iCoffee Opus Single Serve Brewer Review

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Last year I had the good fortune of being offered a chance to try out Remington’s iCoffee’s SteamBrew multi-cup brewer. At the time, I thought I had found nirvana, bliss in a cup. I have used everything from a $500 German-engineered machine to a $10 French press, and nothing compared to iCoffee’s SteamBrewed cup of goodness. I did not think I would ever find anything to top it.

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I was wrong.

Because iCoffee sent me their newest creation, the Opus Single Serve Brewer. There’s a new sheriff in town, folks. And his name is Opus.

Everything I loved about the iCoffee SteamBrew machine has been miniaturized and put into Opus. It steams, spins and stirs the coffee right in the cup! Everything I dreaded about single-cup brewers was crumpled up and thrown right in the trash. Because iCoffee has the good grace and sense to include a reusable single-serve cup to add your favorite coffee, one amazingly, impossibly smooth cup at a time. IMAG2611The cup will accept all grinds (except maybe powder fine, I don’t grind my coffee that fine so I can’t say for certain), so you can adjust your grind to match the flavor profile and strength you desire. You want loose-leaf tea? The cup will accept any tea from any maker and flavor you desire. Or just heat one cup of water at a time and steep your bagged tea as you please. Iced coffee? Please, that’s not even a challenge. Just add ice and dial down the ounces. Don’t want to bother grinding, measuring or weighing out your coffee? iCoffee’s Opus IMAG2624accepts every K-Cup®, OneCup™, RealCup™ capsule, and all private label cups. Because only an insecure, inferior machine will limit your experience to just their brand of cups. And Remington’s iCoffee Opus let’s you experience every and anything you want to taste. Opus is packing a 75 ounce water reservoir, a removable drip tray to accommodate just about any size mug or travel cup you can find. Energy saver mode, auto shut off, and a precise Dial-a-Brew system that let’s you dialIMAG2635 in your drink size from 4 ounces all the way up to 12, one half ounce at a time. Remington Even includes a six pack of single serve coffees from Tim Horton and Marley coffees, and even an herbal tea! I think it’s the perfect machine for any household. And cleanup? Throw the used cup IMAG2614away, or just wash out the included (Seriously, how awesome is Remington for that?!) reusable cup!

So, let’s address the elephant in the room: How does iCoffee’s Opus stack up to the market leaders with single serve machines? Well, I could go on and on about how superior the flavor is from Opus (and believe me, it is!), and it’s still  just one person’s opinion. But why do that when Remington went to the flavor professionals at Ohio State University. Read the full report here, but with all variables being equal, iCoffee Opus beat Keurig’s best machine in every category, from aroma, to taste, to aftertaste. Spanked them, actually. In fact, almost everyone who tries iCoffee’s Opus agrees. So, then what about that website that claimed the coffee made by Opus was weaker than from another brand of brewer? Poppycock, says I. If you want a stronger brew, grind your beans a little bigger. Here’s another pro tip: Remember iCoffee Opus’s patented Dial-a-Brew system? IMAG2637A little trick I learned is to fill mug 4 ounces at a time. Just pop the top after you dispense your 4 ounces of love, close and repeat until full. What that does is let the grounds steep just a few more seconds each time and be super-saturated by ounce 12. I got so much flavor from my coffees and teas this way, I get to tailor my cup each time I turn it on. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever brewed at home.

