would consider this one a good wake-up alternative for people who don't like flavored coffees early in the day. The quality seems good, plus it's at the stronger end of light coffee. I don't think I'll be drinking it often, because of my preference for flavored or t least sweeter brews.

3.5 stars


Barrie House French Roast

I am still impressed by the sheer weight of their K Cups compared to other brands. They do not skimp on the goods! Their intensity scale seems fairly accurate, weighing this one in at a 9, which is very, very true to its dark intensity. It is my first cup of French roast ever. I never had a good reason to drink anything so robust. The flavor is not what I like in a coffee by any means, but it is interesting for a dark roast newbie in a wham-bam, thank you, officer way. I am not going to drink this ever again, but it did earn my respect. Recommended for the-darker, the-better type coffee drinkers, especially those switching from standard brewer to K Cups.

2.5 stars


Green Mountain Coffee Vermont Country Blend

I was examining the pod more closely as I waited for the Keurig to heat up and was pleased to see this brand also does the whole fair-trade thing too. Nice to know. This blend has very little aroma (and I hate that almost 90% of my reviews say that, but my usual morning choice had so much that it wafted outside the apartment and into the front yard!) So, yes, coffee aroma, important to me. Anyway, the texture is wondrously smooth. The flavor is mild, but pleasing. It would make a good base for experimenting with additives or adding a scoop of ice cream or whip topping or maybe a SToK Caffeinated Black Coffee Shot to amp the caffeine without over-bittering the coffee. No trace of bitterness in the blend, just...mild coffee flavor and creamy texture. Yum.

4 stars


EKOCUPS Vanilla

The aroma whilst brewing smells like walking into a Starbucks and lingering by the stuff-that-you-add counter. Heavenly. Tastes a little like shoe and cardboard. Not pleased! Total fake out. Not a pleasing flavor by any standard I can imagine. Watery, unpleasant, thin. Not vanilla! I don't know what that is, but I know I don't like it. Gah! Gah!

1 star


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews V

I drank one of my regular work coffees this afternoon. I liked it before, but now I would only give it maybe a three out of five. Am I becoming a coffee snob? Maybe...

Here's links to previous editions:

K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I

Next contender please!


Brown Gold, 100% Costa Rican Coffee

The packaging is pretty horrible, so I expected shitty coffee. Fortunately, like books shouldn't be judged by their covers, coffee should not be judged by its pod. This one was actually pretty good if drank as just regular morning Joe. Or maybe even afternoon Joe. Nice texture, slightly bitter, yet good taste. They call it a light roast, but honestly, I'm thinking to me, it's actually closer to a happy medium. Decent aroma. I was a little out of it this morning, so I might need to give it a second go, if I ever get the chance, but overall, I was unexpectedly pleased with this one.

4 stars


Cake Boss Dulce de Leche

I wanted to save this one for the end of one of my longer-than-average days to have as what I hoped would be a special treat. I don't want to say that it wasn't, because it was a very nice cup of flavored coffee. It just wasn't that special in terms of complexity of flavor, sweetness, aroma, or texture. It was just okay, but basically, it was so okay all around that I'm reluctant to complain except to say not-special. Underwhelmed here, all right? I would drink it again, but with less anticipation, like a regular cup of coffee, not a treat. For most people, it's probably an okay dessert coffee or sweet-start weekend coffee.

3.5 stars


Crazy Cups Sumatra Tiger Bold Dark Roast Coffee

With all the flavors that Crazy Cups makes, pretty much stretching the imagination, why did I have to luck out and get this stuff? It smells like gas station coffee and tastes like almost nothing. On the one hand, glad it's not offensive. On the other, bold? Really? Where? The texture is okay. If it's really made for Indonesian coffee, that would be interesting at least, but I can't say either way on that, obviously. Overall, I think it's a good guy-coffee. No frills. Good caffeine level. I drank the whole cup, but would opt out of doing so again.

