Nerd Fuel: Laughing Man – 184 Duane St. Blend

Next up on my list of coffees is another offering from Laughing Man; the 184 Duane St. Blend.  –  Named after the location of the actual Laughing Man coffee shop in New York city, this is the obligatory “house blend” from Laughing Man.

This is a very mild cup of coffee. It has a nice earthy, roasted scent to it. It’s very smooth and extremely drinkable. It does have a somewhat complex flavor, but this is common with many house/signature blend coffees. I find to be very enjoyable. To be honest, even though I haven’t posted reviews of them yet, I’ve tried all of Laughing Man’s K-Cups and this is my probably my favorite. It’s just as good as their Colombian in terms of quality, but not near as bold. So, it’s very much a matter of opinion as to which is better.

Overall, this a very solid choice. It’s a coffee that’s mainstream enough to serve to nearly any guest, at any occasion, but unique enough to stand out as well. The care and quality is obvious. But, as with Laughing Man’s other branded coffees, it  does come at a bit of a premium price tag.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Yes. The Duane St. Blend has really become a favorite of mine. It ranks right up there with the infamous “Donut Shop” coffee for me. It’s moderate enough for nearly any coffee drinker, but also luxurious enough to stand out on it’s own.

Nerd Fuel: Laughing Man – Colombia Huila

Well, my week-long vacation is starting to wind down but it’s been very productive. This week I’ve clocked in a lot of late nights, many of which were fueled by coffee. For these next few coffee reviews, I’m moving away from the holiday offerings and focusing on some more mainstream selections.  Recently, my local store started carrying the Laughing Man brand.  For those who don’t know, Laughing Man is a popular coffee shop owned by the actor Hugh Jackman. As the story goes, Mr. Jackman went on a trip to Ethiopia, where he met a coffee farmer. The two of them collaborated and Laughing Man Coffee was born.  Recently, Laughing Man and Keurig teamed up to offer K-Cup pods. The rest is history.

There are number of Laughing Man options available for Keurig owners. I’ve tried them all, and I’ll be sharing my review in the next few post. For this first review, I’m going to look at the Colombia Huila offering.

Colombian coffee is very popular. Most major brands offer some type of Colombian option. Laughing Man’s offering is a pure, single-origin coffee. It’s a dark roast, but it’s not at all bitter. In fact, this cup is very smooth, almost silky. It does have a semi-sweet and deep wood-smoke aftertaste that I find quite pleasing. However, if you’re simply not a fan of dark roasts, or generally don’t care for Colombian coffee, this might not be a coffee you’ll enjoy

Some people swear by single-origin coffees. They claim that they offer a purity and singular taste that cannot be rivaled by any blend. I generally prefer blends and in fact, usually find single-origin coffee to be a bit bland. But in this case, I have to walk that back. This coffee is absolutely fantastic. It is simply delicious, yet complex and interesting.  Laughing Man coffee does sell with a premium price tag. A box of 16 cups, sells for about $12.00 in my local store. But I have to confess, it’s worth the price.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?   Yes. This is a great tasting, quality coffee. It makes for a good early morning cup of joe. Some might find the roast to be a little too dark, but I find it very enjoyable.

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: Starbucks – Holiday Blonde Roast

As 2016 winds to a close, I leave you with my final Nerd Fuel coffee review of the year. This time, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a brand that I generally don’t care for; Starbucks. From my experience, most Starbucks coffee tastes burnt and mediocre at best. But, my local grocery store was really pushing this holiday offering from them, so I decided to give it a try.

What we have here is a “Blonde Roast” coffee. A blonde roast is a very lightly roasted bean. So light in fact that the bean doesn’t actually darken. This generally makes for a rather weak coffee. I typically don’t like this type of brew, but considering Starbucks’ has a habit of over-roasting their beans, I decided to give it a try. I have to admit that in this particular case, it works well.

This is actually quite a pleasant coffee. The box claims to have hints of brown sugar, allspice and orange,  but to be honest, these flavors are barely detectable. To me, it tasted like a slightly-weaker, general breakfast blend. But one of good quality. Unlike many holiday coffee blends, there’s no overpowering spice. In fact, I quite liked it.