iCoffee’s Opus Brewer is a treat to smell, makes treats to taste, and looks damn fine doing it too. Shiny chrome,IMAG2639 bright blue LED lights…the only thing I miss is my iCoffee’s little tune it sung when my brew was done. It doesn’t take up the whole counter, it doesn’t suck up a bunch of electricity while idle, an it goes from cold to piping hot and ready to drink in about 5 minutes (our non-contact IMAG2704 (1)thermometer registered 147 degrees and climbing fresh from the brewer!). There is quite literally nothing to dislike about the iCoffee Opus. If you forced me to pick one quibble, it would be the vacuum-metalized plastic cover on the drip tray. Because it will be used so much, the chrome paint will be scratched or worn away quickly, so I may have hubby fabricate a version out of stainless steel. And that’s me being picky. I usually try not to gush over the things I test and review, but I just love this machine. I’ve used it every day since it arrived, and my teapot on the stovetop is turning green from envy. Once the belle of the ball, iCoffee’s Opus just kicked him to the curb. iCoffee’s Opus Single Serve Brewer is available exclusively at Bed, Bath & Beyond (and if you don’t get promos from them already, you really should start here now). I cannot recommend this brewer highly enough, I can’t say enough good things about Remington’s iCoffee Opus. You really owe it to yourself to try the cup of coffee Opus can make for you.

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Connect with Remington:

I received the above product free of charge from Remington.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Remington: ICoffee with SteamBrew Technology Review

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With so many choices of coffee makers in the marketplace, each with their own patented technique for brewing or serving, a simple cup of coffee is not so simple anymore. I find myself asking, “Am I paying for a great cup of coffee or just a great looking machine?” I am chasing after the former because that is what matters most to me. I not only drink coffee but also bake and cook with it, so I don’t want to waste a drop!

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In comes iCoffee by Remington, with a technique that is all it’s own, SteamBrew. I have used a simple French Press, espresso makers, cappuccino makers, and even just the old fashioned simple drip-method from a common coffee maker. Each technique does produce different results even if you were to use the same coffee, so I was eager to try the “steam way” and see if it’s what I call “worthy to sit on my kitchen’s counter”.

iCoffee is very simple, not just from looks, but also operation. It’s simple enough that I did not have to refer back and forth to complex instruction manuals to see how to operate it. I really just looked at the quick-start sheet to make sure I was assembling it correctly. You can’t futz it up, with one place to add your coffee grounds (the reusable coffee filter) then add water in the back to the reservoir, where you add your water starting with a 2 cup measurement up to maximum capacity of 12-cups. The first feature I have to share is the happy tune this little machine chimes out. It makes me smile every time and iCoffee is eager to please so this is a great start. I was testing several brands of coffee, grinds and even brews (from light to extra dark), to get a range of operation and how successful the machine is in delivering a great cup of coffee.

The machine operates at a low level of noise and has the nice feature of being able to monitor the brewing process from a viewing window with LED light. You also have an LCD display that tells you when it’s heating water to when the cycle is complete, plus it signals you with a little music tune when done too. If you are not a morning person, no worries as iCoffee has a “mute” option if music or noise is not…..well, your cup of tea 🙂

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I tested Starbuck’s, Folgers, Gevalia, Green Mountain, CBTL, and Lavazza bagged coffees. I went with brands that are easily found in the marketplace and also reasonably priced.

Starbuck’s: I tested a blonde roast, breakfast blend to two different dark roasts. I noticed by the 4th try, that the steam method usually only loses about 1/4 cup of water (maximum) so you do get the most out of the coffee without losing moisture and this because the steam stirs the grounds. Here I found out what type is a worthy cup because if the blend was not of the best quality, you could taste it.

Folger’s and Gevalia: Even with lower quality coffees, the iCoffee gives you the best cup it can get out of it and significantly reducex the bitter notes, producing a smoother tasting coffee. Again, I was happier with these brands more than I usually am. These brands also produced more “sludge” but with the double filter, none ever made it to my pot or cup.

Green Mountain: Tasted the same as it does with my other machines, where it’s an “okay” coffee but I became less of a fan when I could taste everything it had to give and let me say it was not much. Made me reevaluate the brand!

CBTL and Lavazza: Best performing of the test group and this where I learned that like wine, a better (tasting) product yields better overall end results! These coffee brands do not cost the most but I tested a flavored Creme Brulee from CBTL and a Medium Roast from Lavazza. The inherent richness was immediately apparent. Not my French press, not even my expensive Krups Combo maker, ever produced a better cup than this one. We’re talking about a 25% intensity difference, and I mean it’s intense in taste, not necessarily in brew. It’s almost like iCoffee just gets more out of your grind and into the cup. I lost an immeasurable amount of water via the steam process with these brands, so again less water and the second filter also had less sludge.

