Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Brown Sugar Crumble Donut

As I burn my way through the content of the new Final Fantasy XIV expansion, I find myself turning to my good friend caffeine to help fuel the late nights and early morning play sessions.  This week, I decided to take a trip to the grocery store and pick up a couple of new varieties. The first one that landed in my shopping cart was the “Brown Sugar Crumble Donut” by Green Mountain.

As I’ve mentioned before, I tread a fine line between both shying away from, and being a sucker for flavored coffees. They always look so good sitting there on a shelf. But generally speaking, they usually tend to taste artificial and just… not very good. Of course, there are a few notable exceptions to this. So with that in mind, I decided to bite the bullet and give the Brown Sugar Crumble Donut a shot… and I was pleasantly surprised!

According to the label, this is a medium roast coffee. But, to me it tastes a little on the light side. There’s very little bitterness in this cup. The brown sugar is the prominent taste here. But there’s also a slight artificial cinnamon/cake donut flavor as well. But, it’s really not that bad. I found this to be a pleasant and drinkable coffee. It would go great on a sunny Sunday morning with a nice hearty breakfast.

Despite being a decent coffee, it just doesn’t seem unique enough to stand out against many of the other similar offerings out there. Yes, the main flavor here is brown sugar, but as a whole this coffee is too much like the superior Cinnabon coffee to shine by itself. Perhaps if it was a bit cheaper I’d be more inclined to recommend it over some of the others. Regardless, it’s a solid offering.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Maybe. It’s tasty and certainly has it’s place. But, I feel it too much like many other similar, and superior coffees to really recommend over others. That being said, if if you like brown sugar and cinnamon, and this is the only option at your local store, don’t hesitate.

 

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Peru Cajamarca (Organic)

Daylight Savings hit hard this year. The last week or so has proven to be quite a chore in the mornings, but as always, I was able to turn to my good friend the coffee bean to find the motivation needed.  Recently, I stumbled upon an unfamiliar box in the grocery store, a new organic offering from Green Mountain, the “Peru Cajamarca”.

For those that get into all the details, this is another of Green Mountain’s eco-friendly, organic coffees. As you might have guessed, the beans come from the Cajamarca Region of Peru. Which tends to be famous for their low-yield but high-quality beans. It’s a medium roast, with a complex smokey flavor. I was rather surprised at just how flavorful this coffee actually is. There’s a lot of different things going on here. It’s rich, but smooth. It has a bit of a woody flavor to it, but with a subtle caramel apple finish. It all makes for a rather luxurious cup of coffee.

To get down to it; I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this coffee. The Peru Cajamarca has quickly become one of me new favorites. It’s very drinkable, and it’s plain enough to be enjoyed by most. But there is a subtle complexity to it that will satisfy your average coffee snob as well. This is certainly one of Green Mountain’s top-shelf products. I look forward to seeing more in this line.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Yes! In fact, I’ve already gone through two boxes of this stuff in the last month. A simply wonderful coffee for nearly anyone.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Sumatran Reserve

Today, I’m going back to basics and checking out one of Green Mountain’s organic offerings; the “Fair Trade Certified Organic Sumatran Reserve” – whew what a mouthful! For consumers who are focused on things like fair trade when it comes to coffee purchases, Green Mountain has you covered as they always label their fair trade coffees as such.

Sumatran coffee is popular for it’s earthy, dark chocolaty taste. This cup certainly embodies both of those features. Green Mountain markets this as an “Extra Bold” cup, which means the K-Cup itself is actually packed with more grinds, this gives the coffee a darker, bolder taste. However, despite the extra bold brew, the coffee is not over-bitter. Instead, I found it to be quite smooth, with a dark and complex flavor. As it brews, it releases a rich, woody aroma that I find to be very pleasant. This aroma comes through in the flavors as well. To me, a sip of this coffee starts off with a crisp, burnt wood taste. Followed by an earthy/chocolate aftertaste. It’s very unusual, but quite enjoyable.

This coffee certainly packs a punch. It makes for a great early morning kickstarter. I think that some people might be turned off by how dark and bold this coffee seems to be, it’s certainly not for everyone, but I’ve had much darker brews (and ones that have had less flavor as well). But, if you enjoy dark, complex roasts, this might a keeper for you.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Maybe. This is a fine quality coffee in my opinion. But, I do tend to prefer more medium roasts for my day to day drinking. When the occasion strikes that I want a dark coffee, as of now this might be my go-to. I do enjoy it a bit more than the Donut Shop Dark, so the Sumatran Reserve does take the crown as my favorite dark coffee thus far.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Wicked Winter Blend

Winter is certainly here for most of us in the United States and other parts of the world. One of the ways I always warm up after a trek outside in the snow is a warm cup of coffee. For us Keurig owners, there’s certainly no lack of options when it comes to seasonal winter coffees. So far, I’ve checked out Sugar Cookie, Peppermint Bark, and a Starbucks Holiday blend. So today, I’m going to take a look at one of Green Mountain’s offerings, the Wicked Winter Blend.