I made my cup in my typical fashion; sweet Italian creamer, no sugar.  But, I feel that this blend would be ideal for experimenting with different flavored creamers and would also work well as an iced coffee. All in all, this a very nice presentation by Starbucks. Blonde Roast fans should certainly give this coffee a try. Yes, this is a weaker coffee, but somehow it manages to keep a full flavor.

Again, this coffee really surprised me. Many blonde roasts taste watered-down. Not the case here. This is a full-flavored, complex coffee. A very good quality offering from Starbucks.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would buy again?:  YES! This is a unique coffee with a bright interesting flavor. One of my favorite seasonal selections from this year so far.

Nerd Fuel: Donut Shop Coffee – Peppermint Bark

Merry Christmas! It’s here, Christmas 2016. I hope you got tons of games and nerdy goodies this year. Being a parent certainly puts Christmas in a different perspective. As a father of two boys, I still receive a gift or two over the holidays, but the focus shifts from enjoying your own gifts to watching the kids enjoy theirs. Naturally, kids are wound tighter than a steel drum on Christmas Eve so this can make for a late night, if you know what I mean. To get through it, I always rely on a strong cup of coffee.

This year my father came over to visit and brought over a box of Donut Shop – Peppermint Bark coffee. Now, I’m not a big peppermint guy. I like mint in my gum and occasionally in my chocoloate, but I’m in no way a fan of drinking mint.  I don’t like mint cocoa, minty chocolate milk, etc. It’s just not my thing. So I cringed at the thought of a peppermint bark-flavored coffee. But, I’ve been a fan of Donut Shop’s other offerings so I decided to drink it in the name of science!

The brewing process resulted in quite a strong minty-aroma. It was a pleasant smell, but I was certain this was going to result in a buzzfest of mint in my mouth. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. The peppermint flavor is certainly there, but it’s not overpowering. Depiste the “Extra Bold” label, I found it to be somewhat mild and smooth. It works quite well with a sweetened creamer. I enjoyed his coffee hot, but I imagine it would be just as good, if not better as an iced coffee.

Personally, due to my personal preferences, this isn’t a coffee that I see myself buying. But, it certainly wasn’t bad at all. If you’re a fan of peppermint bark, or just mint in general, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. The peppermint flavor does give this coffee a bit of zing, but nothing too extreme. It actually works quite well on a winter night as an after dinner dessert coffee.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would buy again?:   Maybe. This is a decent desert coffee, and it certainly has it’s place in the holiday lineup.  But I’d have to be in mood to drink this. It’s not an everyday cup. Peppermint lovers will really dig this though.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Cinnamon Sugar Cookie


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


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: Donut Shop Coffee – Dark


So, there’s a lot going on in the next thirty days or so that will have my attention. Final Fantasy XV comes out in less than twenty four hours. Star Wars Rogue One is little more than two weeks away (and I still have the prequel novel to get through). So, I can foresee many late nights in the coming days. To get through it, I’m going to need some nerd fuel that has a little kick to it. So I’ve turned my attention to some K-Cups that might be able to help with that.

For this review, I’m going back to one of my favorites. The Donut Shop. But this time, I’m trying one of their variants; “Donut Shop Coffee – Dark”.

A lot of people like dark roasted coffees. But more often than not, many “dark” coffees usually end up tasting burnt and bitter. Thankfully, this is not the case here. Donut Shop Dark, offers the same great flavor found in the Original Donut Shop coffee, but with a much darker, richer roast. This means that the flavor is thicker, with a slight bitterness. But it still allows you to taste the subtle flavors of the brew itself. (Much like a good dark chocolate). The dark roast gives this coffee a little extra jolt, which really helps me get going on these crisp fall mornings.

Fans of the original, that crave a deeper, darker flavor might will find exactly what they are looking for here. But offee drinkers that prefer lighter roasts may want to avoid this cup. Personally, I found it to be enjoyable and perfect for when I need a little bit of a pick-me-up. But, generally speaking, I still prefer the Original Donut Shop overall.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Buy Again?:  Yes. I don’t always feel in the mood for a coffee this dark. But on those occasions that I’m craving some, this brew seems like the perfect option.

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


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


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