I used to prefer unflavored medium- and dark-roasted coffees, but now my preferences skew lighter overall. I'll make the occasional exception for a fantastic or intriguing coffee that falls outside my evolving comfort zone. I have little interest in decaf k-cups (sorry!) because I'm practically immune to caffeine, but I'll try them if they're available. I started off in the pod world and still prefer pods overall, to be honest. That will probably be reflected in lower overall ratings for k-cups relative to my pod ratings (see the link in my signature). However, now that I've sampled widely I've found quite a few k-cups that I really enjoy, and I hope to find more. Questions and suggestions are welcome!
All of my reviews are based on an 8-oz. cup brewed using my B40 (formerly old-school/one-button, and now the current model) unless otherwise indicated. In the past (but no longer) I would "steep" most k-cups (typically for 5 seconds or so) by lifting the handle slightly once the first drop of coffee had come out and then lowering it for the brew cycle to resume. After brewing, I always evaluate a coffee black before adding a squirt of half and half toward the end.
This may evolve further, but for the foreseeable future I'll limit myself to five tiers. Within a tier there's no explicit ranking. I'll stick to alphabetical order.
*FAVORITES* IN VARIOUS CATEGORIES (at the moment):
Dark: Tully's French Roast
Medium-dark: Gloria Jean's Black Gold
Medium: Coffee People Tree Hugger
Light: Van Houtte Costa Rica Tarrazu
Wow! (Not to be missed!)
Coffee People Tree Hugger - A great medium roast. Berry-toned aroma. Cocoa notes. Tiny bit thin black, but not enough to detract from the cup overall. Shines with cream. Thanks to Coffee People/the K-cup Exchange for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Black Gold - Loved it! Must get more.
Tully's French Roast - A winner. Good balance. Aromatic. Very flavorful.
Van Houtte Kenya Kilimandjaro Extra Bold - A top-shelf k-cup. Berry, floral notes. Rich flavor without any smoke or char.
Van Houtte Napoletano - Hell yes! Must get some more of this. Nice sweet aroma. Dark and smooth. Yum!
Ahh (Satisfaction guaranteed)
Caribou Obsidian - Scale confirms what taste buds suggest: At 15 grams pre-brew, probably an extra bold. Wet aroma robust with bittersweet chocolate notes. Comes across very dark but without smoke or char. Smooth. Thick-bodied. Toasty grass/grain in the background. Berry notes pop as it cools. Takes cream really well.
Coffee People Organic Extra Bold - Seriously, this coffee rocked. Nothing fancy, but an instant favorite. Smooth and robust.
Diedrich French Roast - Was hard to choose between this and the Tully's, which only won out once cream had been added. Almost a "Wow."
Green Mountain Dark Magic Extra Bold - Very rich. Good flavor. In the rotation. Extra bonus points for being available at the supermarket.
Green Mountain Sumatran Reserve Extra Bold - Great once it's cooled a bit. Very tasty but not quite strong enough. This has grown on me. One of my favorites.
Timothy's Mexican Organic - Fleeting spice (cinnamon?) with decent body. Not getting any smoke despite the advertising. A good medium roast. Drank it down faster than usual.
Tully's Madison Blend - Aromatic. Nicely balanced. Very good.
Tully's Sumatra - Great! Had some of that fabled syrupy body.
Van Houtte Costa Rica Tarrazu - Nice light roast with refined acidity. Great aroma while brewing. Enjoyed this black. Seemed too delicate for cream.
Van Houtte Eclipse - Almost put this in the "Wow" tier, but it's fallen a notch lately. Was the first k-cup I ever tried, and for a long time no other k-cup could compare. Wonderful. Strong.
Van Houtte Pink Ribbon - Sweet aroma reminiscent of caramelized sugar. Smooth, almost syrupy full-bodied cup. Lightly woody. Enjoyed this black. Thanks to starryeyes for the free sample.
Solid (You could buy a box and probably not regret it)
Bellaccino Hot Cocoa - Tiny bit watery but still good. Rich enough. Hardly any powder remained in the k-cup after brewing. Thanks to Bren for the free sample.
Caribou Caribou Blend - Lighter roast but good flavor. Reminds me of some of my favorite Latin American single-origin pods.
Caribou Colombia - Great aroma. A dependable cup. Easy going down.