What we have here is Green Mountain’s holiday spin on a dark roasted coffee. But, before you assume this is just a rebrand on their Dark Magic variety, think again. The Wicked Winter Blend is it’s own beast. It’s certainly dark, with a mild bit of bitterness. But it has a very complex flavor. It’s a bit hard to nail down… spicy, earthy, but somewhat mild at the same time. It’s a difficult cup to explain and one that should be best experienced for yourself. The flavor certainly seems fitting for a winter seasonal.  I found it to be pleasant and quite drinkable.  As the name suggests, it makes for a rather effective way to warm up after being out in the cold.

All in all, if you’re a fan of dark, bold coffee and you’re looking for something a little different for the winter season, this is certainly a welcome suggestion. Fans of lighter, less aggressive coffee might want to skip this one.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Doubtful. This coffee is great. Very well done, but there’s nothing here unique enough to make me choose it over some of the other great blends out there. 

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Cinnamon Sugar Cookie

img_20161115_092225

So. Star Wars Rogue One comes out today. You’re going to see it at 7:00pm. Then again at 10:00pm right? What about a third time at midnight? Well, if that’s your plan you’re going to need a little help. With that in mind, I’m posting another Nerd Fuel coffee review – but since Christmas is just around the corner and most of us are out there facing near-arctic temperatures, let’s take a look at a seasonal flavor.

Just as soon as Pumpkin Spice Season comes to an end, we now have a variety of minty, spicy, and egg-noggy selections to choose from. But I wanted to go with something simple to start, so I chose Cinnamon Sugar Cookie. This is a new seasonal entry by Green Mountain. Basically what we have here is the perfect replica of a Snickerdoodle cookie. I can’t stress this enough. In terms of flavor, this coffee NAILS IT. If you’ve ever had a Snickerdoodle, then you already know EXACTLY what this coffee tastes like. The flavor here is perfect. Not too weak, not too strong. It tastes like the real thing. The cinnamon flavor here does not taste fake at all, which can be hard to pull off. In fact, only this coffee and the Cinnabon coffee I reviewed a while back have managed to achieve this.

Personally, I like this coffee in the evening. I use my stand-by “sweet Italian” creamer, but I put just a tad more than normal into this cup. Not because it needs weakening, but the extra cream and sweetness seem to compliment the underlying “cookie” flavor of this coffee quite well.

I can’t stress how much I like this coffee. It’s perfect for this time of year and a great seasonal showing by Green Mountain. Highly recommended for Keurig owners.

Score:  4 out of 4

Would buy again?:  YES! This is a fantastic coffee. This is one of those seasonal offerings that I wish would last all year.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Dark Magic

img_20161010_084140

Last time we talked coffee, I shared my thoughts on Donut Shop Dark. Dark coffee blends are very popular among many coffee drinkers. The darker roast brings out flavors that you just don’t get with medium and light roast coffees. The thing about dark roast coffee if you either like it or you don’t. Personally, I find the taste pretty agreeable, but I prefer it in the morning as opposed to a late night cup.

When I reviewed the Donut Shop Dark, I found it to be very enjoyable. But I felt like there was probably a better dark roast K-Cup out there somewhere. So I began my search for an alternative. One of the first suggestions I came across was “Dark Magic” by Green Mountain. So, I picked up a box and gave it spin.

At first, during the brewing process I thought I had maybe put the wrong cup in the machine. It smelled EXACTLY like Donut Shop Dark while it was brewing. But that’s where the similarity stopped. My first sip of Dark Magic revealed it to be a very different coffee. While Donut Shop Dark tasted like regular Donut Shop coffee, with a darker roast – Dark Magic actually tastes a bit like… espresso! There’s bitter edge at first, followed by a very rich flavor blend. Oddly enough, the farther I get into my cup, the less bitterness I seem to detect. It’s a bit hard to describe. But it works well. Adding a sweetened cream brought out the flavor a little more and in some ways, reminded me a bit of the little Starbucks Double Shots they sell at convenience stores.

Dark Magic also seemed to give me a bit more of a jolt that I expected. More so than some other darker blends I’ve sampled over the years.

Overall, Dark Magic is a very solid coffee, but it’s not the best I’ve come across. If you like bold coffee, but don’t want to taste like you’re licking tar paper, Dark Magic is a great pick.

