Trader Joe’s Coffee Cups – Medium Roast K-Cups

If you have a Keurig machine, you know the cost of k-cups. That little cup containing a single serving of coffee can get pretty pricey, especially if they’re not on a really good sale. I realize bags of coffee are far cheaper, but it’s the convenience factor that sucks me and possibly a large number of other folks in.  So when I saw these Trader Joe’s Coffee Cups in Medium Roast I picked them up.
Each box contains 7 individually wrapped k-cups, which sell for $2.99 a box. The cups aren’t your standard plastic k-cup; they have a mesh bottom with a clear plastic lid. I have to say I really like this packaging because I was anticipating it to be similar to the New England coffee k-cups.  The New England k-cups have a mesh bottom and a plastic top, but they’re all in a pouch together which doesn’t exactly keep the coffee in the freshest of forms. At least with the Trader Joe coffee it can sit in its box and each cup will be as fresh as the last because they’re sealed.  Great thinking, Trader Joe’s!
After brewing my first cup I was a little apprehensive. I’m a light roast type-a-gal and I find some medium roasts are too much for me to handle. I gave it a sip when black and found it to be a bit strong, so I added a little extra water, my artificial sweetener and a splash of milk and I was quite surprised. It was really good.  The next day I had one without the extra water and found it to be a very pleasant, smooth cup of coffee. I have to say, I’m a big fan of this product!
I already have this on my Trader Joe’s shopping list to pick up a box or two next time.
What is your favorite type of coffee?

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BzzCampaign: Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified

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I was invited to take part in a BzzAgent campaign for Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified. I opted in because I am undoubtedly a coffee lover and was looking forward to trying out the new flavor.  I don’t mind paying a little more for a cup of coffee that’s going to help in making a difference.
October is Fair Trade Month and Green Mountain stands behind fair trade coffee pretty faithfully. Fair Trade ensures farmers get a fair price for their beans (meaning coffee manufactures aren’t nickel and diming the farmers).  By doing this farmer are able to improve working conditions, invest in their crops, while there’s also assistance in protecting the environment, while it also aids in supporting the community aiding in creating new schools, roads, drinking water, etc. Simply put “Fair Trade means great coffee for you and a better life for farmers.”
This year Kelly Clarkson teamed up with Green Mountain to aid in presenting Fair Trade coffee to the world.  In doing this Kelly Clarkson was able to visit some of the coffee farms. With that Green Mountain created a limited edition Three Continent Blend.  This blend is a delicious blend of beans from Asia, South America and Africa.  The coffee itself is listed as a medium roast that’s extra bold.
I brewed myself a cup of Three Continent Blend and I found it to be delicious. Smooth yet mildly bold. I didn’t find it to be overwhelming on the taste buds, particularly because I’m a light roast type-a-gal. With a packet of sweetener and a little milk it was quite an enjoyable cup.

Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice

The moment fall is close to coming into the picture, fall items start arriving. One of the drinks I absolutely love, but don’t order very often is the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  It’s pumpkin, its latte, and it’s pure magic. So when I spotted the Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice packets on the shelf at Target, I quickly scooped up a box.
I heated up 1 cup of milk, added in the Via packet and stirred it up … and it was HORRIBLE!  Now, I love coffee, but this has a very, very bold coffee flavor to it. I actually picked up more of the coffee flavor than I did any pumpkin.  The packet of mix smelled more of pumpkin in powder form than it did when it was mixed in with my milk.  Once I mixed it with the milk it just smelled of very, very bold coffee.  Now, I admit, I love coffee BUT I’m more of a light and occasional medium roast coffee fan. This was so bold I’d have to water it down to make it palatable, but by then I’d probably end up just drinking 1-2 cups of milk with a mild flavor in the background. I’d have to give it a nice dosing of sugar free pumpkin syrup and a few Equal packets, plus some additional milk to maybe even get a pumpkin flavor.  Needless to say … I was quite bummed, especially since the Via packets are not cheap.
Each pack has 60 calories to it, which is 2 points plus values. You then need to add in your points/calories associated with the type of milk you use.
Do you like any of the Starbucks Via packets?

Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee

When I saw the Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee on a trip through my favorite store I was initially tempted to buy two bottles. My boyfriend said it might make more sense to only buy one incase we found it wasn’t our “cup of tea.”  We both are big coffee (iced or hot) fans … but I have to say I’m glad I took his advice.
I’m a bit torn with this cold brew.  I’ve made cold brew at home and even though it can be a bit tedious, I enjoy mine a lot better.  The coffee itself is concentrated where in order to make a cup of ice coffee it’s one part coffee to two parts milk or water (or any combination of the two).  I made my coffee with ½ cup milk and 1 cup water along with 1 tablespoon of sugar free creamer.  But I have to say … the coffee itself is very bitter.  I felt it was a little reminiscent of Dunkin Donuts coffee but DD’s coffee is not as strong and not quite as bitter.
I’m kind of on the fence. Its okay for a rush type situation where I want ice coffee but don’t have any on hand to make. But it’s definitely not a coffee I’d willingly reach for.  So I guess we can say I’m just meh about this whole experience!
Have you tried cold brew coffee?