2 stars


Victor Allen Kona

Kona makes me think of the David Mitchell book Cloud Atlas. Anyway, yeah...if Amazon doesn't. Although, I have to say, this one isn't bad. Definitely a medium roast with a hint of unusual flavor, but nothing overwhelming. Just pleasant. Not very aromatic, although it kind of makes me think of cigars in a way. Good texture, although slightly speckled. I would call it an okay choice for an office coffee or lunchtime cup. I wouldn't necessarily buy it or order it on purpose, but I wouldn't avoid it either.

3 stars


Rio Grande Mesa Sunrise

A coffee that's just like my ex-boyfriend - thin and slightly bitter. I wasn't expecting much from the brand because of how the last one tasted, but this one is just mediocre, not outright bad or anything. I think the name (Mesa Sunrise) refers to having to seriously water down the coffee on the trail in the Old West to make it last longer. Either that or the makers intended for it to be a breakfast coffee. It would work for that in a household of low expectations. Overall, yeah, maybe not terrible, but it doesn't have a single laudable feature either. I did finish it.

2 stars


Monday, August 24, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews IV

What should I do when I reach the bottom of the box and find that I only have dark and/or unflavored coffees left? Do I persevere?? How? Let me know!

Now for our next contestant...


Green Mountain Coffee Mocha Nut Fudge

I haven't had good experiences with Green Mountain so far, but doesn't this one sound just delicious? Well...the flavor isn't as strong as the name lets on. It's actually middling in terms of richness, creaminess, and chocolate flavor. I get the mocha part, though, but barely. And nut? Really? Nice way to stand out from the usual-suspect flavors, but it means nothing here. That said, okay, the coffee is quite drinkable. I might or might not go back for another cup. I would say this one makes an ole standby first morning cup, but not really strong enough for anything else, or sweet enough for dessert. Part of me wishes I had some sort of syrup to put in it to see if maybe it just needs help.

2.5 stars


Eko Cups Organic Artisan Coffee, Guatemalan

Again, I like the company's dedication to fair trade and organic coffees, but that doesn't make a so-so cuppa taste any better. This one is quite so-so, in fact, even for a plain coffee. The flavor is just enough different that I can concede that the beans were grown somewhere interesting, in this case Guatemala, like it says, but I have never been enough of a coffee gourmand to recognize regional flavors on my own. Anyway, not too dark for me, decent texture, some aroma. This coffee is the definition of adequate. I wouldn't necessary recommend it, but if someone wanted an office coffee that might impress people because of the label and have broad appeal because it's so mundane, this would do it.

2.5 stars


Barrie House Jamaican Me Crazy

I expect this must be an upscale coffee brand in part due to its weight and in part due to the taste/aroma. This is that classic good-coffee smell. Plus it goes down like really rich, smooth coffee with just the right amount of...everything. Even though it is ranked with 6 on the intensity scale - so helpful! - this is my happy medium right here. Seriously, not any fancy-pants flavoring, just excellent coffee that leaves craving more, but not at all disappointed. I could drink this every day, I think, although I might want something sweeter for a dessert coffee. Otherwise, it's just crazy good. Oh and the aroma fill the kitchen to the max.

5 stars


Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend

I was aware of this brand prior to now, but I can't think of from where, so it's familiar and yet...not so much. The coffee came out somewhat redder in hue than most coffees I have sampled. Not off-putting, but noticeable. The aroma was a bit scanty, yet nice enough. I was standing closer to the brewer than normal, so I got the full measure of it. The taste reminds me of my less than pleasant experiences with donut shop blends, but milder and less offensive. It's drinkable, but barely. I hate to think that this is the brand's signature coffee...