Caribou Daybreak Morning Blend - Even lighter than the Caribou Blend but still tasty. No drama here. Smooth. Gentle finish.
Caribou Sumatra - Woody aroma. Good and robust. Tobacco notes. A keeper. Might still prefer the GM Sumatra though.
Celestial Seasonings Perfect Iced Tea Half and Half (black tea & lemonade) - Brewed at the 10-oz. setting over 6 ice cubes, a not-too-sweet, spot-on lemony iced tea. Refreshing. Leans toward the weak side but not overly so. Somewhat cloudy. Thanks to T for the free sample.
Coffee People Santa's Buzz - More body than expected. Unflavored, which was a pleasant surprise. Similar flavor profile to Van Houtte's Midnight Express (though not quite as dark).
Coffee People Wake-up Call - Preferred this over the Black Tiger and Jet Fuel. Roasted just right. Nice aroma.
Diedrich Morning Edition - Decent first cup of the day! Good body and mouth feel. No rough edges. Little sweet. Surprising orange blossom notes with cream.
Emeril's Big Easy Bold - Very good. Straightforward and dark. Not subtle but flavorful.
Emeril's Organic French Quarter - A very good cup. I'm not sure whether I agree with ssc's 98 rating, but this one should definitely be kept on hand.
Emeril's Vanilla Bean Bam! - Just a dash of vanilla (more smelled than tasted). Noticeable acidity but smooth enough to drink black and robust enough to add cream to.
Folgers Vanilla Biscotti - Subtle, "dark" vanilla aroma. Drinkable black (just don't inhale too deeply). Acidity ramps up a little bit as it cools. Biscotti/pastry notes pop with cream. A low "Solid." Thanks to T for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee - Like a liquid Werther's Original candy. Delicious. Very light roast. I'll take GJ's word for it that there's coffee in here behind the caramel. Very drinkable. Thanks to Bren for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Classic Reserve - Wow. A pleasingly strong bittersweet chocolate aroma during brewing and afterward.
Gloria Jean's Hot Chocolate - A bit richer than the Bellaccino. Better with milk added. Hint of mint? Thanks to Nate for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Mudslide - Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. No artificial taste. A bit on the weak side, but good. Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Green Mountain Breakfast Blend - Inviting aroma. Sweet, mellow cup without seeming overly dull. Better than the Timothy's Breakfast Blend. Cocoa notes with cream.
Green Mountain Cafe Escapes Dark Chocolate - Thick! Not watery. The best hot chocolate k-cup in my opinion. Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Green Mountain Colombian Fair Trade Select - Very tasty for a medium roast. Was surprised to like this. Really nice caramel aroma.
Green Mountain Double Black Diamond - Very smooth. Uber-dark. No nuance here but pleasant and easy to drink.
Green Mountain Fair Trade Autumn Harvest - Smooth, well-balanced blend. Medium-bodied (borderline too lean). Bit of smoky wood. Sweet, somewhat astringent finish. Wet aroma reminds me of s'mores. Use cream sparingly.
Green Mountain French Roast Travel Mug - Nothing extraordinary but certainly bold enough at 8 oz. Robust and smooth. Easily beats the non-travel version of this k-cup. Thanks to Cheezr for the free sample.
Green Mountain Half-Caff - Nice wet aroma. Tastewise, brightness reminds me a little of GM's Breakfast Blend. Hard to tell this is even partially decaf.
Green Mountain Holiday Blend Fair Trade - Quietly makes an impression. Nice lingering finish. Chocolate nose. Rich, round mouth feel. Medium Roast. Preferred this with cream.
Green Mountain Kenyan AA - The Van Houtte wins this battle, but I'm not complaining. Nice. More winey than I expected.
Green Mountain Lake & Lodge - Liked this. Pleasantly scorched without tasting harsh.
Green Mountain Mocha Nut Fudge - Smelled like a Tootsie Roll while brewing. Nice balance between coffee and flavoring. Nuttiness seems more like hazelnut than the "walnut" in GM's description. Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Green Mountain National Wildlife Blend - A simple, tasty medium roast. Very smooth. Hint of chocolate.
Green Mountain Nantucket Blend "Brew Over Ice" - Noticeably more robust than the original version. Sweet, almost woody aroma with floral notes. Smooth, full-bodied medium roast. Somewhat bright, complex finish. Chocolate emerging late. Silky and still flavorful with cream. Works as an iced coffee, though I prefer it black at 8 oz.
