Review Time: Eight O'Clock Caramel Macchiato Ground Coffee

  Call it a whim, call it what you will, but this "strong, hot, black, coffee" kind of girl bought a bag of Eight O'Clock Caramel Macchiato ground coffee yesterday.  If you've read Coffee Talking for any amount of time over the years you know I don't particularly care for flavored coffee and especially not in the Spring or Summer.  If I do venture into the usually terrible world of flavored coffee it's in the middle of a freezing cold day in winter and probably in the middle of a raging snowstorm.  Other than a snowy, cold day you just don't typically find a flavored blend in my hands.

So what happened?  I don't know.  I was purchasing k-cups for my Keurig but since I also purchased a new, different reusable k-cup - the SoloFill,  (I posted about that here) I've been purchasing bags of whole bean coffee as well, and sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly lazy and I know I'll be using the whole bag up within the week, I'll even venture into the ground bean variety (gasp!), I know, right?

So there I am, 3 boxes of k-cups in my cart and I'm perusing the ground and bean variety as I have a coupon for Starbucks in my hot little hand, when what do I spy? Eight O'Clock Caramel Macchiato Ground Coffee.  I looked away... but then I looked back again.  Right next to the always available and usually quite awful vanilla and hazelnut was a brand of 'caramel' flavored that I haven't tried yet.  Have I tried caramel flavored coffee before?  Of course!  Almost every brand out there it seems like.  But I hadn't tried Eight O'Clocks version previously and for whatever reason, even on a mild, spring day, it sounded good.
Product Description:
  • This blend is crafted from strictly high grown premium 100% Arabica beans
  • Medium roasted coffee
  • Prominent notes of coffee and caramel highlighted with the essence of foamy, steamed milk
  • A true coffeehouse experience in the comfort of home
  • Kosher certified
Here is why I DIDN'T want to try it;   because in the past 15 years I have yet to taste a caramel flavored coffee that was any good.  In all the brands I've tried in the past (think of the top brands you'll find in most grocery and household stores across the USA)  the caramel is either barely there, or so fake and chemical tasting that it's a disgusting cup of ruined coffee. 

I also don't doctor my coffee with tons of milk, creamers, or sugar.  I like my coffee black and strong, so when I have a flavored coffee I will add just a dash or smidgen of sweetener.  I want to enhance the flavor to bring it out, but I do not want to taste 'sweet' in any way, shape or form.  For this reason, I can always taste the true 'flavor' of the coffee as it's not covered up with milk, cream and sweeteners.

My rating is Wow.  Very, very good.

I will actually go so far as to say it's probably the best caramel  'flavored'  coffee I've tried.  It absolutely has a real caramel taste.  A buttery caramel.  Not a faked, heavy chemical caramel.  Buttery and smooth with an aroma that actually matched the flavor.  I used just half of a small packet of Splenda as my sweetener - perhaps 1/4 teaspoon (?) and I suspect those with a sweeter tooth than I would enjoy an even stronger, buttery, milky caramel flavor by adding a touch more.

Here's a good reason to give it a try:  Eight O'clock coffees are affordable.  Very affordable.  Like, half the price of the 'big huge in your face' brand names.  They've been around forever, it's a well known brand name and it's carried in most stores around the USA.  I currently was on a huge 'Italian' blend kick of theirs, so I decided to give in to the caramel craving. 

"Eight O'clock started as a store brand way back in 1859 
when the Great Atlantic and Pacific Company opened its doors 
and the whole bean coffee that would later become Eight O'clock was 
among its signature products. By the 1930s Eight O'clock 
reigned supreme as the #1 coffee brand in the US. During this time, 
one out of every four cups of coffee consumed was Eight O'clock. 
Today this remains as America's best-selling whole bean coffee 
and is the fourth largest national coffee brand in terms of volume"

You can find Eight O'clock coffee in almost any retail store in the US, however you may not be able to find all their flavored blends.  No worries, the caramel, as well as the hazelnut, vanilla, cinnamon bun and a whole host of other flavors as well as their original blends are available online at retailers like Amazon for cheap.  Like, sometimes $5 for a bag of 11-12 oz. ground! It's worth a try... and at that price you won't be out much if you don't care for it.

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