Score:  3 out of 4

 Would Buy Again?:  Maybe. So far, I’ve preferred the Donut Shop Dark over Green Mountain’s Dark Magic. But, I could settle on the Dark Magic in a pinch if I was really craving a dark roast.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Donut House Collection – Chocolate Glazed Donut

img_20160909_065341

The quest for the perfect cup of Nerd Fuel continues. This time, I step back into Green Mountain’s coffee house to sample the second entry in their “Donut House” collection: Chocolate Glazed Donut.

Now, it’s no secret that I am not a fan of Green Mountain’s ‘Donut House’ blend. But, when I saw their Chocolate Glazed Donut offering, I figured I might as well give it a try. Being a flavored coffee, I figured that any dislike I had of the plain Donut House blend would be masked by the extra flavor. I’m happy to report that this is a correct assumption. This coffee has a very strong chocolate flavor to it. You can smell it easily during the brewing process. In fact, in many ways it tastes exactly like a glazed chocolate donut that you might find at your local Dunkin Donuts. So, congrats to Green Mountain for nailing that flavor almost perfectly.

While the flavor is accurate, in my opinion it seems to be a little over the top. The chocolate donut flavoring in this cup seems to almost mask the natural flavor of the coffee itself. It’s thick and artificial. It’s almost… syrupy. My wife and kids really enjoyed this coffee, but for me it was a little too overpowering. If you’re a chocolate lover, this might something you’d enjoy quite a bit. But for me, while interesting, it was nothing to write home about. If I want to drink chocolate, I’ll make some cocoa.

Score: 2 out of 4

Would Buy Again:?  No. This flavor here is too false and syrupy for my tastes.  Not a fan.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Pumpkin Spice

img_20161101_100009

Now I know I recently reviewed Dunkin Donut’s “Pumpkin” flavored coffee. But it just wouldn’t be proper to get all the way through Autumn without a proper Pumpkin Spice coffee review. So, today I’m going to share my thoughts on Green Mountain Coffee’s take on Pumpkin Spice.

This is part of Green Mountain’s “Seasonal Selections” – that is, seasonal exclusive flavors. So once I saw this on the grocery store shelf, I had no choice but to snatch up a box before they were all gone. As I said before, I’m a pretty big fan of “pumpkin spice” anything. But with so many options out there, I’m pretty picky when it comes to Pumpkin Spice coffee.

So as my first taste of true Pumpkin Spice from my Keurig machine, how does Green Mountain’s offering hold up? Well, in a standard mug of brewed coffee, not so good. This coffee really puts the “spice” in “Pumpkin Spice”. By itself it has a very sharp, herbal taste – not very pleasant. That being said, the taste really starts to balance out once you add a little cream and sugar, or in my case – some sweetened cream. For me, doctoring up this cup is a must. This K-Cup also begins to shine when mixed with whole milk and served as an iced coffee. Really, this is not unusual for “Pumpkin Spice” coffees of any brand. If you go to any coffee shop you’ll always find Pumpkin Spice Lattes on the menu, but never an old fashioned hot cup of Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee. This flavor simply does better as a latte.

Even with that in mind, I’ve had better cups of Pumpkin Spice coffee over the years. While, Green Mountain certainly does a decent job with this offering. I’ll continue to keep my eyes open for another brand to sample next year.

Score: 2 out of 4

Would Buy Again?:  No. As much as I hate to say this, this coffee didn’t do it for me.  Every fall it seems customary for me to seek out a cup of Pumpkin Spice. But, I think next year I may have to try a different variety

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Donut House Coffee

img_20160909_092233

I just can’t stop sampling from all the various K-Cups available. It’s an obsession and unless I can manage to try every single one on the market before kicking the bucket, you’re going to have suffer through these posts. I apologize in advance.

Being such a fan of the Donut Shop coffee, I decided to see what Green Mountain’s spin on “Donut” coffee was all about.  Now, let’s be clear. There’s is a difference between Donut Shop and Donut House. So if you’re reading these reviews and thinking about giving these a try, make sure the one you’re buying matches the review that piqued your interest.

So. Before sampling this brew, I went in expecting a fairly mild, middle of the road, “serve-to-everyone” type of coffee. And that’s exactly what this is. It is basic, plain, and nothing to get excited about. The flavor is decent and unoffensive to nearly anyone. It’s bit more bitter than the Donut Shop that I enjoyed so much, and also without some of the subtle flavors that I enjoyed in that cup. As far as unflavored coffee goes, I didn’t find anything of particular note here. It’s mild, but earthy. It is well balanced, but there’s not any particular aspect or flavor that seems to make this stand out. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s not that particularly good either. There’s a lot of blended, unflavored coffees out there – even for people who prefer lighter roasts and many of them are better than this in my opinion.

Score: 2 out of 4

Would Buy Again?:  Nope. I’ve had worse coffee,  but I’ve also have much better.