Green Mountain Naturals Hot Apple Cider - Smells and tastes great! Just sweet enough but still plenty tart (in a good way). Not picking up any Stevia bitterness, though you can tell there's artificial sweetener in the finish if you strain.
Green Mountain Our Blend - A very drinkable diner-style coffee. Better than the CP Donut Shop, which is comparable. The wife's current favorite k-cup.
Green Mountain PBS Blend - Not much to the aroma. Good body though. Smooth. A little nuttiness.
Green Mountain Spring Revival - Crisp. Sweet. Aroma can be overpowered by cream, so go easy. A well-balanced, refreshing blend. Thanks to Bren for the free sample.
Green Mountain Summer Safari Blend Extra Bold - Sweet. Refreshing. Fine black or with a little cream. Medium roast with decent body and good flavor. Touch of brightness as it cools. A nice blend. Thanks to Joe at Shoffee for the free sample.
Green Mountain 10% Kona Blend - Sweet and floral but not syrupy. Raisin? Cream mutes the aroma.
Green Mountain Vermont Country Blend - Second try: Smooth, nice touch of acidity, and enjoyable flavor; First try: Fine but thin in the mouth. Was my wife's go-to k-cup for a while though before she got hooked on WP's Fair Trade Columbian pods.
Newman's Own Special Blend - Somewhat bold. Preferred it with cream. Smooth, especially as it cools. Not standout flavor, but tasty enough. Thanks to starryeyes for the free sample.
Starbucks French Roast - Strong, toasty, and smoother than expected despite a bit of an ashy finish. Nice caramel notes with cream added, which is how I prefer this one. Thanks to SW for the free samples.
Timothy's Canarino - Nice hot lemon drink. Not bitter or sour. Much better with honey. Makes me nostalgic for winter. Thanks to Theresa for the free sample.
Timothy's Cinnamon Pastry - Smelled fantastic while brewing and didn't disappoint in the cup. A reliable flavored option.
Timothy's Colombian La Vereda - Really nice. Wish it were a little darker. Chocolate aroma enhanced once cream is added.
Timothy's French Roast - Delicious. A great French Roast.
Timothy's German Chocolate Cake - Actually good to drink black! Baker's chocolate and subtle coconut. Not too weak or thin-bodied. Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Timothy's Kona Blend - Sweet aroma. Very good.
Timothy's Original Donut Blend - Decent body for a light roast. Clean finish. Vaguely chocolatey aroma in the cup. Good but uncomplicated flavor profile. Go easy on the cream. Much preferred this black. Thanks to springles for the free sample.
Timothy's Parisian Nights - Another quality dark roast. Holds its own but doesn't stand out in the crowd.
Timothy's Rainforest Espresso Extra Bold - Very good, especially after some steeping.
Timothy's Sugar Bush Maple - Nice breakfasty smell while brewing. Very subtle maple flavor. Decent light-roasted coffee underneath.
Timothy's Sweet Summer Raspberry - Very true raspberry aroma while brewing. In the cup, surprisingly good. Flavor doesn't overpower coffee. Raspberry tartness subtle enough even when cool. As an iced coffee, refreshing but weak; go with smallest drop possible. Thanks to Ellyn for the free samples.
Tully's Evergreen Blend - Surprisingly good blend. Smelled pine at first possibly due to the power of suggestion.
Tully's House Blend - Second try: Full-bodied medium roast. Subtle chocolate. Smooth. Fine black. Inviting aroma; First try: Good but doesn't stand out. Felt about this the same way I felt about the VH House Blend.
Van Houtte Breakfast Blend - Nutty aroma. Smooth with subtle acidity. Fresh, simple flavor that doesn't challenge or overwhelm sleepy taste buds. Thanks to Alice2 for the free samples.
Van Houtte 100% Colombian Medium Roast - Fleeting acidity (flattens after initial spike with each sip). Good body. Aroma fine but nothing special. Flavor improves as it cools. Can handle cream.
Van Houtte Colombian Dark - Sort of plain but with a smooth finish and good body. I would order this again.
Van Houtte Honduras - Solid. Not as good as Fratello's Honduras Marcala in a pod. Smooth and tasty.
Van Houtte Macadamia Nut - Aroma and subtle flavor are right on, complementing the coffee. Light-roast tang but not unpleasant. No need for cream. Thanks to the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the free sample.