Weight Watchers Sweet Hazelnut Latte smoothie

A couple weeks ago Weight Watchers launched a new smoothie product to sell within Weight Watchers locations. When I spotted the Weight Watchers Sweet Hazelnut Latte, I wanted to give it a try especially after my leader mentioned mixing it with her coffee in the morning.
I quite enjoy the Weight Watchers smoothies. I’ve bought a number of flavors over the years and have found some that I really love.  They’re a great, quick source of protein – 7grams per pack. What I like about them the most is they’re portable. I can either make a blended drink at home or I can stuff a pouch in my purse, pour the contents into a bottle of water, shake and I’m ready to go.  I’ve had smoothies both ways, but I ideally enjoy them the most when they’re blended with a bit of ice and if the flavor is suitable – some fruit.
The Sweet Hazelnut Latte is smooth, creamy, and sweet with a satisfying taste of hazelnut. Quite enjoyable, especially if you enjoy hazelnut flavored drinks (coffees) or even desserts. I mixed my packet with water and some coffee, added in 5 ice cubes and blended it up.  It was perfect and since smoothies are not something I guzzle down, it took a little while to drink which fully satisfied me.
I feel this would be a very versatile addition to a coffee lover’s life. You could add some to your coffee in the morning instead of using milk or creamer.  Since it does change the color of the drink to a light muddy brown color, it’s passable. I don’t put much milk or creamer in my coffee – just enough to slightly change the shade and this will do the trick. I plan on experimenting with it to see how I enjoy it and how much I can stretch it (by adding coffee to it, etc.).  Overall this is definitely a 2 thumbs up purchase for me!
Have you tried the new Sweet Hazelnut Latte smoothie?

Dunkin Donuts Jelly Donut Coffee

I love shopping at Target and I always get a little excited when I find a new item that is only available in a Target store.  I buy a lot of my coffees at Target – whether ground bags or k-cups, so I frequent the aisle often.  Needless to say, when I spotted new Bakery Series line by Dunkin Donuts I was immediately intrigued – so intrigued I had to pick up the Jelly Donut.
There are a few flavored ground coffees by Dunkin Donuts that I do enjoy (Pumpkin and Strawberry Shortcake is by far one of my favorites).  I spotted a few different flavors available – chocolate donut, plain cake donut, caramel cinnamon cake and jelly donut.  I had to scoop up the jelly donut after having seen it on two different Target stops.  I admit, the chocolate donut would have swayed me but I enjoy the Entenmanns’s Chocolate Donut as well as the Donut Shop Chocolate Donut k-cups.
The morning after purchase, I brewed a pot of coffee for my boyfriend and I.  It smelled very fragrant while it brewed but I found the coffee was rather mild in flavor. The jelly donut flavor wasn’t a pow-like flavor but it did offer a mild … I want to say raspberry flavor.  Not entirely reminiscent of a jelly donut – but undoubtedly a different flavor in comparison to the coffee lineup in my cabinet.  The coffee itself seemed to be a medium roast. I prefer light roasts so I’d need to be lighter handed when measuring this out for brewing.
Have you tried any of the new Dunkin Donuts Bakery Series coffees?

Almond Breeze Vanilla Iced Coffee

I am a coffee lover and I am also a fan of almond milk, so when I saw they had an almond milk iced coffee out, I immediately had to purchase it. Out of the flavors available in my local grocery store, I decided to go with the vanilla.  The other flavors available are original, mocha, caramel macchiato, and vanilla.
I’ve mixed almond milk into my ice coffees and it’s not bad, but this vanilla ice coffee is delicious.  It’s a very smooth ice coffee and creamy in texture.  It really reminds me of the super sugar packed International Delight ice coffees, yet healthier.  It’s also good to cut with ice coffee at home – which is how I’ve been enjoying it recently.  I’ve been using ½ cup of almond milk ice coffee with about 2/3 cup brewed ice coffee. Since the almond milk ice coffee is creamy it blends together well.
This is not bad nutritional facts wise.  A full serving – 1 cup will run you 3 points plus values, whereas a ½ cup serving will cost you 1 points plus value.
Surprisingly my boyfriend really enjoys this ice coffee, which means this will end up being a regular item on our shopping list.  Why is this surprising?  He refuses to drink almond milk … but I admit this is a whole different twist and it doesn’t taste like almond milk.
Have you tried the Almond Breeze ice coffee?

