Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Costa Rica Paraiso (Single Origins)

Lately, I’ve noticed a few new additions to the coffee isle on my local store. In the last few weeks, they’ve started stocking several new coffees from Green Mountain’s “Single Origin” series. So, I decided to pick up a box of the Costa Rica Paraiso pods. Single Origin coffees are usually hit or miss for me. I tend to enjoy true Colombian coffee regardless of who makes it, but I’ve never had a single origin Costa Rican coffee.

The first thing I noticed was the earthy, nutty smell of the brew. But, earthy is a good way. The aroma was rich and complex, not burnt or dirty smelling like some coffees tend to be. I was intrigued from the scent alone.  That’s usually a good sign.

Upon sipping the coffee, I was surprised by the creamy, complex flavor. It was not something I was expecting after such a deep aroma during brewing. I found this coffee to be a near-perfect medium roast. It contained just the right amount of bitterness, but you can still taste the natural flavor of the beans. This is something that many coffees seem to have a problem with. Thankfully, this was not the case here.

The more I drank this, the more I found myself enjoying it. In fact, I’ve decided that it’s a darn near perfect cup of coffee. It’s excellent as an early morning kickstarter or even for a mid-day pick-me-up. This might just be one of my new favorites. I urge anyone with a Keurig machine to give this pod a spin. High marks for the Costa Rica Paraiso.

 

Score: 4 out of 4

Would buy again?:  Yes! One of my new favorites. I can’t say enough good things about this coffee. This is right up there with the fine coffees offered by Laughing Man and some of Green Mountain’s other top shelf offerings.

 

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Sunrise Summer Blend

Summer 2017 is finally winding to a close. In a just over a week it will be October and that means it’s time to fuel up on caffeine and stay up late playing horror games! But before we take the first official step into fall and all of the pumpkin spice variations we are sure to discover, let’s take a look at an actual Summer seasonal. A month or so ago, I saw an interesting seasonal coffee that caught my eye… Green Mountain’s “Summer Sunrise Blend”.  Most of the summer coffees that you’ll find are usually some variation of coconut so I was very curious to try a non-flavored variety.

First off, this coffee is labeled as a medium roast. This is true, but it’s certainly a very light medium roast. It’s not dark at all. It is actually very bright with a sort of citrus-sweet earthiness to it. It’s certainly a morning coffee. One that smells stronger during the brew than during tasting, which for hot summer days is actually quite OK.

I found this coffee to be very enjoyable. It’s a very nice blend with a mild, but complex flavor. It is perfect for warm summer mornings. Green Mountain certainly nailed it with this seasonal brew. I like seeing unflavored seasonal blends, and this is a prime example of how to do it. However, like most seasonal selections, this coffee will only be available for a limited time and summer is over… so if you want a box you’d better go hunt one down while you still can.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Yes.  Light-Medium roast with a unique flavor. Perfect blend of citrus and earth. Great for summer mornings.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Golden French Toast

My first post since my month-long hiatus and…. it’s about coffee. For those of you that enjoy my gaming content more, I apologize. But for those who actually enjoy the coffee reviews (and I do here from some of you), here we go!

For this post, I’m going to be talking about a coffee that I’ve spent the last six months or so scouring stores for. I first caught wind of this flavor while browsing the Keurig site, but no one ever seemed to have it in stock. I’m talking about the elusive “Golden French Toast” flavored coffee.  This is one of Green Mountain’s seasonal selections – which season, I’m not really sure… because it seems to be out of circulation.  But as soon as I learned of a “french toast” flavored K-cup, I knew I had to have it. After many months of searching, a reseller finally listed a box on Amazon.

Once it arrived, I eagerly popped a cup into my brewer. I was immediately delighted with the strong aroma of maple syrup and roasted beans. It was a delightful mix. Once the brew was complete, I took my first sip.  This is a light roasted coffee, with a very heavy artificial flavoring. But, thankfully it’s a good flavor. It doesn’t taste “fake”. The coffee itself is somewhat weak. The first thing in the taste profile that stands out is the maple. But the coffee also has a smooth butter and cinnamon finish. The taste balance is very well done.

I admit that despite being excited to try this coffee, I didn’t have very high expectations. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. The Golden French Toast was actually quite enjoyable.

I feel that this coffee is best suited for early mornings, or as an after-dinner desert coffee. The flavoring is strong is could easily clash with a meal. But all in all, I was quite impressed. I hope to see this returned to shelves before too long.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Yes.  Smooth and silky. Light, enjoyable roast, but with a strong maple flavoring. Great for early mornings.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain Coffee – Caramel Vanilla Cream

It’s been a crazy few weeks for me. Aside from burning through both Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood and XV: Episode Prompto, I’ve also been recovering from the Steam summer sale and putting in some extra hours at work. So, thank God for coffee…

This week, I found myself with another Green Mountain flavored selection, the Caramel Vanilla Cream.  As I’ve mentioned before, artificially flavored coffees can be very hit or miss, so picking up a new box is always a gamble. But, I’ve had some luck lately so I figured I’d roll the dice on this one as well.

