REVIEW: Maple Cream coffee from Reunion Island

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maplecookies

One of my favourite cookies when I was growing up was the Ultimate Maple Leaf from Dare.

As soon as I caught the scent of brewing Maple Cream coffee from Reunion Island, I was instantly transported back to snack time as a kid.

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The maple is subtle but instantly recognizable and so comforting. I’m not sure I would drink it every day – it tastes like a “special occasion” coffee, if that makes any sense 🙂 but I’m glad I finally tried it and I’d definitely have it again.

SALE ALERT!  Culture Coffee Bean in Toronto has the 18-pack boxes on sale for $5.90!

 

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REVIEW: Chocolate Cannoli Coffee from Cake Boss

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chocolate_cannoli_grandeSunday morning is a good time to treat yourself and I decided to do just that with a cup of Chocolate Cannoli coffee from Cake Boss.

I don’t know why but I may have been a bit leery of trying this one. Maybe the whole “hype” around celebrity branding but I have to say, this was a delicious brew!

I added a splash of Kahlua syrup and some sweetener and am now enjoying it with a few social tea bicsuits.

It’s a lighter brew and although I do prefer a medium to dark roast, this was a nice treat and that chocolate aroma is just too delicious to ignore. I’m adding this to my shopping list!

MY RATING: starstarstarstarstargrey

  • Flavour:
  • Roast: Light-medium

 

PRICING:

New Brews: Martinson Dark Roast & Grove Square Cappuccino

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Shaking things up in the kitchen again with 2 more brews I picked up at John Vince Foods last week.

martinson_darkMARTINSON DARK ROAST
I seem to have become a bit of a dark roast fan, so when I saw this dark roast from Martinson, I had to try it. The good news? It did not disapppoint!

I opted for a regular brew (i.e. not using the PULSE method on my Bunn) and it was the perfect brew. Dark, rich and velvety without being overpowering.

I added a splash of sugar-free Hazelnut Torani syrup and used coconut milk to lighten it and it was divine. I’ll definitely grab this one again.

The bad news? My 2nd new brew didn’t fare as well.

grovesquare_vanillacapFRENCH VANILLA CAPPUCCINO FROM GROVE SQUARE
Up to now, I’ve only tried the hot chocolate from Grove Square so I was looking forward to trying the French Vanilla Cappuccino. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

Maybe it’s because I had it as my morning brew, when I’m used to something with more kick, but I just wasn’t that into it.

I actually did opt to use the PULSE option on this one but it didn’t really make a difference. I went with 10-oz. Of water as I do for most of my brews when using the K-Cup drawer on my Bunn, but I’m thinking maybe this would have turned out better with just 8-oz.

The taste was more instant hot chocolate than cappuccino and although it did have a French Vanilla flavor, I just wasn’t sold. I also picked up the Hazelnut version of their cappuccino so I’ll try using less water when I brew it but I don’t know that I’ll be making this a repeat buy.

PRICING:

Martinson Dark Roast

Grove Square Cappuccino

New Brews: Brooklyn Bean Roastery and Cake Boss

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My little Bunn has been working on overdrive today. I know I live in Canada and it is, after all, winter, but come on…there are only so many Extreme Cold Weather Alerts a girl can take!

Having said that, these frigid days are the perfect excuse to have multiple coffees and today, I tried 2 new ones!

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The first is Hazelnut flavored coffee from Brooklyn Bean Roastery.

I’m a sucker for anything Hazelnut flavored so I knew I had to give this one a try. In comparison to the Folgers Hazelnut, which I’ve already bought 2 boxes of, this one had a lighter nutty flavor, not as pronounced as the Folgers K-cup, but I still liked it. Next time, I’m going to use the “PULSE” option on the Bunn to see if that makes much of a difference.

BBR-hazelnut

cakebossMy second cup of the day was Chocolate Fudge Cake by Cake Boss. There is a distinct chocolate scent when it is brewing which tastes light and subtle. When compared to the Mocha Swirl from Folgers I’d say it is more mellow, whereas the Folgers instantly reminds me of those booze-filled chocolates that come out around Christmas, aka. a little more decadent.

I did use the PULSE option on the Bunn for this cup and I think it nicely enhanced the chocolate flavor without making it taste bitter.

PRICING
I picked up Brooklyn K-Cup at John Vince Foods, priced at $0.69CAN per cup.