Cold Brew Coffee

I happen to LOVE coffee, especially ice coffee.  Unfortunately that love for ice coffee usually puts a pretty dent in both my pocket as well as my boyfriends.  To try to save money we’ve begun making ice coffee at home.  I try to jazz it up using different flavors of coffees, different creamers and even different sugar free syrups. One night I stumbled upon this online topic around cold brew coffees.  I decided I needed to try it at home, so I ordered a sifter and a set of funnels on Amazon. Sure, quite an investment for something I wasn’t sure if I was going to like … but I figured I could use these tools in the kitchen regardless.
I have made 4 separate pitchers of this coffee and I have to say, I am QUITE a fan. My boyfriend loves it as well, so this is going to be a staple coffee in my household.  It is a time consuming process because you have to let the coffee sit for at least 12 hours overnight in the refrigerator.  You then need to strain the coffee grounds off the liquid and then strain the liquid through a coffee filter.
Tasks aside, this is the smoothest, tastiest coffee I’ve ever had.  The flavors are far more pronounced, the brew is not bitter and it just makes a perfect iced coffee.
Depending on how strong you like your coffee, you’d have to play with the ratio but this is how both my boyfriend and I enjoy our coffees:
Cold coffee brew:
1 ¾ cup ground coffee
3 ½ cups of cold water
Shake contents and place into a refrigerator for at least 12 hours.  When done sift off grounds and then strain liquid through a coffee filter.
Ice coffee:
1 cup cold brew coffee
1 cup cold water
Milk or creamer (to your color consistency)
Sweetener (if you take it)
When I make my ice coffee it’s either 0 or 1 points plus (depending on the amount of skim milk I put into it).  Overall, I love it and cannot wait to experiment with more coffee flavors!


Have you ever made cold brew coffee?

Archer Farms S’Mores Light Roast Coffee

I spotted this new limited time only flavor from Archer Farms while at Target and decided I needed to pick it up to give it a try.  I happen to be a huge coffee lover and since going out and getting coffee almost every day can surely cause a dent in your pocket especially when you’re getting coffee for two.
The coffee was on sale for $5.99 a bag, but I’ve found I enjoy the Archer Farms brand of coffee – particularly the light roast flavored variety.  The S’Mores flavor is advertised as showcasing the flavors of toasted marshmallow and graham crackers.  I did try this hot, but I also made iced coffees out of it and I have to say it’s utterly delicious.  You can definitely notice a very mild marshmallow flavoring with a hint of graham cracker and perhaps even chocolate in the background.  But the more prominent flavoring being that of the marshmallow — it’s not overwhelming, it’s very subtle on the palette.  I’m sure you could try to increase the flavor intensity by adding more grounds before brewing, but that would depend on how you enjoy your coffee.
Quite a delish cup and hopefully it’s still on the shelves when I need to purchase another bag of coffee ground!
Have you tried any Archer Farms coffees? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?

Café Cup

As an avid coffee drinker and Keurig owner I know how expensive K-cups can get, especially if you are having company over or are having more than 1 cup of coffee a day. I’ve found blends of coffee that are totally delicious and curb a particular food craving I may be having. My new favorite is Pistachio Ice Cream (which I have yet to find in store – but my local coffee house sells [its ground bean not liquid flavored]).  Since I do enjoy coffee, I don’t mind experiencing different flavors although if you purchase a box of K-Cups for $7 and end up disliking it … it’s a waste of $7 if you know what I mean.
After seeing these Café Cups on sale at CVS and Walgreen’s for months, I finally decided to give them a shot because my boyfriend picked up the box and was also interested.  I happened to have a 25% off coupon for CVS that day, so instead of the original $9.99 these are sold for we got them for $7.50.
Café Cups are essentially a reusable k-cup.  It’s a plastic designed cup with a mesh outer side. You flip the top open, scoop in your flavored coffee (out of a bag – the cheapest way to purchase coffee), close the lid and insert it into your Keurig. You can make the coffee as strong or as light as you wish since it is a refillable unit; it’s catered to your taste.
The best part about this is that it fits in ALL Keurig machine units.  Keurig sells their own version of a refillable coffee filter (which retails for I believe $24.99) but it only fits into the larger units, not the mini’s, etc.  In my mind, who likes to save a penny when possible, why spend $25 on a unit, when you can spend $10 and get 4 of essentially the same thing that’s reusable, refillable and convenient?
Best invention yet for a Keurig!
Have you tried the Café Cups?