Van Houtte Mexico - Thumbs up. Similar to the VH Guatemala in its single-origin distinctiveness (not common in a k-cup). Hard-to-place intriguing aroma. Decent body.
Van Houtte Midnight Express - Really solid dark roast. Would like another of these.
Van Houtte Peru - Raisiny. Dry. Mildly astringent. Liked this!
Van Houtte Pumpkin Pie - (2009) Best of the pumpkin k-cups. Subtle, mainly pumpkin aroma. Pie spices muted. Coffee first and flavoring second (as it should be). Still thin-bodied and a touch weak, but fine to drink black. Thanks to Pat for the free sample.
Van Houtte Raspberry Chocolate Truffle - Smells fantastic while brewing. Heavy on the berries. Would have liked more chocolate, but I'm not complaining. A flavored k-cup that truly belongs in the "Solid" tier.
Van Houtte Winter Blend - "Woodsy" flavor, as described. Acidity is just right. Medium roast. Fine to drink black.
Wolfgang Puck French Roast Extra Bold - Delicious aroma. Nice, robust example of the style (without char). Good body. Enjoyable puff of smoke in the finish. Notes of tobacco and bittersweet chocolate throughout. Takes cream well. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Hawaiian Hazelnut - Acceptable. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Sorrento Extra Bold - Nice wet aroma (caramel?). Mild acidity. Bittersweet chocolate in the cup. Medium-bodied Colombian blend. Quick finish. Definitely not the same coffee as WP's Sorrento Colombian pod (lacking its fruitiness). Bit of an edge as it cools that cream took care of. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Vanilla Francaise - Actually not bad black despite the overly artificial aroma. "French" aspect (e.g. custard note) bugs me a little but not enough to matter. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Try before you buy (Free sample, anyone?)
Barista Prima French Roast - Overly bitter at 8 oz. Really nothing to recommend this coffee black. Cream absolutely necessary.
Caribou French Roast - Solid but nothing extraordinary.
Caribou Mahogany - Started off by tripping my tip-of-the-tongue acidity alarm but then finished well. Leathery? An interesting darker roast.
Coffee People Black Tiger - Tasty dark but nothing to stand up and shout about.
Coffee People Cowboy Coffee - What's the opposite of sweet and yet not sour? Dry? That's how this tasted. Good enough but not fully satisfying. Held up to cream well.
Coffee People Donut Shop - Good but unremarkable. Need to give it a second try. This is in my wife's rotation.
Coffee People French Roast - (best by 9/22/10) Sweet, toasty aroma. Mouth feel on the thin side and flavor somewhat one-dimensional. Didn't enjoy the slightly-too-bitter finish the first two times (though the third cup went down better). Not my favorite or second favorite in the French Roast category.
Coffee People Jet Fuel - Not blowing me away but not putting me off either. Despite its name I didn't find it very strong. A little too much char when cooling.
Coffee People Kona Blend - Not very Kona-esque except for a certain woodsy aroma. Still, a good one, especially with cream.
Diedrich Colombia - Medium roast with pleasant acidity. Body acceptable but can't stand up to much cream. Little tang as it cools. In the upper third of the "Try before you buy" tier.
Diedrich Italiano Classico - Second fiddle to the VH Napoletano. Fine but not great.
Diedrich Paradiso House - Passable dark roast. Too acidic and syrupy as it cooled though.
Diedrich Sumatra - Thumbs up but not way up. Nice enough with cream.
Folgers Lively Colombian - Lightly sweet. Milk chocolate notes both smelled and tasted. Moderate acidity. Medium-bodied. No rough edges. Borderline "Solid," but a few points deducted for one-dimensional aroma and too-quick finish. Thanks to an anonymous donor for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Cinnamon Mocha - Simple cinnamon flavor with chocolate notes mostly in the aroma. Thin-bodied but pleasant. Burnt paper taste develops in the background as coffee cools.
Gloria Jean's Holiday Traditions - Initially nauseating custardy notes on top of artificial chocolate. Flavor becomes bearable after 30 sec. Hint of body. "Caramel" taste is way off though the aroma takes you there once cream is added.
Gloria Jean's Pumpkin Spice - (2009) Cinnamon predominates (think holiday potpourri). Waaay too watery at 8 oz. Hint of apple piping hot but no pumpkin goodness without cream. Flavor deepens when just barely warm (suggesting an iced version might work).