Other prices:
$15.99CAN for 24 at http://www.singlecup.ca
$16.99CAN for 24 (or $0.89 ea.) at http://www.ecscoffee.com

The Chocolate Fudge Cake by Cake Boss was a gift from my beloved (he got me a mixed pack at Cultured Coffee Bean), but I see they are on sale right now – an 18-pack for $10CAN

Other Prices:
$16.99CAN for 24 at http://www.ecscoffee.com
$16.49CAN for 24 at http://www.singlecup.ca

Folgers Gourmet Selections Mocha Swirl Coffee

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I picked up a new flavour of K-cup at the grocery store last night so I decided to give it a SWIRL this morning…(swirl…get it?!)

Mocha Swirl is one of the flavours in Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cups and let me just say the couldn’t have chosen a more perfect name for it.

With my first sip, I was instantly reminded of chocolate truffles. The taste is rich but without being overpowering.

I’ve also tried the Hazelnut Cream flavour and I’m hard-pressed to find a favourite yet. Both are equally delicious.

I added a little Irish Cream creamer and a dash of cinnamon to my mug this morning, but the flavour is so yummy that you could easily get away with drinking it black or with a little milk  sugar if that’s your thing.

I also spied the Black Silk K-cups from the same line so I’ll definitely be picking those up when my current supply runs out. I’m a dark roast lover so I’m curious to see how the Black Silk holds up.

Have you tried Mocha Swirl or any of the other flavours in the Gourmet Selections line by Folgers? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Bunn MyCafe MCU Single-Serve Coffee Maker

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I’ve been a French Press enthusiast for a while now, but to tell you the truth, our local grocery stores have been carrying less & less whole bean coffee (which is the best to use with French Press).

My options?

  • Use pre-ground coffee (which will still work in a French press but can clog the screen, make it more difficult to press, or escape through the screen and end up in your cup)
  • make a trip to one of the grocery stores that offers whole bean coffee (not great for the convenience factor)
  • order online (which is great in theory, but when they only offer free shipping on orders over $50 and I’m the sole coffee drinker in the house…)
  • or take the plunge and add a single-cup brewer to the mix

Now, I did my research when thinking about getting a single-cup brewer. I knew all about the various options out there (and there are many now!) but I knew what I was looking for – flexibility.

This is why the Bunn MyCafe MCU is the perfect fit for me!

WHAT IT BREWS
Chances are, if you’ve been to a restaurant, you’ve seen a Bunn. They are popular commercial brewers (in fact, the restaurant I went to last night had one!) and now they’ve gotten into the single-cup game.

The Bunn MyCafe MCU lets you brew a variety of drinks, including:

  • K-cups
  • Soft pods, tea bags
  • Ground coffee
  • Loose tea
  • Hot water (for tea, hot chocolate, soup, oatmeal, etc.)

Bunn MyCafe MCU

COOL FEATURES
The Bunn is so flexible because it has 4 different brew drawers to fit different single-cup pods/cups as well as ground coffee/loose tea and hot water. This was the key feature that sold me on it!

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Different drawers have different depths

 

I also love that the MyCafe has the Pulse Brew option for when you are brewing tea, or to extend the contact time for bolder coffee. Basically, it steeps your brew by pausing the brew cycle a few times for richer flavor. Love it, used it already on a soft pod coffee and yes, the flavor was rich and wonderful without being bitter.

PRICE
While it’s a bit pricey when compared to some other single-cup brewers, the fact that you are not tied to just one type of single-serve pod or cup makes it totally worth it. Add to that the fact that you can brew loose leaf tea and ground coffee, as well as have piping hot water at the ready for hot chocolate, oatmeal, tea, soup etc., the price is well worth it, in my opinion.

EASE OF USE: Basically, after the initial set-up (which just consists of doing 2-3 brews of water alone), the Bunn is ready to brew! It has an internal hot water tank that keeps it at-the-ready and the Pour-In Bowl has clearly marked ounces, making it easy to determine your ideal size cup of coffee.

BREWING NOTES
So far, I’ve used the K-cup and soft pod drawers and have had no trouble with them.

I tried the ground coffee drawer this morning and I didn’t really find it any more messy than using my French Press. I’m used to scooping out the grounds from my Bodum beaker and cleaning the screen, but I may still try to hack a coffee filter or find small ones to see if that would make a difference at all.

