K-Cup Challenge: Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions
The end of fall means a couple of things here at Qwowi.com. First it means the end of the golf season in the northeast, which makes me generally miserable. On the upside it means that the seasonal winter blends are starting to trickle on to the market. Last year I reviewed Green Mountain’s Holiday Blend, which isn’t only a great winter blend, it’s also become one of my favorite K-Cups in a more general sort of way (the box lasted less than a week). This year we’re getting a jump on the Holiday season; already having received samples of both Coffee People’s Santa’s Buzz, and Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions from our friends at Shoffee.com. For reasons no more complicated than the simple fact that it’s been a really long time since I’ve reviewed a non-flavored offering from Gloria Jean’s, I decided I’d start with Holiday Tradtions.
A flavorful coffee with undertones of milk chocolate and caramel
Chocolaty, with the faintest hint of pine. Reminds me a bit of what I call the Caribou smell.
Drinking it Black
I love it when the flavors I taste hold true to the description. I’m definitely getting a lot of milk chocolate flavor here. Maybe not as much caramel, however. Maybe it’s just my mind settling in to the notion of the holidays, but I think I’m tasting that same hint of pine that I smelled. Yeah…I’m definitely drinking a tree. It’s subtle though, very subtle. I like it.
In terms of drinkability, it’s relatively mild, and drinks easy black. Acidity is relatively mild, and there’s barely a trace of bitterness. I can’t imagine I’ll ever reach the point where I prefer my coffee black, but Holiday Traditions is certainly manageable with nothing added.
With Cream and Sugar
After cream and sugar are added, the chocolate and caramel flavors become even more pronounced. You can’t help but breath them in as your mouth moves closer to your cup to take a sip. I’m still tasting the slightest of something else…still pine? The finish is caramelly. So if you’re keeping track at home it goes chocolate, pine, caramel. At least that what I’m getting out of it.
Over the course of several cups I’ve learned that Holiday Traditions is one of those blends that terribly easy to over sweeten, so take it easy with whatever form of granulated crystal you use to soften your coffee up a bit. For what it’s worth my wife does not like Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions. She doesn’t like caramel, and consequently, probably wont’ be drinking this one again.
I’ve been accused of more or less having it out for Gloria Jean’s. While there have been a couple (and it’s only been 2, I think) GJ Coffee’s I really liked, Gloria Jean’s is far and away my least favorite of the K-Cup manufacturers. Maybe it’s my east coast tongue not always agreeing with a west coast coffee, but whatever it is, it seldom sits right with me. My take on things is that GJ’s does a really good job with the non-flavored stuff, but flails and fails with flavored coffee, and unfortunately (at least as far as I’m concerned), Gloria Jean’s makes a lot of flavored coffee.
Past experience aside, I generally like Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions blend, but…(yup, there’s a but) if there is a knock on Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions, it’s that even though it’s not a flavored coffee, it tends to drink like one. It has an almost hot chocolate-like quality; a mocha without explicitly advertising as much, and at times the caramel finish is more than I enjoy. While mostly that’s not a bad thing, there seems to come a point before the bottom of every cup where I’ve simply had enough, and where I find myself wishing I was drinking something else.
My bottom line is that while Gloria Jean’s Holiday Tradition is ins’t a bad way to kick of the holiday season, I’m thinking, at least for me anyway, there are better winter blends. For those who enjoy a surplus of chocolate and caramel flavors in their coffee, this one should prove popular.
Like some many of our samples, our winter care package came from our good friends at Shoffee.com. I could tell you about Shoffee’s great prices, incredible selection, or their ever-growing reputation for outstanding customer service, but why take my word for it? Visit Shoffee on facebook, and you’ll find over 1000 fans and customers who are rabid about their coffee, and equally as devoted to buying from the Web’s Favorite Coffee Shop (that’s Shoffee). Shoffee can most definitely hook you up with a box or ten of Gloria Jean’s Holiday Traditions, or just about anything else you Keurig Brewer desires. Also check out their Cup of The Week site for a special deal on a special box of K-Cups each and every week.
While you’re here, check out all of the reviews in my personal K-Cup Challenge.