Gloria Jean's Special Blend - Can't hold a candle to the GJ Classic Reserve. Decent but lacking in body.
Gloria Jeans's Sumatra Dark Extra Bold - Not for me, and I like dark roasts. Charred.
Gloria Jean's Swiss Chocolate Almond - Chocolate notes dominant. Almond flavoring muted but noticeable and somewhat artificial. Thin-bodied.
Green Mountain Cafe Escapes Chai Latte - Overly sweet. Needs to be creamier. Nice aroma. Spicier than expected.
Green Mountain Cafe Escapes Milk Chocolate - Meh. Not very rich. The Gloria Jean's Hot Chocolate is just as good if not better. Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Green Mountain Cafe Escapes Mocha - Thick and chocolatey. Smells odd (like when you first open a packet of powdered hot cocoa mix). No coffee taste whatsoever.
Green Mountain Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut - Disappointing. Buttery aroma = cake donut? Where's the chocolate? (comes through when cold). Thin coffee becomes positively watery with addition of cream. Flavor verging more on chocolate hazelnut liqueur. Thanks to Kenoza for the free sample.
Green Mountain Donut House Cinnamon Roll - Buttery aroma with traces of cinnamon. Weak coffee at 8 ounces. Subtle cinnamon flavor in the cup. Decent with cream. Thanks to Kenoza for the free sample.
Green Mountain Donut House Decaf Extra Bold - Just as good as the regular Donut House, which is to say not very. Thanks to Kenoza for the free sample.
Green Mountain Donut House Extra Bold - Passable. Prefer the flavor of the Timothy's. Not weak but still feels thin. Better with cream. Lightly burnt finish throughout. Thanks to Kenoza for the free sample.
Green Mountain Donut House Travel Mug - A hair better than the regular version of this k-cup but not quite enough to matter. Still not wild about the finish in particular (especially as it cools). Thanks to Cheezr for the free sample.
Green Mountain Espresso Blend Extra Bold - Too much char. Amazingly, not all that full-bodied. Lost robustness as it cooled.
Green Mountain French Roast - Ho-hum.
Green Mountain Hazelnut - Fine but a very light roast. Buttery. Hazelnut not overpowering.
Green Mountain Hazelnut Extra Bold - Meh. A little more body than the regular hazelnut but less buttery flavor. Smells way better than it tastes.
Green Mountain Heifer Hope Blend - Sweet and winey/fermented. Flavor deepened as it cooled. Borderline, but not for me.
Green Mountain Island Coconut - Strong coconut aroma. Something else almost vegetal to the scent. Thankfully subtle flavor in the cup. Too light of a roast for me. Thanks to Bren for the free sample.
Green Mountain Nantucket Blend - Good enough but a little boring. Becomes slightly more interesting as it cools.
Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice - (2009) First impression: Cinnamon apple! Very light roast. Pumpkin flavor most "true" with cream. Good but too weak. Slight preference for this over the 2009 versions of Gloria Jean's Pumpkin Spice and Timothy's Perfectly Pumpkin.
Green Mountain revv - Nondescript dark roast aroma. Sweet, a tad spicy, but generally dull. Smooth to a fault. Finish = the opposite of lingering. Medium-bodied. Something odd in the background flavorwise. Thanks to Cheezr for the free sample.
Green Mountain Wicked Winter Blend - Starts off too acidic. Mellows when cool. Out of balance. Still not altogether bad.
Timothy's Breakfast Blend - Too tart. Decent aroma, but weak in the flavor and body departments.
Timothy's Colombian Dorado - Weak, thin-bodied, and lacking in flavor right from the start. Cream doesn't help. Odd aroma but no off notes in the cup. Go with the Colombian La Vereda if you want to keep it in the family.
Timothy's Italian Blend - Fine but nothing more. Thin body.
Timothy's Kahlua - Caramel and chocolate notes prominent (didn't notice any vanilla). Doesn't smell or taste like Kahlua. Coffee detectable underneath the artificial flavoring. Reminds me a little of Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee, which I liked better. Needs cream.
Timothy's Midnight Magic - A nice strong dark coffee but lacking distinctiveness in flavor relative to the GM Dark Magic.
Timothy's Mocha Java - Inexplicably sour first taste, which faded. Marginal afterwards. A so-so blend. Not my favorite. Would like a second try.