1.5 stars


Indulgio Cappuccino, Sweet & Salty Caramel

I really don't like this brand due to their HIGH sugar content and a bad experience I had recently with another flavor. That said, I like the instant coffee-style aroma, even though, yeah, it smells sweeter than anything should but a sugar factory. And yes, it taste super-sweet too, although the more complex caramel flavor helps make this less off-putting, although after a while, maybe three-quarters through the cup, it does get a bit cloying. The saltiness is insufficient to counterbalance this. Plus it's the kind of salty the conjures semen, not anything food-like or normally tasty. Too...biologic. I would  only recommend it as a dessert coffee for someone with an impaired sense of taste/trouble detecting sweetness. Otherwise, smell, but don't drink.

1.5 stars



Sunday, August 23, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews III

I decided that breaking these up into groups of five made sense. If I can remember to do so, I'll do an index post at the end.

If anyone cares, this is ENORMOUS fun, even when some of the coffee pods aren't stellar.

K Cup Sampler Reviews I
K Cup Sampler Reviews II



Marley Coffee, Organic Lively Up! Espresso

Okay...my first thought about the brand was: Oh, no, it's not going to taste like ganja, is it? Which is of course, silly. And, yes, I like the music, but we're here to talk coffee. Marley Coffee has a great website... The Lively Up! K Cup required an extra splenda for me, because, hey, espresso is pretty potent, this one more than usual. Unlike most strong brews, this one tastes pretty good, even if I need help with it. Not much aroma, though. It might be psychological, but I'm pretty sure this stuff has a nice (fast!) caffeine kick. Definitely a morning drink. A Monday morning one, at that. Nice texture, real coffee. I would definitely recommend this for my dad who is big on black coffee. ETA: I got the coffee jitters from it. Yowzah!

3.5 stars


Martinson Joe's Coffee, Vanilla Velvet

I am not a fan of the packaging - it looks cheap and dated - but let's talk about the contents instead, shall we? The aroma while brewing was fantastic - the coffee-ness of it all overwhelmed even the smell of curry in the slowcooker. That's aroma! Unfortunately, the coffee itself was mildly gritty with a lot of speckled floaters. I find that a little off-putting. You say vanilla bean; I say bug parts. No, not really, but that's how my mind workers when my coffee sports little spots. The taste was mild, but I could detect hints of vanilla, and not the chemical taste we call French vanilla. Just nice vanilla. It's a good, standard flavored coffee, but not terrifically special.

3 stars


Copper Moon French Vanilla Cappuccino

Another one that's not link-able to a product page on Amazon. It's like voodoo when that happens. Anyway, this one advertises having probiotics and added vitamins and minerals. I am really BIG into that right now, so I've kind of been on pins and needles waiting to try this one. It has a very nice color, but shy on the aroma, which I guess is to be expected with a Cappuccino. I probably shouldn't badmouth French vanilla so much, because this one is yummy! Very sweet, creamy, and hints of caramel and vanilla and maybe, maybe nutmeg or very distant chocolate? It's got some complexity for a faux-coffee beverage. It longs to have cookies dipped in it or to be combined with rich chocolate ice cream. Very much dessert here. Again, yum!

4 stars


Cake Boss - Buddy's Blend

I don't actually know who Buddy is, because I never watched the TV show, but I do know he likes really bitter coffee. How? I just drank it. Basically, it tastes like a cross between a donut shop blend and breakfast blend, although not quite as strong as the former. It's just a basic coffee with a guy carrying a rolling pin on the label. No big woohoo here. Not much aroma either. The texture was okay, basically. If someone wanted to give up flavored coffee and go old-school without too much palate-offense, this might work. Otherwise...just meh.

2 stars


Wolfgang Puck Hawaiian Hazelnut

I am kind of giving Wolfgang the stink-eye on this one. It's gritty/speckled. We've talked about that, right? Not on! Plus zero aroma unless your nose is deep in the mug. The taste is mild, but not unpleasant. Not very hazelnut either. Unless Hawaiian hazelnut is blander on purpose. Then...goal. Not a terrible lunchtime coffee choice - it wouldn't class with food of any kind on account of not having much flavor. Just as a note - these pods tend to weigh a lot less than most others, so it could just be that there's not enough in them to produce a decent sample. If so, for shame on that one too. It's 13g compared to 17g of Crazy Cup or 19.5g of Barrie House. Just for the info.

