Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Heavenly Coffee Or Not! The K-Cup Update

I am a coffee drinker. I enjoy the aroma, the taste, the mouth-feel and the comfort it gives me. I've been drinking this brew since I was a tot....yes, a tot. Grandpa Frank would put coffee in a cup plate, add milk and sugar and hand it to one of his many grand kids. It was actually just a sip of coffee, but enough to prime our palates for the taste of it. I used to be able to put up a pot at 10 PM, drink it down and still fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. Now...not so. Not a drop after 6 PM, though I switch to decaf for that final cup.
I used to be a Maxwell House coffee drinker, but my taste for a stronger brew intensified as I got older. I was never a Bold Dark Roast gal, but love an Espresso on occasion. A splash of Anisette or Sambuca and it's a holiday. My preferred ground coffees: Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts. Both brands make a delicious decaf, too.  I stock up on Dunkin's when it's 4 (1 pound) bags for $19.99! You can't beat the price or taste of coffee from 7-Eleven or of all places...McDonald.  I don't mind spending my money on what I most enjoy, but I can't justify the price of Starbucks or other gourmet coffee shops.
For years, long after automatic coffee machines became popular, I would brew in a percolator. I loved the aroma of this method as well as the full bodied taste. There was something about seeing it perk in the glass top stem that made me feel like this was the way coffee should be brewed. I still own one and will keep it forever. It's as shiny as the first day I received it from my mom, Eugenia. Her comment as she handed it to me was, "Now keep the outside sparkling clean....Aunt Katie used to say, 'You should be able to see your face in it'". Who was I to argue with Great Aunt Katie?
Throughout the years, I've brewed in a Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, Melitta Drip, Bunn among other makers. Cuisinart was my favorite. Then it happened....that phone call from my sister, Kaz. I never heard her so excited. She'd just purchased a Keurig Brewer. Huh? She'd been wanting one, but didn't want to spend over $100 for a coffee maker. She saw it on sale and went for it. She liked the fact that she could put her morning-to-work travel mug under the spout and have a hot cup of coffee in under 1 minute! And was thrilled with the variety packs that came with the unit. I was happy she was happy, but not enough to run out and purchase one.
That all changed on a visit to Florida when I stayed with my sister, Judey. Yep, she too, had a Keurig Brewer. I must just put a mug on the drip plate, press a size button and Voila! was cool....very cool.  The brewer was super fast and those pods or K-cups as they're called are amazing. No mess is my middle name.  I mentioned it to my husband in practically every birthday was that month....hint, hint.
To my birthday gift was the Keurig Brewer. Gosh, I love that man! I immediately set up the machine according to the took 5 minutes. Don't forget this step. In the box of K-cups that came with the brewer were two decafs and since it was after 6 PM, I chose Timothy's brand. I'm sorry to say, I was so excited that I didn't pay great attention to the mouth-feel, aroma, taste...blogging was not on my mind. I don't remember not enjoying it, so I have to rate it as fine.
Then, I got SERIOUS. The next day, I purchased the reusable filter. I was having spending-pangs about the cost of the K-Cups. There are different amounts in boxes --50, 24, 18, 16 or 12 with prices ranging from $30 to $15 to $11. You can join a K-cup club on or purchase boxes at a good price on as well as sites like &
The varieties are ridiculous....200 and counting. Some brands are: Gloriajeans, Vanhoutte, Coffeepeople, Diedrich, Wolfgang Puck, Twinings, Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings and others mentioned below. The specialty flavors include: Coconut, Maple, German Chocolate Cake, Kahlua, Mocha, Irish Creme to name a few. There are Teas (English Breakfast is nice), Hot Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate and you can make Iced Tea & Iced Coffee with a Keurig. Tea brews excellently....the Hot Chocolates on the weak side. Chai Latte (tea by Cafe Escapes) was downright awful.
A reusable filter at Bed, Bath & Beyond cost $18 and at my local supermarket $15. There is a big selection of K-cups at BB&B. If you have a membership at stores like Costco, Sam's, BJ's you can get a box of 80 K-cups for less than $40. The downside is...not a large variety to choose from and sometimes your favorite brand is unavailale by the time you make your next shopping visit.
The reusable filter was a disappointment, at first. According to the instructions it should be filled to the 2 Tablespoons mark and should not be tamped down. The coffee was tasteless, weak and not enjoyable at all! The water comes out so quickly that the coffee grounds were barely wet, so how could it make a good cup of coffee? I threw it out and brewed a second cup by hitting the small mug button...still a lousy cup of coffee. A friend had a can of Espresso coffee and gifted it to me. I'm not a bold roast gal, but thought I'd give it a try, so I filled the reusable filter with it. Surprise! It was a very good cup of coffee. So, I guess the trick to using the filter is to fill it with a bold roast so that it compensates for the light brew it tends to brew. Give it a try.
Taste is very personal. Some like it Bold, some Medium Roast, some just pass the coffee over the mug and call it brewed. Each his/her own, but I like it to be a full-bodied medium roast...if there's bitterness, I'll spit it out. So this is how I rated the variety of K-Cups that came with my B-40 Elite Keurig Brewer and a couple that didn't. I used filtered water:
Emeril's Big Easy: Intense flavor, good aroma, but bitter (not a keeper), Tully's Extra Bold French Roast: good aroma but bitter after-taste (not a keeper), Tully's House Blend Extra Bold: no better than the French Roast, Green Mountain Dark Magic: so-so aroma but strong, bitter taste (not a keeper), Green Mountain Breakfast Blend: nice aroma, no bitterness but a bit mild (okay), Green Mountain Nantucket Blend: not a full-bodied coffee, similar to the Breakfast Blend (okay), Donut Shop: Original & Decaf had a good aroma, slightly bitter taste yet on the mild side (okay), Folgers Gourmet Decaf: great aroma, no bitterness, medium roast (my favorite decaf), though I haven't tried the Folgers Original yet....I would think it's as good as the decaf, Caribou Blend: pleasant real coffee aroma, rich-full-bodied taste, no bitterness (#1 favorite). Caribou has 6 varieties and the reviews were very good on each of them. I will eventually try them all. I have a strong feeling that the Caribou Columbia & the Mahogany will be the Bold Roast I'll enjoy when I'm in need of an extra kick. As an aside: it was at Judey's that I decided I wanted a Keurig and the coffee she served was Caribou...need I say more.
Update 2013: Yes, I have more to say 2 years later: I still love Caribou Blend. Medium Roast is still my favorite roast. I switch my morning coffee from: Folgers gourmet (red K-cup), Millstone Foglifter, & Caribou Blend. Green Mountain Colombian Fair Trade Select is tasty, too. I didn't give Timothy's Decaf a fair review, so I tried it again....decent. It's a bit light for a medium roast, but no bitterness and it's a smooth brew.
2013 Updates
Now for my favorite flavored coffee. I love, love, love Wolfgang Puck Jamaica Me Crazy. It is medium roast coconut infused coffee. It is the treat I enjoy during the afternoon. It has plenty of coconut flavor and reminds me of being on a beach on a sunshiny day. My autumn flavor is Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice. It is a light roast, so for me, I brew a smaller cup. I tend to add Creamy Chocolate Coffee-Mate powder to my regular brew, but never to a flavored coffee. Most flavored coffees tend to be light roast, so check the strength so you can brew the proper size for your enjoyment.
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Love my Folgers & Chocolate Coffee Mate!