Timothy's Morning Blend - Mild. Fine, I guess. Brazilian beans but no single-origin distinctiveness. Prefer this over the Breakfast Blend. Still, wouldn't reach for it.
Timothy's Nicaraguan Extra Bold - Marginal when piping hot. Interesting as it cools. Spicy. Doesn't handle cream very well.
Timothy's Perfectly Pumpkin - (2009) Smells like pumpkin and nutmeg. Tastes curiously like neither. Citrus? Cran-orange? Stronger coffee flavor underneath than the GJ and GM pumpkin k-cups (though still not strong enough); (2008) Spices predominate (cinnamon, allspice). Subtle pumpkin flavor. Not bad at all black when piping hot. Too thin-bodied as it cools. On the weak side.
Timothy's Private Blend - Not much depth or flavor. Too acidic/astringent. Best to keep this to yourself as the name suggests (groan).
Timothy's San Lorenzo Dark - Been there, done that. Nothing exciting.
Timothy's Spanish Sol - Smells like creme brulee (vanilla + custard/caramel). Very subtle hint of licorice. Not as bad as expected black. Decent doctored up. Thanks to Brenda for the free sample.
Timothy's Sumatran Gold - Tasty. A little more acidity than I wanted. Nice earthiness. Cool-looking k-cup, by the way.
Timothy's White Hot Chocolate - Good but possibly an acquired taste. Comes out white like milk! Very little chocolate flavor. Prominent coconut notes along with vanilla. Richest of the hot chocolate k-cups. Not overly sweet. Thanks to Nate for the free sample.
Timothy's Winter Carnival - Vanilla and disturbing caramel/custard notes. Almost passable with cream and sugar. Close to an "Ugh."
Tully's Breakfast Blend - Too weak at 8 oz. Flavor nothing to write home about. Very mild, sweet cup. Could handle a bit of cream but was more tangy that way.
Tully's Full City Roast - Not bad. I'd have another. Almost a "Solid."
Tully's Guatemalan - Undistinguished. Worth a second try at some point.
Tully's Italian Roast - Nice earthy aroma. "Charred wood" is right. Cool, slightly spicy finish marred by bitter notes. Not as robust or full-bodied as I'd expected. Thanks to Joe at Shoffee for the free sample.
Tully's Kona Blend - Not really recognizable as Kona, but a nice medium roast.
Van Houtte Amazonia - Reminds me of the Brazil Sete de Cachoieras pod only not quite as good. Nutty. A decent cup. Almost a "Solid."
Van Houtte Candy Cane - Smells like a Thin Mint cookie. Flavor a bit too artificial (verging on peppermint chewing gum). Cream helps. Cooling effect in mouth. Coffee itself relatively strong for a flavored k-cup but hard to locate under the "candy cane." Thanks to starryeyes for the free sample.
Van Houtte Creme Brulee - Decent but a little sharp black with rich aroma (dairy + vanilla). Pretty foul with cream. Eggy. Thanks to starryeyes for the free sample.
Van Houtte Creme Caramel - Smells like it should. Tastes like custard. Cream helps smooth out the rough edges but can't work miracles with such a thin-bodied light roast.
Van Houtte Ethiopia Limu - Tasty enough, I guess. Can't compare to Ethiopian pods.
Van Houtte French Roast - Meh. Drinkable with cream but far from stellar. Not enough of that caramelized taste.
Van Houtte French Vanilla - No thanks. Smelled like paint at first. Orangey acidity. Absolutely need cream and sugar with this one.
Van Houtte Guatemala - For a single-origin k-cup, not bad at all. Distinctive flavor. Would try again. Almost a "Solid."
Van Houtte House Blend - Not bad at all. More flavorful than I would have expected in a house blend.
Van Houtte Madagascar Vanilla Nut - Advice: Don't sniff right after brewing unless you like chemical nuttiness. Vanilla much more prominent in aroma than in cup. Coffee underneath light-roasted, fine, but weak (in that sense similar to VH's Pecan Praline). Thanks to Jo for the free sample.
Van Houtte Mocha Java - Smells great. In the cup, however, thin mouth feel and odd, pseudo-minty tingle to the acidity (which still manages to come across as flat). Mediocre flavor. Slightly bitter finish as it cools. Thanks to Alice2 for the free samples.
