August 25, 2010

A Review of K-Cups for the Espresso Drinker - Bold and Dark Coffee


If you are like me, you probably have a few coffee makers in the house, and the one that has stayed on our counter for years is our Keurig B-70 single cup brewer. So while I run through and rotate espresso makers on a regular basis a good back-up for regular coffee is the Keurig. It's not a pressure brew like an espresso maker at 15-bar, but a simple drip style brew that makes regular coffee. Easy, quick and allows users to pick their own style of coffee so that one person isn't stuck with an overly acidic Colombian blend when they really like a nice smooth Sumatra.

I typically get asked other coffee questions in addition to espresso, and thought I would pass along my observations on several bold dark blends that might also appeal to espresso drinkers. If I haven't tasted them or reviewed them, I'll shoot you over to our sister site where they definitely have.

My two favorites - the Caribou Obsidian - complex layering of flavors here, and the Tully's French Roast - good solid roast without burnt overtones and a great full bodied flavorful finish.


checkmarkGRN.pngObsidian - "Bold wild berry flavors combine with precious high tones of bittersweet chocolate to create this velvety smooth, dark gem of a blend," says Caribou of one of their darkest coffees. Just bought some at Target, in 18-packs for $9.99. I like it black for its dark roast without the ashy burnt flavors of the darkest Italian Roasts. There is a bit of dark roasted burnt flavor that comes through in the lingering aftertaste (not a bad thing), but is swept away upfront by the floral acidity that comes through. A nice well balanced cup with a clean finish. Brew a couple up on the 5.25 ounce cup size and you've got a good cup either black or standing up to milk and sugar. Ideal for the 100% arabica Espresso drinker. More at

French Roast - The French Roast is sufficiently acidic, with some brightness in the cup to make things lively without being grassy. The roast is dark without being burnt. The body on the Caribou French Roast isn't quite as rich as other's I have tasted, namely the Tully's French Roast. Net the Caribou is a clean, dark roasted coffee with a nice flavor profile, but lacks some of the complex mystery that creates a more exciting flavor experience in the Tully's. On the thin side but not a bad choice if you like a bold cup with a clean finish. - My Original Review

Green Mountain

Dark Magic - A well balanced espresso style roast that is not so overwhelmingly dark that they burnt all the flavor off and sent it up the smokestack. The profile is balanced, smoky and dark enough to offer a strong flavor profile in the cup with a bit of balanced sweetness and caramel flavors. Net a good cup and good flavor up front with a clean finish. I originally reviewed it as an espresso and then have since put it in my regular rotation on K-Cups. My Original Review

Fair Trade Organic Espresso Blend - Very similar to the Dark Magic, but with a bit more body and a bit more rounded sweetness in the finish either black or with sugar/milk. I like it for its ability to add just a bit more depth of flavor to the blend over Dark Magic and would urge you to pick this over the Dark magic. Again, I originally reviewed it as an espresso and then have since put it in my regular rotation on K-Cups. My Original Review

Double Black Diamond Extra Bold - Their darkest roast with a heavy body and slightly smoky. The slightly sweet flavors indicate that there is still some goodness here that didn't get burnt off. A quick and clean finish. - Original Thoughts on Double Black Diamond


Rainforest Espresso Extra Bold - Rich sweet notes and a caramel lingering taste from this Rainforest Alliance coffee. A light roasted aroma comes through in the upfront, but also converts to a lingering reinforcement of the darker roasted notes in the finish. Full Review at our Sister Site -

Timothy's Italian Blend - Has a moderate body for such a blend, with low acidity and a good round roasted flavor from this cup. The roasted flavors come together for a punch in the finish. Not bad but not my favorite.


checkmarkGRN.pngFrench Roast - This is my go-to blend. It's smoky, full bodied and balanced enough to offer a slightly sweet flavor through the profile that I like. The finish isn't as crisp as others, which I like, but is still fairly clean in this 100% Arabica blend. Always stocked here at SingleServeEspresso Kitchens. Full Review at our Sister Site

Italian Roast - Definitely dark with a smoky charred wood flavor throughout. Big and bold and a dark roast to bring the flavor home. A little sweetness, but the dark roasted flavors dominate. Good choice if you love the darkest of darks; a bit one dimensional though.

Available Brewers

K-Cups can be brewed in various Keurig brewers, including the B-40 entry level brewer, The B-60 Elite Step Up with 3-cups sizes and auto-shut off, the B-70 Platinum Brewer with an Iced Brew setting, 4-cup sizes, programmable on/off times and a larger reservoir, and the Cuisinart SS-700 stainless brewer with a great look and a huge reservoir.

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Posted by Scott Martin at August 25, 2010 10:23 AM
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