  1. So excited you like it now! I love the bold roasts, but now will have to try Caribou since both you and my mom like it! They also make pods of coffee to brew with ice, which I'm looking forward to try in the summer! :) Love you Aunt Nan!


  2. Yes you gotta try Caribou. I'm not a big fan of bold roast but will try a caribou bold. What are you enjoying? We should have a swap club, so we don't have to buy a whole box to try one. Iced coffee sounds good once we "defrost" Hugs

  3. How do you decide when there is so many flavors, wow. I have the Bosch coffee system and it is nice and convenient and I have figured out how to make a decent cup of coffee, hubby he doesn't care for it so on weekends I still have to brew him a pot for himself. The initial investment is what deterred me when I bought my Bosch (was cheaper) but doesn't have the coffee varieties and that makes me jealous.

  4. Medifast: Thanks so much for your interest in my post. I think any of the major brewers will make a good cup of coffee. A co-worker loves her Bosch (Tassimo) because it makes latte, cappuccino and espresso besides coffee, tea, etc. I think once we find our favorite coffee, we stick with that one and on occasion drink a different one. So does it matter in the end how many are available for our particular brewer? I didn't think $119 was outrageous for the Keurig..besides, it was a gift. A box of variety k-cups came with the system, so I just spent the first 2 weeks trying one at a time and charting how I liked each. We coffee drinkers know exactly what we like, light, medium, bold & as soon as we take that first sip we just know we found our favorite. My husband doesn't drink coffee...that means more for me! N

  5. your post, Nanette! I too just bought a Tassimo (couldn't afford the Keurig), as I'm the only one in the house who drinks coffee. I've found it to be a huge money saver for me, because I only drink one or two cups a day. I tried the Starbuck's House Blend, but found that to be too pricey for the bitterness offered. Yuck. Maxwell House makes a pretty decent house blend, but we live in a fairly remote area of Vancouver Island, so I can't compare it with too many others. Anyway, when I'm expecting company, I hide my Tassimo and bring out the big Cuisinart baby. I'm jealous of my new toy and don't want to share. LOL!!

  6. Alison: Thank You for your kind comment. I thought the Keurig & Tassimo were close in price. Mine was $119. I also knew I wouldn't get much use out of the latte/espresso part of a Tassimo. Maxwell House doesn't make a K-cup, but I'm enjoying Folgers and Caribou the most. With more than 4 guests, I bring out my Mr. Coffee brewer. It can get expensive at the 12 cups and beyond. It might be a good idea to buy a variety pack, so guests can choose what they might like. I have a sample of an iced coffee & will try it on the first hot day in NY. I use bottled water ($1 per gal) so my brewer doesn't get clogged with minerals, etc. So far I'm enjoying my coffee experience. Nice chatting with you. Visit and say hi, again. N

  7. Well, even I like Keurig most. Is a good choice to invest in. But before investing you should consider some other options too. Be wise while choosing something for long term investment.

  8. Hi there...thank you for reading this post. I read your article as well, excellent. I've had my original Keurig Elite for 8-9 years now without a day of trouble. I use purified water only to eliminate any minerals that may clog it. In the future, I will look into what is new on the market. But for now, my "old" Keurig is a keeper. N