2.5 stars



Friday, August 21, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews II

I have decided to split these up, since I'll be reviewing 40 different K Cups.

Part I is here for future reference. I accidentally deleted it, but it should be fine now.

For info, my usual morning coffee is Cameron's Chocolate Caramel Brownie, which I love for it's sweetness, aroma, texture, and no plastic aftertaste! I bought the cups locally, but now...sigh...no one seems to be carrying them.


Rio Grande Vanilla Hazelnut

I have several of this brand in the box, which makes me unhappy, because this one just wasn't good. I think they shorted me on actual coffee in the K Cup. It was weak! Very weak! Plus the flavor? I tasted maybe 30% coffee, 70% hazelnut, and 0% vanilla. What gives? Not a complex flavor at all, and we know I'm not a huge fan of hazelnut coffee in general. This confirms my worst impressions of that flavor. Bleh! Smelled better than it tasted. Not much caffeine power in it either, even for a medium roast.

2 stars


Cafe Indulgencia Horchata Cappuccino

This one breaks the holy writ on If you can't find it on Amazon, it must not be real. I couldn't find it for sale there for a link-back. Strange stuff indeed!! Okay, so this is one of those dicey all-in-one coffee drinks that I normally won't trust because I believe it contains added sugar and carbs. I'm taking one for the team here just drinking the thing. Got that? The color was perfect; exactly like I normally take my coffee. Plus it even foamed a little, although I don't want to ponder the chemical soup that caused that effect. Nice aroma, although not very strong. The cinnamon smelled like real, not artificial cinnamon. The taste was advertised as cinnamon and vanilla (and after my earlier cup I felt owed vanilla), and this one tasted more like a caramel-vanilla combo. Not a complaint! It was a very good taste. Complex, sweet, rich. Yummy. I wouldn't be willing to drink a cappuccino everyday, but as an occasional, treat this one would be nice.

4 stars


Wolfgang Puck Breakfast in Bed

I have enjoyed many of his other products over the years, especially the organic soups. Breakfast in Bed sounded like a great coffee to start a very leisurely Saturday morning with. I was let down that it had zero aroma. The taste, sadly, wasn't what I was hoping for either. It's breakfast in bed if you suddenly woke up at your desk at work. Decent texture and not bad coffee, but didn't meet expectations either. I think coffee drinkers who object strongly to flavored coffee, but still like a medium roast would enjoy it well enough. Plus I wouldn't necessarily turn it down at 3PM after a long meeting.

2 stars


Victor Allen Donut Shop Blend

I don't know the brand, but a little research tells me that it's an older brand under a parent company whose coffees I haven't enjoyed so far. Yes, I tasted it before learning that. The aroma was nonexistent, except for when drinking it, then it smelled like burning. The taste is very basic, plain black coffee with whatever additives you choose - for me that's CarbSmart milk and splenda. Maybe I'm thinking the wrong thing when I hear the words donut shop. Maybe they're just known for icky-ass coffee. I've never had coffee from one, so keep that in mind. Anyway, tastes darker than advertised to me. I did, however, drink all of it.

2 stars


Barnie's Coffee Kitchen Santa's White Christmas

Again, an unfamiliar brand, but I have to say that the packaging is quite cute. The aroma filled maybe half the kitchen, which is a big improvement over some of the previous choices. The coffee looked weak in the cup (before the creamer I added), but the taste is a solid medium roast coffee with undefinable hints of flavor. Seriously, it tastes good, but not terrific, and yet it doesn't scream any particular flavor. Maybe white chocolate? Maybe vanilla? I would drink this as an everyday mid-morning coffee or maybe dessert coffee on a day when I felt too guilty to enjoy an uber-flavored cuppa. I wouldn't mind trying additional flavors of this one.

3 stars