First thing I noticed was the aroma during the brew cycle was very strong and pleasant! I figured that with such a powerful aroma, this might end up being a rich medium roast coffee, but I was wrong. It’s not specifically stated anywhere on the packaging that I could find, but to me this actually seems to be a light roast – and it really shows. There’s not much here in the way of actual coffee flavor. Instead, the blend is heavily masked by the artificial flavoring. Now, the flavor is not particularly unpleasant… It a rich, creamy, burnt-caramel flavor. But it does taste VERY artificial. There’s obviously nothing natural about this cup. But again, it’s not terrible.  Many of these flavored coffees don’t fare well hot, so this is an example of one of those coffees that is actually better over ice with lots of milk or creamer.

To me, I don’t really understand why this coffee exists. There are other vanilla/french vanilla flavored coffees out there that manage to nail the taste quite well. The same can be said for caramel flavored coffees. Merging the two flavors into one cup sounds like a good idea, I guess. But in practice, it just falls flat.

Score: 2 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Doubtful.  Not terrible, but not particularly good either. The rich, fake flavoring might appeal to kids and casual coffee drinkers. But people who really enjoy the complexity of a rich blend or even a quality single-origin coffee are likely to be turned off by this.

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: Green Mountain – Peru Cajamarca (Organic)

Daylight Savings hit hard this year. The last week or so has proven to be quite a chore in the mornings, but as always, I was able to turn to my good friend the coffee bean to find the motivation needed.  Recently, I stumbled upon an unfamiliar box in the grocery store, a new organic offering from Green Mountain, the “Peru Cajamarca”.

For those that get into all the details, this is another of Green Mountain’s eco-friendly, organic coffees. As you might have guessed, the beans come from the Cajamarca Region of Peru. Which tends to be famous for their low-yield but high-quality beans. It’s a medium roast, with a complex smokey flavor. I was rather surprised at just how flavorful this coffee actually is. There’s a lot of different things going on here. It’s rich, but smooth. It has a bit of a woody flavor to it, but with a subtle caramel apple finish. It all makes for a rather luxurious cup of coffee.

To get down to it; I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this coffee. The Peru Cajamarca has quickly become one of me new favorites. It’s very drinkable, and it’s plain enough to be enjoyed by most. But there is a subtle complexity to it that will satisfy your average coffee snob as well. This is certainly one of Green Mountain’s top-shelf products. I look forward to seeing more in this line.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Yes! In fact, I’ve already gone through two boxes of this stuff in the last month. A simply wonderful coffee for nearly anyone.

Nerd Fuel: Green Mountain – Sumatran Reserve

Today, I’m going back to basics and checking out one of Green Mountain’s organic offerings; the “Fair Trade Certified Organic Sumatran Reserve” – whew what a mouthful! For consumers who are focused on things like fair trade when it comes to coffee purchases, Green Mountain has you covered as they always label their fair trade coffees as such.

Sumatran coffee is popular for it’s earthy, dark chocolaty taste. This cup certainly embodies both of those features. Green Mountain markets this as an “Extra Bold” cup, which means the K-Cup itself is actually packed with more grinds, this gives the coffee a darker, bolder taste. However, despite the extra bold brew, the coffee is not over-bitter. Instead, I found it to be quite smooth, with a dark and complex flavor. As it brews, it releases a rich, woody aroma that I find to be very pleasant. This aroma comes through in the flavors as well. To me, a sip of this coffee starts off with a crisp, burnt wood taste. Followed by an earthy/chocolate aftertaste. It’s very unusual, but quite enjoyable.

This coffee certainly packs a punch. It makes for a great early morning kickstarter. I think that some people might be turned off by how dark and bold this coffee seems to be, it’s certainly not for everyone, but I’ve had much darker brews (and ones that have had less flavor as well). But, if you enjoy dark, complex roasts, this might a keeper for you.

Score: 4 out of 4

Would Purchase again?: Maybe. This is a fine quality coffee in my opinion. But, I do tend to prefer more medium roasts for my day to day drinking. When the occasion strikes that I want a dark coffee, as of now this might be my go-to. I do enjoy it a bit more than the Donut Shop Dark, so the Sumatran Reserve does take the crown as my favorite dark coffee thus far.

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: Green Mountain – Cinnamon Sugar Cookie

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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

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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.