Green Mountain’s Game-Changing Kenya AA

Rating: [rating:4/5] I have long been ambivalent — or at least something of a fence-sitter — where the whole single-cup coffee thing is concerned. Single-cup brewers are, by design, a study in compromise between convenience and quality. Do you want cup-at-a-time accessibility? Or do you want the full range and nuance of aroma, flavor body and balance that only grinding and brewing fresh-roasted beans can offer? I’d kinda like both. But the Clover is out of my price range and wouldn’t fit in my kitchen anyway. I’ve had my hands on what I believe to be most every at-home single serve coffee machine on the market. That would include (in no particular order) machines from Senseo, Tassimo, Keurig, Nespresso, Melitta, Bunn, Grindmaster, Flavia, Juan Valdez, and Black & Decker. Have I missed any? Oh yeah… the Aeropress. While I’m long overdue in writing a full-blown roundup of the single-cup machine landscape — judging by the numbers of folk who flock to single-cup posts in the Bloggle Archives, anyway — this isn’t that article. Instead it’s about a coffee Green Mountain has just released for the Keurig brewer. A coffee that’s something of a game-changer. Green Mountain’s Kenyan AA (the traditional, whole bean version) has won accolades from Kenneth Davids at Coffee Review, where he awarded it a whopping 96 points and described it thusly: A coffee at once voluptuous and austere. Delicately complex aroma: flowers, chocolate, tobacco leaf, lemon grass. In the cup an amazingly rich, wine-like acidity, sweet flowers, and a gently crisp, dry berry fruit. Hints of chocolate re-emerge in the cleanly long, almost perfect finish. Nice....
Are You Pod People?

Are You Pod People?

The PR machinery is running full tilt! It’s single-cup coffee machines — or, pod machines — everywhere you look… Phillips’ Senseo, Melitta One, Black & Decker Home Cafe, and the Keurig Brewer, to name those most buzzed about at the moment. The Senseo reigns at the top of the buzzheap by a large margin, and you can easily find reviews of all stripes, from the usual tech “news” flaks, to geeks with laser-guided temperature probes… even fellow coffee blogger Randy Glass gets in on the game with his own hands-on review. Given the mass-marketed hype, and being a skeptic, I was fully prepared to dislike the Senseo. A lot. Turns out, I don’t dislike it all that much. But keep reading. The Senseo is a smartly-designed and smart-looking home coffee machine. It’s fabulously simple to use, and it appears to be built to stand up to frequent use [the same can not be said of some of its competitors]. I have lingering concerns about its brew temperature. While Randy notes a brew temp of a respectable 190 degrees F. the folks at GadgetMadness record brew temps of a mere 138 to 140 degrees F. which is nowhere near acceptable. I have no particular reason to doubt either report, so I’m left to wonder if there might be a really high temperature variance from machine to machine… that would be a serious problem. Temperature issues aside, it’s not the machine I have a problem with at all. It’s the quality of the coffee — and the source of that coffee — that leaves a bitter taste. Currently, the only coffee...

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