Several months ago, I heard that McDonalds was bringing their coffee to retail stores. I didn’t hear much about it after that, though it was not a surprising move since competitors like Dunkin’ Donuts are already selling coffee in that space. I recently saw McCafe K-Cups in my local grocery store and picked up a pack to give them a try. The K-cup version of McCafe coffee makes a lot more sense to me than packaged ground beans, since McDonalds coffee is all about convenience.
The French Roast packaging is attractive and the k-cups have a fluted shape to them that makes them instantly recognizable by feel, even if you thrown them into a box filled with other k-cups. The coffee is a medium bodied coffee with some nice chocolate and cocoa notes, as well as a hint of citrus, and a very smooth finish. It isn’t an extremely complex coffee, but it is very drinkable and I would say it is better than the last time I got coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru. It is also definitely better than many of other mid-range k-cup brands that I’ve tried, so I was pretty pleased with it overall. The McCafe line offers a range of both dark and light coffees. I personally wouldn’t want a coffee much lighter than this, but I think that these k-cups could be a nice crowd-pleasing option to add to your coffee lineup.
In addition to the Rwanda Rift Valley Single Origin K-Cups I picked up a few days ago, I also bought a box of another Starbucks Single Origin product, the Guatamala Laguna de Ayarza Single Origin K-Cups. Like the Rwanda cups, these cost a few dollars more than your average k-cup, but they are sold in a larger package and, of course, offer a more unique flavor for the discerning coffee drinker who is looking to improve his or her Keurig experience.
Laguna de Ayarza is a crater lake in Guatamala that was formed as the result of a huge volcanic eruption roughly 20,000 years ago. The eruption is significant because it spread ash and rock for many miles, a layer that gradually transformed into rich volcanic soil that is excellent for growing coffee. This coffee is a medium-bodied medium-roast coffee. It has a very mild aroma, with a hint of nuttiness to it. That nuttiness transitions to the taste of the coffee and builds quickly into a smooth, bright citrus flavor, which slowly fades into a nutty, chocolaty finish. Although you might get the impression that this is a very “rich” coffee from reading the tasting notes on the box, it really has a fairly light body overall and, while it does have a very pleasant complexity to it, I found the Rwanda Rift Valley to be the “richer” of these two single origin options. Still, it is a good cup of coffee that is very smooth and easy to drink, with a pleasantly long finish that allows those citrus and cocoa notes to linger on your palate. .
It was only a matter of time before we started to see better quality k-cups available for sale, since Keurigs are one of the most popular ways to brew up a quick cup of coffee out there. In spite of their popularity, the last several years have had very poor k-cup options, and it is only much more recently that we have seen decent coffees packaged in k-cup formats on a regular basis. One new offering that raises the bar is from Starbucks, and their new Rwanda Rift Valley Single Origin K-Cups. These were initially released a few weeks ago, however I hadn’t noticed them in stores until more recently. Unlike some of the Starbucks seasonal k-cups, these are available in grocery stores and at places like Target.
I always enjoy a single origin coffee because it gives you a real opportunity to pick up unique flavor elements that you won’t always get in a blend, and this Rift Valley coffee is no exception. It’s a very smooth medium-roast coffee with a mild aroma. When you taste it, you’ll immediately pick up on bittersweet cocoa notes and dry earth. There is a very faint hint of orange-citrus, but it is dominated by the strong dark chocolate flavors. It has a medium-long finish that is just as smooth as the first sip. For a coffee that is brewed in the Keurig, it has a very well-defined flavor profile and is just a very good cup of coffee overall. I look forward to trying more of the single-origin releases – and to seeing k-cups continue to improve!
It is a well documented fact that I am a sucker when it comes to chocolate chip cookies of all shapes and sizes, so it should be no surprise that I was interested in trying Coffee-Mate’s new Chocolate Chip Cookie Creamer as soon as I first saw it in stores. I loved the idea of this creamer, since cookies and coffee are a delicious combination that is just as good as cookies and milk are. When I eat a chocolate chip cookie with a cup of coffee, I expect to taste melting chocolate, along with notes of brown sugar and toasted butter – and coffee, of course – so my hopes were quite high as I poured this into a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
On its own, the creamer tastes a lot more like melted chocolate ice cream than a liquid cookie, but it mellowed out once it was combined with coffee and produced a drink that was primarily chocolate-flavored, with a toasted brown sugar note that I could easily attribute to a cookie. It doesn’t taste exactly like a chocolate chip cookie, however it is still quite tasty because it delivered a chocolate drink that was not overly sweet and had no strange artificial chocolate notes to it (which is a common problem for chocolate creamers). The creamer worked well both hot and over ice. If you want to get really crazy with it and go for a drink with a lot of cookie flavor, combine this with coffee, ice, and a real chocolate chip cookie or two, then throw everything into the blender and mix it up until you have a chocolate chip cookie flavored ice blended drink!