Fall is my favorite season. What’s not to love? The air turns cool but isn’t freezing yet; the leaves change colors and make great crunchy noises as you tramp through them; Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner; college football starts and so do the baseball playoffs. (Okay, probably not for my team this year, but shut up.) And alongside all that, pumpkins begin their annual 2 1/2 months of relevance. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ale… it’s all terrific. And this year, I got really excited when I heard that Dunkin’ Donuts was releasing pumpkin coffee for use with Keurigs.
In case anyone is as clueless as I was until recently, a Keurig is a type of coffee maker that brews java quickly. You load it with small containers called K-Cups and through dark sorcery (allegedly), it spits out a cup of coffee a minute later. I got one for my wife for our last anniversary, and I’m convinced it’s her favorite thing I’ve ever bought her. Mind you, I have at various times given her an engagement ring, a Coach purse, diamond earrings, and two children. Pretty sure this still tops the list.
What’s surprising is just how much I was looking forward to DD’s pumpkin coffee, since I usually find coffee disgusting, or at best acceptable with loads of milk and sugar. But… pumpkin! Pumpkin makes it all better, right? That’s the operating theory, anyway: pumpkin and the spices, which sounds like either a Motown group or a Saturday morning cartoon. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t watch it.
I don’t want to spend too much time on the packaging, but it’s both eye-catching and visually appealing. The multicolored leaf pattern and orange and brown hues draw attention without overwhelming you, and I like that there’s only one picture of a pumpkin on the entire box. There’s no need to overload you with PUMPKIN! After all, pumpkin sells itself.
After spending 30 seconds to brew a cup, I took a whiff and was pleased with the results. What you’re going to smell is mostly nutmeg with just a little bit of cinnamon. (Those seem to be the only spices included; they’re the only ones mentioned on the back of the box, anyway.) Beyond that it’s the usual coffee smell. Apparently this is Arabica coffee and I’m sure that means something to some of you, who are no doubt rolling your eyes right now at this idiot java novice, but to me it just smells like coffee. Still, that’s not a bad thing — coffee always smells better than it tastes.
…which, unfortunately, remains the case. Maybe it’s my fault: it’s pumpkin coffee, not pumpkin pie coffee. It isn’t magic. Nor is it bad, really — again, I’m not a coffee guy, but with milk and sugar it’s stupendously tolerable. You can’t fault coffee for being, you know… coffee. But what I CAN fault it for, and will, is not having nearly enough pumpkin in there. It’s pumpkin coffee, so you should be able to taste at least a little hint of pumpkin, right?
Apparently not, because what you’re drinking is nutmeg & cinnamon coffee. Those are good spices, yes, and they combine for a pleasant aftertaste. As a result, it’s hard to be too disappointed because, after all: it tastes good, with rich flavor and a sweet taste that lingers after the sip. By coffee standards, anyway. But it’s a bit like biting down into a bacon cheeseburger and only tasting the burger and cheese. You *like* cheeseburger, so technically that’s okay, but… where’s my bacon, dammit? The wife tells me in most flavored coffees, it just smells like whatever the flavor is and your nose kind of fills in the taste. I guess I can buy that, but since I can taste the spices, shouldn’t I be able to taste the pumpkin?
I think that’s my final word on DD’s latest seasonal offer. Nice aroma, looks appealing, enjoyable taste as far as it goes. But if they decide to bring it back next year, I hope they consider upping the pumpkin content, or they might as well just call this “fall blend” instead of “pumpkin coffee.” For those of you who elect to try some, I don’t think you’ll regret buying it. But still — where’s my bacon?!
(Nutrition Facts – N/A. I know strange, right?)
Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Coffee K-Cup Pack
Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: 14 K-Cups
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fall is basically the best season. Has a nice, rich aroma. Package is one scarecrow away from the perfect autumn image. (Mostly) nutmeg and (some) cinnamon make for a very pleasing aftertaste. Buying your wife the perfect gift. Works out to less than $1 a cup, which is pretty good. Man, if they did pumpkin mocha, how awesome would that be?
Cons: Surprising lack of pumpkin, considering the name. Does flavored coffee really not usually taste like that flavor? That’s stupid. Spices can’t totally mask the fact that deep down, it still tastes like coffee.