SIZE & MAKE
Since the MyCafe doesn’t have a storage reservoir for water. Each time you brew a cup, you need to add water, which isn’t a problem for me since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house and prefer to add fresh water anyway.

The internal water tank holds anywhere from 4 to 14 ounces, allowing you to adjust to suit your tastes.

For such a compact unit, it is very sturdy, with a removable drip tray that allows you to fill not just standard mug sizes but travel mugs as well.

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K-Cup drawer with shorter travel mug (note that the Drip Tray is installed)

 

CUP SIZES

Because of its compact size, you may have trouble using travel mugs in the MyCafe. You can remove the drip tray to fit taller travel mugs and in fact, I did that this morning and my travel mug just fit under the ground coffee drawer (which is one of the deeper drawers).

My tallest travel mug is a 12-oz. travel mug, which measures 7-inches tall, so you may want to keep that in mind when purchasing. There’s always the option of brewing into a regular mug and pouring it into your travel mug afterward. No biggie.

Travel mug under the Ground Coffee drawer

Taller travel mug under the Ground Coffee drawer (note that I have removed the Drip Tray)

 

EDITED TO ADD: I went to use my red travel mug above with the K-cup drawer today but alas, it wouldn’t fit. No bother, I used a different mug, but just thought I’d let you know 🙂

WARRANTY
I’ve heard great things about Bunn and their Customer Service. The My Cafe comes with a two-year limited warranty, and warrants any replacement unit for two years, as well. Not bad!

FINAL THOUGHTS
I have nothing but good things to say about the Bunn MyCafe. It is easy to use, offers great variety and brews up a cup of coffee quickly.

If you want to make different drinks, be able to control how they are made, and great value for your dollar, the Bunn MyCafe is the perfect choice. You will not be disappointed.

MY RATING (out of 5)
PRICE: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 pricing varies (my local shop has it at $209 CAN which includes all 4 drawers)
EASE OF USE: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
CLEAN-UP: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (clean-up of the ground coffee drawer knocked this one down a star but it is not much of a hassle in my opinion)

 BUNN – HOW IT WORKS

Here’s a quick video from Bunn showing the versatility of the MyCafe.

 

 

Cultured Coffee Bean

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I’m serious about my coffee and I’m not ashamed to admit I love flavoured coffee.

In my quest to find a local source for flavoured beans as well as sugar-free coffee syrups, I stumbled upon a coffee haven just 5 minutes from my house!

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Cultured Coffee Bean has been around since 2006 but they recently opened a new location at 1400 O’Connor Drive in Toronto.

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Their website says they have over 300 different varieties of coffee so I knew I had to check it out.

Let me just say, if you’re looking for coffee pods, K-cups, Tassimo pods or anything similar, this is the place to be! I’d say half of the store is filled with pods of every variety.

Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Tassimo and the aforementioned K-cups are all there so you will not lack for choice.

Now, I don’t own a pod brewer yet, so I was there to seek out both the Hazelnut Whole Coffee Beans (my favourite flavour) and the Maple Cream flavour, but alas, I didn’t see much in the way of beans that day.

german-chocolate-cake-coffee-1lb-lrgThey had a few half-pound packages of whole beans so I scooped up the German Chocolate Cake flavour (review coming soon…). I’m not sure if it was because I was there at the end of the day and that’s why the selection was low, but I admit, I was a bit disappointed.

 

Having said that, they have a huge selection on their website so the next time I’ll probably either call to see what they have in stock or just buy online (but it was nice to go in and browse). I asked one of the staff about their stock and she said they do bring in new roasts every week so that’s great news.

In terms of syrups, the entire back wall of the shop is filled from top to bottom with every variety of syrup you can think of. Torani & Monin in both regular & sugar-free varieties – I picked up the Hazelnut Sugar-free but I know I’ll be back to grab the Orange, Chocolate and Mint for my holiday coffee making adventures.

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My helper at the checkout also went to grab me a pump for my syrup and I saw another staff member demonstrating some equipment to another customer, so you are definitely treated with excellent customer service when you visit.

Add to that a great selection of coffee brewers, equipment and accessories, I know I’ll definitely be making a regular stop at Cultured Coffee Bean for all my coffee needs.

My rating (out of 5)

SERVICE: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

SELECTION: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

PRICING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