Van Houtte Pecan Praline - Typically unpleasant caramel-esque artificial flavoring (though more muted than in some others). Coffee base on the weak side but acceptable. Cream definitely required. Thanks to the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the free sample.
Van Houtte Sumatra - Not my favorite Sumatra ever. Decent though. Far from burnt to a crisp like the GJ Sumatra.
Wolfgang Puck Breakfast in Bed - Smells like a Rolo (caramel chocolate). First sip is bright, medium-bodied, with a quick, slightly astringent finish that improves after a minute. Lighthearted cup in general. Flavor on the wimpy side. Tobacco-esque spice late.
Wolfgang Puck Chef's Reserve Colombian - Straight up, no frills cup. Nothing remarkable or offensive flavorwise. Smells darker than it tastes, though acidity muted by dark roast as expected. Smooth to the end; might make a nice iced coffee. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Jamaica Me Crazy - Unpleasantly faux butterscotch aroma. In the cup, pretty much undrinkable black (too tangy and odd), but somewhat better with cream and sugar. Flavor supposedly a combination of vanilla, caramel, and Kahlua. Cream enhances the vanilla notes, reminding me of an animal cracker. If you like Timothy's Winter Carnival, you'll probably like this (but don't expect maple here). Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Rodeo Drive - Not the train wreck I expected at first sip, but not great either (despite the decent wet aroma). Slightly off-putting tangy cereal finish becomes increasingly icky as it cools. Close to an "Ugh" after 5 min. Thanks to 1QuickCup for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Sumatra Kopi Raya Extra Bold - Smells like chocolate wood. More thin-bodied than desired or expected. Flavor includes some tang, a mild bite, and an "off" finish. Could plausibly be the same coffee as in WP's Sumatra Kopi Raya pod but doesn't shine in k-cup format. Cream highly recommended. Thanks to Jim at Coffeewiz for the free sample.
Wolfgang Puck Vienna Coffee House - Nutty with subtle cocoa notes and a little zing of acidity. Good body and decent flavor (which holds up to cream). Somewhat astringent finish at times. Borderline "Solid," so possibly worth a try. Thanks to 1QuickCup for the free sample.
Ugh (Don't give these to people you like)
Gloria Jean's Cappuccino - Awful. If you strain, you can taste cocoa, vanilla, and maybe a little almond. With cream it's almost (but not quite) bearable. Thanks to Bren for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's French Vanilla Supreme - Just no. Nasty custard smell + weak coffee + harsh chemical flavor + borderline acrid finish = fail! Thanks to Juanita for the free sample.
Gloria Jean's Hazelnut - Something not quite right with this k-cup. Smells great while brewing. Aroma and flavor borderline revolting in the cup. The wife didn't like it either. Thanks to Joe at Shoffee for the free sample.
Green Mountain Gingerbread Fair Trade - Watery. A pale shadow of coffee. Flavor and aroma not right. Fails even as potpourri. The worst ostensibly ginger-flavored thing I've ever tasted.
Green Mountain Golden French Toast - Aroma exactly as described while brewing but different in the cup. Buttery and bad. Sugar helped a little. That is, until it cooled a bit. Adding maple syrup as a last resort could not save this "coffee."
Green Mountain Perfect Peach - You'd have to be a glutton for punishment to drink this black. Initially intriguing "peach" aroma becomes horrid after a few sips. Thanks to Joe at Shoffee for the free sample.
Green Mountain revv Pulse - Intriguing aroma (chocolate watermelon?) possibly influenced by the added ginseng/guarana. In the cup, just no. Bitter. Unpleasant aftertaste. Coffee as caffeine delivery vehicle rather than beverage. Becomes somewhat tolerable with cream and sugar. Thanks to Rebecca for the free sample.
Green Mountain Spicy Eggnog Fair Trade - Aroma and flavor right on the money. Proof nevertheless that eggnog and coffee shouldn't mix. Pretty foul black. Predictably better with cream and sugar but still not something I could drink more than a few sips of. Merry Christmas?
Green Mountain Wild Mountain Blueberry - Smelled exactly like a blueberry donut. Tasted like weak black tea into which you'd dunked that same donut. Absolutely needs to be extra bold to be close to drinkable for me.
Van Houtte Spiced Mayan Chocolate - Without sugar felt like it needed something. With sugar it was actually worse. Good to smell but not to drink.
Last edited by jbviau
on Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:54 pm, edited 154 times in total.