Recently, there has been quite a bit of news in the single-cup coffee world, as new competitors enter the market. We’ve been long-time fans of the K-Cup system, from Keurig, that offers convenience and flexibility, and a wide array of pretty sleek machines for both home and office use. With a huge lineup of coffees and varieties, it’s hard to imagine any other entrant being able to make a dent initially, but we definitely welcome any new creation that brings great coffee to a wide audience.
And while we typically brew our coffee piping hot, as summer continues into a still-warm fall, we definitely wanted to try out some iced options as well. Keurig’s parent company, Green Mountain, sent us a few of their blends to sample.
The two best were the Hazelnut Ice Coffee from Green Mountain directly, and a slightly different blend, the Original Donut Shop Nutty Hazelnut. The latter was a quite sweet, with a bit more flavor, though neither offered particularly rich coffee and both were a bit weak on the normal setting (we recommend brewing the smaller setting, over ice, for best results). As with all flavored coffees, these two were divisive: some folks found the aftertaste odd, while others preferred some nuttiness in their java.
For those that like it straight, the Nantucket Blend Iced Coffee is pretty similar to the regular version, though a little more intense and condensed for better results over ice. In fact, we also tried this one hot, and liked it more than the original at higher volumes (bigger brew sizes). Smooth and pretty creamy, this one is great with some sugar and milk, shaken a bit, and enjoyed ice cold. It’s not a super-dark roast, and smells great while brewing and even in the cup.
Finally, Celestial Seasonings also offers options, with their Perfect Iced Tea. Half and Half, Raspberry, and Peach flavors are available as well, though those are sweetened. This one is unsweetened, and scored better with tasters here than the sweetened versions (which use Stevia). It’s a slightly citrusy tea, rather than bold, and is a little bitter even when brewed over ice and with some sugar added. We weren’t huge fans of the tea flavor itself- though it smells great, the taste is a little artificial. But for a quick cup of iced tea, it’s an easy option- and K-Cups generally run $18 or so for a box of $24, available widely.