Nerd Fuel: Tim Horton’s – Original Blend

It has been a few months since I made a Nerd Fuel post. To be honest, my post frequency on the site has been down considerably since the start of the year. I’ve been spending every last free minute grinding away at Xenogears. (A behemoth of a game.) I finally completed the title today (a review will be coming shortly), and I don’t think it would have been possible without the help of my good friend caffeine. As always, my quest for the perfect cup of joe continues. This time, I found myself back in the “donut shop” with a box of Tim Horton’s Original Blend.

So far on this site I’ve reviewed a number of “Donut-Shop”-style coffee. But Tim Horton’s is one variety that has eluded me until now. Some people swear by it. But for those American readers who, like me, live in the southern part of the country – the name Tim Horton’s may not ring any bells. It is not a brand that has a foothold in this part of country. But up north and especially in Canada, it is a household name. Tim Horton’s is a popular restaurant/bakery and, as you might have guessed, they are also famous for their coffee. I’ve personally never been to a Tim Horton’s so when this box arrived in the mail I was very eager to see if it lived up to the hype.

I went in expecting a pretty mild, run-of-the-mill flavor. That is exactly what I got. In both aroma and in taste, there was absolutely nothing spectacular about this cup. It is very mild and smooth and like most “donut shop” offerings, it is designed to please nearly everyone. It is enjoyable, but not particularly compelling. When compared against other coffees of the same type, I feel like it beats Dunkin Donut on richness. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Krispy Kreme or The Coffee People’s “Donut Shop”. That being said, I can easily imagine it to be the favorite of many coffee-drinkers. With this type of brew, a lot of it boils down to region. If you grew up on the stuff, you’re likely to favor it over a competitor. But in reality, if we are being honest with ourselves, they are all pretty much the same (save for some minor nuances).  For me personally, “Donut Shop” is still the reigning champion in the category.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Maybe. It’s not bad. It should be acceptable to nearly anyone, but there are some better options out there.

Nerd Fuel: Krispy Kreme – Smooth

The first Nerd Fuel post of 2018 is here! As you know, one of my favorite types of coffee is what is known as “Donut Shop” coffee. Donut Shop style coffee is a basic, middle-of-the-road brew. It’s designed to please everybody. There’s nothing particularly special about it… But, it’s a bit a comfort food for many. In the US, coffee served at Dunkin Donuts is often the first brand to come to mind, plus its actually origin of the name “Donut Shop”. On this site, I’ve reviewed a number of “Donut Shop” style coffees and recently I was given a box of Krispy Kreme pods. This is a brand I’ve never sampled before. So let’s see how it holds up.

Of course, who in the US hasn’t had a Krispy Kreme donut? I’ve certainly had my share, but I’ve actually never bothered with their coffee before. My wife and I were given a box for Christmas, and one of the first things I did was tear into it. Right away I noticed that unlike most other Donut Shop style coffees, Krispy Kreme serves up a light roast instead of the standard medium roast. Or at least they claim to. To me, the coffee both looks and tastes like a medium roast. But, it doesn’t smell particularly strong. So, who knows.

Despite not having a powerful aroma, the coffee does have a nice fresh scent. The grounds certainly seem to be of a high quality. As far as taste goes, the name of this coffee is spot-on. It has a very pleasant and smooth quality to it. It’s flavorful and it has a surprisingly rich body to it. It was a pleasure to drink.

I honestly didn’t expect much from this brand, but it turned out to be a pretty solid brew. As far as Donut Shop coffees go, I actually like it a bit more than Dunkin Donut’s house blend. But, it still doesn’t beat out the champion Donut Shop Brand coffee in my opinion.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would buy again?:  Maybe. To me, Donut Shop is the still king for this genre of brew. But if there’s none to be found, Krispy Kreme will certainly work a very solid second choice.

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: Dunkin Donuts – Original Blend


I’ve been away for a week on vacation, but I’m back with another “Nerd Fuel” post. So far in this series, I’ve rambled on about Donut Shop style coffees on more than one occasion. I’ve reviewed Donut Shop and Donut House – both of which are knock-offs of Dunkin Donuts classic original coffee. So… why not take a moment to check out the real thing? Well, I drove down to my local Dunkin Donuts store and bought a box of their Original Blend coffee to see what all the fuss was about.

I have to admit, while I love Dunkin Donuts, I’ve only ever really had their donuts. I’ve never bothered with their coffee. Until recent years, I’ve always enjoyed iced coffees or flavored cappuccinos more than a simple pot of brewed coffee. But despite never being a consumer of their brew, I’ve been well aware of the reputation it carries. After falling in love with the “Donut Shop” K-Cups, I was eager to try to real deal.

So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s very similar to “Donut Shop”. In fact, it’s almost identical. Assuming the Donut Shop people were trying to make a clone of Dunkin Donuts Original Blend, they have come really close. However, I did detect some subtle differences. Dunkin Donuts seems to be a little lighter, not quite as rich. Some people will no doubt prefer this. Personally, for me, Donut Shop still has an edge when it comes to flavor. At this time, it’s still my favorite everyday coffee. But, as I mentioned, this is largely going to be a matter of personal preference. Both coffees are great general purpose blends. The Dunkin Donuts does sell for about a dollar more per box. So, that alone may be the deciding factor for many. All in all, considering this is the original that everyone tries to imitate – Dunkin Donuts is certainly doing something right. Despite my preference for Donut Shop, this coffee ranks right up there with it.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Buy Again?:  Maybe. This is a solid cup of coffee. But, I do prefer the Donut Shop brand to this. Donut Shop first – then this if I can’t find any.