Nick Rutigliano '18
PILA is over and exam season will soon be upon us. This next month will leave the best of us weary and exhausted. For those of us that will be spending a significant portion of our waking hours in the library, the Keurig machines in MyLab offer sweet, sweet temporary reprieve. Free coffee in the library is one of the most appreciated perks of being a student here, and we have access to a nice variety of coffee at the press of a button. As part of this investigative piece, I took the time to sample them all and offer my thoughts on each blend.
Disclaimer – any negative opinions expressed are purely out of jest. This author appreciates all of the fine coffees available to us here and would never mean to genuinely disparage them. Please don’t ever take the coffee away.
Columbian Fair Trade Select
Described as “classically balanced with a ripe fruit finish,” this is actually a pretty good cup of coffee. It’s a nice medium roast, and true to its description, very balanced and smooth with a pleasant after taste. I’m really not sure what this “ripe fruit” is all about, but this cup finishes with a nice acidity that plays off the caramel notes up front.
As far as K-Cups go, this blend will actually deliver a somewhat complex flavor profile. Rich aromas of a heavy dark roast linger after the initial dark, cocoa flavors develop. Minimal acidity with some pleasing bitterness as the coffee finished.
Newman’s Special Blend
This is good, it’s just not much to write home about. Or in this case, write in the Law Weekly about. If someone just wanted “a cup of coffee,” this is probably their best bet. The initial flavor is subtle and balanced and will not linger long on the palate. In my opinion, this K-Cup also probably has the highest quality grind and coffee beans, but I’m basing that on nothing but haphazard sampling and speculation.
Sumatran Reserve Magic
Most pleasant and intriguing aroma, but somewhat disappointing flavor profile. As the coffee brews, sweet caramel and butterscotch notes emanate from the Keurig. Your mind starts to wander and your anticipation grows. I honestly can’t write a review for what the actual coffee tasted like because I forgot. It just tasted like coffee. I think. I don’t know. It wasn’t nearly as memorable as it smelled. I’m sure it was just fine.
The description on the box for this coffee is apt (“light roast”). Keurigs have a tendency to brew coffee lightly as is, and this roast is very light. Unfortunately, not “light” in the “bright and cheery start to your day!” kind of light–more like, “this kind of tastes like flavored water” light. Which is okay! Some people prefer that, I guess. It doesn’t taste bad by any stretch–it just doesn’t taste like much at all. But it still has caffeine so that is a good thing.
Another apt description (“dark roast”) and the polar opposite of the Breakfast Blend. I’m a believer in dark roasts, but this is just a tad much. The flavor is very deep with a heavy roast that borders on being too harsh. The coffee finishes somewhat unpleasantly with a burnt taste. I’m also sure this isn’t a technically term (nor if it makes sense), but this coffee tastes gritty. Every sip is like the last sip of a French pressed coffee when you accidentally drink a bit of that sediment that sunk to the bottom. I felt like I needed to check my teeth after drinking.
Look, take my opinions on flavored coffees with a grain of salt because I’ve come across very few flavored coffees in my life that I’ve actually enjoyed. Most of them – like this particular flavor – simply overpower the coffee flavor. I take my coffee black for a reason – I want the coffee flavor to come through. The box’s reminder that this coffee is “artificially flavored” is unnecessary because you’ll know as soon as you take a sip. I wouldn’t drink this again because I really disliked the aftertaste. The coffee actually had a kind of nice, interesting taste at first – very sweet with some hints of vanilla. But, the “artificial-ness” asserts itself at the end and, literally, leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
This coffee kind of smelled like something burning in the oven as it brewed. Maybe a burnt ham? Regardless, not the type of scent you want to prime your taste buds for a cup of coffee. With admittedly low expectations going in to the tasting, I was not pleasantly surprised by the flavor. The flavor was very assertive with an initial heavy, charred flavor that finished bitterly.
I’ve never tasted a real hazelnut before, and I don’t really want to after drinking this coffee. I don’t understand why nut-flavored coffee is a thing. In my opinion, it is a very bad thing.
French Roast Decaf and Newman’s Special Decaf
Best of luck on exams everyone. May you stay alert, refreshed, and well-caffeinated. Stay tuned for K-Cups Ranking Part Deux, The Tea Edition, in 2017.
1 I know I sound like a coffee snob. I tried my best to avoid doing so. It couldn't be done.
2 Maybe. I'm much more of a coffee person.