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Like any person that plans on a future purchase, I read reviews and found some unfavorable remarks about the “crema”, an essence to what some called sludge at the bottom of the pot when brewing is completed. Some even called it grinds that escape and this results in coffee grinds floating in your coffee. I tried reproducing what was reported by omitting the second filter and I could not. I have in my experience found more bits floating with a French Press and my drip coffee maker than I ever did with iCoffee. When I add the second filter, I had none…..like nothing floating at all, and a very clean carafe when it came to cleaning.

Quick Note on Pros: You will get a better tasting coffee cup and I went into the review thinking that I would not really notice the difference but once I had SteamBrew cup, I put my other machines away. I would say that speaks for itself and even though you do not have an additional espresso feature, a frother, or built-in grinder, the iCoffee is about producing the better tasting cup……period! It convinced me to also reevaluate my coffee selections because it will get the best a grind can offer. It made my not so pricey coffees taste better and my reasonable priced, but better quality coffees taste from great to fantastic.  A smoother coffee also means less sugar to offset the less desired notes and less creams/milk.  I even stopped using creamers because my cup needed no enhancement.  Flavored coffees yield a cup that delivers what you bought, so my Creme Brulee was more…….well, Brulee-ish and this means no syrups. I own everything from seasonal, to trends, to the plain Vanillas but I did not seek them out.  I just wanted to taste the coffee!

Quick Note on Cons: My only con is cleaning the system. It does take me 10 to 15 minutes by hand but please note that there are dish-washer safe components. I merely opted to just clean by hand so things could dry quicker. The 15 minutes is for a complete deep clean, like you can’t smell coffee was in the machine so I am sure a “quick-clean” would do well with a deep one on the weekend for everyday users. I am not a huge fan of shiny plastic and painted chrome parts, because with time it can dull and does not inherently lend itself to longevity, but then again this is personal preferences and has nothing to do with the operation of the machine. I just prefer a bit more metal and a matte (textured) plastic for looks.  Also, like with any coffee machine, the machine sometimes burps steam from the lid in small quantities, so please when brewing keep note of this so you do not cause damage to the underside of your cabinets with long-term use.

My bottom line is this: It makes good coffee great, but won’t make a bad one good. I would buy this machine. And if you want a simple no muss, no fuss great cup of coffee, and don’t need a machine that takes a PhD to operate and occupy half your kitchen counter, you should too. You owe it to yourself to try iCoffee.

Price Point: Retails for $169.95 (or less!) at most places listed on their site.

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To learn more about iCoffee, please visit them at:

I received the above product free of charge from iCoffee.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Giveaway: You can win a California Delicious Gift Card worth $50.00

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(Picture is example of products carried by California Delicious and not of actual prize)

Get ready this Valentine’s Day to get some help with this wonderful giveaway, courtesy of California Delicious!

Giveaway of a $50.00 gift card to California Delicious (http://www.californiadelicious.com/). This prize can be open to everyone internationally but the gifts must be mailed to a U.S physical address, no PO Boxes please.  Giveaway ends on February 5th so get started now and it’s easy to enter below.  Please note terms on site regarding alcohol sales and delivery limitations, as per state laws.

How to Enter:

  1. Like on FaceBook- https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDelicious
  2. Follow on Twitter- https://twitter.com/caldelicious
  3. Follow on Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/calidelicious/
  4. Please comment on my Blog Review- https://samplesandfreebiesgallery.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/california-delicious-not-your-ordinary-gift-box-and-basket-company/

Bonus Entry for those that follow on Instagram-

California Delicious: Not your Ordinary Gift Box and Basket Company

A gift basket is always welcomed in our home and not only do I enjoy the variety but I love trying new items. As of late with the holidays not too far away from us, I noticed that many baskets cost a pretty good penny but the thrill of the “good stuff” is not present. It’s almost the place where snack food goes to get stale! Not great when you bite into something and wonder if you would have liked it if it were fresher.

