Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A fresh idea in K-cups -- the people have spoken

Every once in awhile you come upon a company that, for a multitude of reasons, you simply love. Rogers Family Coffee Company is exactly that, for me. Why? Because they're
  • socially conscious
  • environmentally conscious
  • family owned and run
  • conscientious
  • affordable
This family is the real deal. As a coffee company, they're not importing coffee from farms with slave/child labor. They own their own coffee farms and believe their farmers should be treated fairly. They care about the environment. That's why they developed an eco-friendly alternative to standard K-cups. As a family, they oversee and participate in every phase of production for each box/bag of coffee shipped. And they do something else that is becoming a thing of the past with many companies these days -- they take pride in all they do and will not settle for anything less than the best they can offer. Oh, and they care about cost. They work hard to make sure their coffee is affordable. What's not to love?

Not convinced? Here is an excellent video with further explanations of all I've already said. Meet the Rogers family.

I was happy to review some of their single cup coffees for them. Since I don't personally have a Keurig or other single cup coffee brewer, I took the boxes of coffee to my church, where I shared it with congregation members. I brewed a cup in the Keurig machine in the back of the Sunday School room, as did several others. I also allowed people to take coffee home with them to try on their own.

I received feedback from a variety of folks. Of course, much depended on which of the flavors they tried. For me, I liked some, but didn't like others, which is to be expected. Generally, on a scale of -5, the coffee rated a 3.5 - 4. That was a bit disappointing, because, quite honestly, I would give it a 5, but I'm looking at the whole picture.

Bethany shared her thoughts:

Overall, my rating would be a 4. Some flavors were better than others. Yes, less waste is always good. Depending on the price, we would likely purchase this coffee over another K-cup brand. Overall, I like coffee dark and bold. One of the flavors fit the bill, but most of the others I tried seemed bitter and weak. I was concerned about freshness. Since we usually buy in bulk (boxes of 80), I don't know how we would keep them fresh after we opened the bag.

Hmmm. Freshness. That issue was addressed by Daryl, too, who wrote:

The coffee I sampled is the San Francisco Bay Breakfast Blend single serve. I do have a Keurig brewer and the cups performed flawlessly in the machine. The coffee has great flavor, and, after opening the biodegradable inner bag, great aroma. However, that's where the negatives begin. 

I drink coffee, on average, less than once per day, so a box of 12 K-cups lasts more than two weeks. The inner bag is not resealable so, unless you remove the cups and place them in an airtight container, the quality of the coffee quickly degrades. Either the inner bag should be a "zip lock" type bag, or the base of each K-cup be encased in a "peel away" bottom made of the same biodegradable material. The latter solution would eliminate the inner bag all together, reduce the amount of material used, but increase the cost and complication of individual cup production. 

If I have to use my own zip lock bag to guarantee freshness, you've partially defeated the "green" goal of the product.

Okay. Interestingly enough, as I had to put all the coffee pods in zip lock bags of my own, I had the same issue with the coffee. There was a level of wastefulness I didn't like. I do like Daryl's suggestion of taking the biodegradable bag material and creating individual encasements or bags for the coffee. Of course, if I had a single cup brewer and ordered large quantities of the K-cups, I would simply purchase a large sealable container to keep them in. Problem solved.

Jess told me she and her husband liked the coffee for the most part (rating it a 3-4), although she thought some of it was a little bitter. However, she usually buys flavored coffee, so adjusting to regular coffee may have tainted her taste slightly. She tends to not buy things online, but would definitely consider buying this coffee if it was available where she shopped at a decent price. 

Erin (who rated the coffee on a scale of 1-10) added her thoughts:

I tried 2 of the coffee flavors, Rainforest (organic) and the Donut Shop. I would rate the coffee a 5 because, for me, there was not enough flavor. However, the coffee was smooth and the flavor wasn't bad. I just feel I would not spend money on the product. I do love the idea of the packaging and I would say that is the product's most redeeming quality. 

Her last statement was mimicked by others, who all agreed the biodegradable/compostable aspect of the K-cups was most appealing.

For me, that was the aspect that most interested me when I was initially approached to do this review. I've been quite vocal about how much I hate the waste of individual K-cups. It makes me cringe to think of the thousands that are tossed into the trash each day. Seriously, folks. If you care about the growing problem existing in the landfills, this is simply unacceptable. 

So, here is a solution to that. As far as the taste of the coffee, there were some I enjoyed and others I did not. For example, as excited as I was to try the organic Rainforest coffee, I found it to be too bitter for my taste. On the other hand, my husband and I both loved the San Francisco Fog Chaser and I plan to buy that particular flavor from Rogers. I'll be buying it for my drip coffee maker, however. Since I don't have a single cup brewer, I brewed the coffee at home by cutting open the bottom of each K-cup and pouring the grounds into a filter. Then I tossed the cup into my compost bin. Loved that! As we both like light to medium roasts, we also enjoyed the Breakfast Blend and the Donut Shop coffee.

I'm not a flavored coffee drinker, so the Hazelnut and the Pumpkin Spice did not appeal to me. However, the aroma is amazing, so I've actually thought of hanging one of them in my car as a chemical-free air freshener!

As far as the cost, there are different price points for the coffee. A 12-cup box of K-cups is just $6.99 plus s/h. If you would like to try the bagged coffee, you can do that for a mere $1.99 for a 2 oz. bag, and shipping is included! You can also try a 3 pack of single serving cups for the same price!

The more you buy, the more affordable the coffee -- 
  • 18 cups -- $9.99
  • 36 cups -- $18.99
  • 80 cups -- just $34.99 -- that's less than 50 cents a cup

Right now, for orders over $50, you receive free shipping and, while supplies last, a free San Francisco Bay travel mug if you type FREEMUG as the code.

They also have a coffee club you can join for additional specials and savings. Click here for more info.

Bottom line for me: I love this company and will support them, not only because I believe in what they are doing, but also because right now, I'm craving a cup of San Francisco Fog Chaser. It's that good! 

Reviewing it for you,

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