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In comes California Delicious with not your ordinary baskets. They offer everything from baskets and gift boxes with fresh fruit, chocolates, stuffed animals, wine, beer, and you name the occasion……they have it covered. The one thing I love is that if you live within the state, shipping is a whopping $0.00. Very nice. So the price point you see is what it is with no hidden charges. If you live out of state, they offer a reasonable rate starting at $9.00 (standard ground) for most of their selections. Very fair pricing and if you sign-up for their mailing list, you get 15% off promotion. Navigate the site and a $10.00 off a $75.00 purchase coupon pops-up as so does a $5 off of $50.00! I believe in getting the most out of your dollar and right now, California Delicious has a heck of a perk! Be part of the “Give a Gift, Get a Gift” program. Just purchase a basket and each purchase gets you a $50.00 gift card* to http://www.NakedWines.com. The only small catch is you can only use one gift card yourself but you will get one with every item you buy. Great way to pass the perk forward and share with others. Make your basket purchase twice as nice!

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I ordered the Starbuck’s Coffee gourmet box. It’s item #9966 and it’s the first gift basket I have been 100% content with from top to bottom. I always have items in baskets and boxes that are just not for me or I plainly do not enjoy…..not this one! The Starbuck’s Coffee Mornings Gift box has a reasonable price point of $59.99 and it even has a stainless steel travel tumbler that can be used again and again. I always like gifting items of this kind that not only yield food for my family and friends to enjoy, but you want a reusable gift so there is something always left to enjoy again and again. Every item in the box is Starbuck’s branded…..no fillers to make this box seem more than it is. See for yourself and California Delicious discloses all contents, no need to over examine a picture to see what really comes in the basket (“Is that a candy I see back there?” kind of thing). I like that California Delicious is open and upfront because its just so tacky to inquire when you send someone a gift basket or box and hope they got everything as pictured. The last thing you want to ask is for a run-down! This is what my beautiful box came with http://www.californiadelicious.com/starbucks-coffee-mornings-gift-box.html:

  • Starbucks Pike’s Place Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Sumatra Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee
  • Starbucks Café Estima Coffee
  • Starbucks Hot/Cold Travel Mug
  • VIA Ready brew Coffee
  • 3 – Spiced Biscotti
  • 1 – Vanilla Biscotti

Other things I want to share is that I have never received a Biscotti cookie in “as-pictured” shape. They are usually baggies holding something what was once a cookie but is not a dry cracked baggy of dust. My chocolate swirl was even intact and every cookie was whole. I got to break it myself and enjoy it…..fresh and “biteable” with no regret or staleness! Ever item has an expiration date and just the bagged coffees alone the date was 6 to 7 months from when I received it. The VIA coffee is an entire box with 8 servings and that doesn’t expire until September. You can actually take your time enjoying your treats. The bags included have a 10 to 12 cup serving each so you get plenty of sevings for a very reasonable price. You add that you get a $50.00 gift card to NakedWines.com and it’s a perk that makes buying from California Delicious a must! Try them today and especially with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. California Delicious is not your everyday basket and gift box company, they deliver not only beautiful looking treats but it’s filled with items you will actually enjoy and love!

Connect with California Delicious and place and order just in time for Valentine’s Day:

  • On-line- http://www.californiadelicious.com/
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/caldelicious
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDelicious
  • Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/calidelicious/
  • YouTube and Video Blogs- http://www.californiadelicious.com/california-video-blog

Hint: I will be posting a giveaway soon, so get ahead and connect with California Delicious by connecting with the above links!  

 

Nakedwines.com Perk detals, as disclosed on California’s Delicious site:
No kidding…We will send you a nakedwines.com gift card valued at $50 for every gift* that you send from California Delicious. It’s our way of saying Thanks for your business! *What’s the catch? If you buy more than one gift, we will send you a card for every gift you send but you can only use one of those gift cards yourself. You can pay it forward by giving your extra cards to all of your friends and relatives…sounds too good to be true? Well it is if you live in MA,MO,VA,WV,TX,HI,NC or VT because unfortunately those states have prohibition era rules.

I received the above product free of charge from California Delicious.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake……under 1 hour from start to finish

I was inspired by an e-mail I received from King Arthur’s Flour called “Original Cake-Pan Cake Recipe”

I was in an experimenting mood plus short on time, so I dove into this recipe with my trusty notepad, pen and camera.  I always alter recipes because I feel there is so much sugar in the ones I find without any need.  I want to taste the ingredients like Chocolate, not the over the top sweetness, plus I also like to substitute ingredients for the ones I have in stock.  I am not going to buy Pastry Flour again for one recipe for it just to sit there and expire again.  Lesson learned!! 🙂  I doubled the cocoa powder on this one and I still was able to cut the sugar!

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Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake

This cake can be done in just under 1 hour!!  It’s so easy and dairy free (minus the icing).  A great alternative for those busy days where you did not have the time to make anything and the best part, it’s delicious!  It’s also not a killer when it comes to calories because there is not a bunch of sugar and fats.
Batter:
6 1/2 ounces of All-Purpose Flour
4 ounces of White Sugar
1/2 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon of Espresso Powder (optional)
1/2 tablespoon of white Vinegar (trust me….you will not taste it, it is just to help the cake rise when it combines with the baking soda.  Want a higher rise?  Up the vinegar to 1 tablespoon)
1/4 of Vegetable Oil
1 cup of cold liquid (this can be milk, water, coffee, get creative).
I start with a bowl and add the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.  I use a whisk to combine all the ingredients.
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I did not have espresso powder but I know how coffee can punch up the chocolate’s flavor, so I got creative and used a Starbuck’s VIA packet I had received via mail for free.  It was in Italian Roast flavor but any flavor will do.
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I added the entire packet and again whisked it together.
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I then added the wet ingredients, the oil and vinegar.  Now for my 1 cup of cold liquid, I added water, whole milk and then coconut milk until I had 8 ounces in total.  I figured the coconut milk would have less fat and it would add flavor.  My husband dislikes coconut anything but can tolerate it in products where it’s flavor is not present   I disclosed I was adding it and he knows it’s just me playing scientist again!
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I whisked everything until combined and I love that I just dirty one dish.
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I pour the batter into a square pan that is 8 x 13, which has been sprayed with PAM w/flour spray (just in case).  I bake the cake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.
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The cake will slightly rise but I wanted density with a smooth finish, so this is why I only added 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar.  You can add up to 1 tablespoon in total if you wish the effect of a slightly higher cake.
While the cake bakes, I decided I wanted a mousse-like fluffy frosting,  so I wash the same dish I used to make the cake and get started on making the frosting.  This cake is so delicious that if you do not feel like frosting, it does not need it.  You can sprinkle powder sugar when it cools or even pair it up with ice cream.
Frosting:
8 ounces of Cream Cheese (softened)
4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1 ounce of Powdered Sugar
1/8 of a cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) *optional
Mini Chocolate chips (optional) to sprinkle on after
I start by using a hand mixer and blend the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
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This takes about 2 minutes.
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I then add the sour cream and vanilla and blend some more.  I add the powdered sugar and blend until nice and fluffy.
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As I was doing this, I asked my Husband if he wanted just a light buttered cream cheese frosting or if he was in a chocolate/chocolate mood?  He opted to go all the way and wanted chocolate.  I added 1/8 of a cup of cocoa powder and finished the frosting with the blender.  You can do what fits your mood and taste buds best!
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I take the cake out and cool it down.  It’s not a huge cake so it took 20 minutes to cool enough to be put in the fridge.  I left it in the fridge, uncovered for another 20 minutes.  It was a cold day and our fridge is set at a nice 35 degrees, so stuff cools down quick.
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Once cooled, I spread the frosting and then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
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That easy and it went well after dinner with the coffee crusted grilled tri-tip my Husband made on the barbeque.  I figure he got to play with coffee so I wanted to also.  Enjoy!

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