Friday, October 11, 2013

Such A Good Idea, Such A Mediocre Execution: Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee!

The Good: Very caffeinated, Amazing aroma, Reasonably priced!
The Bad: Only tastes like coffee.
The Basics: Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee smells absolutely incredible, but does not quite live up on the flavor front the way one might hope.

In picking up new coffee, I am often sold primarily by the flavor name and the price. I will buy coffee anywhere and try any new-to-me brand of coffee. So, when I was at Big Lots and found Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee, I was instantly intrigued and eager. I loved the idea of a cake flavored coffee and the price was right; at only $5.00 for a 12 oz. bag, there was the potential for a premium coffee flavor at a less-than-premium price.

Unfortunately, while this coffee smelled exactly like it was supposed to, it did not quite nail the flavor.


Caffe Gallarate is a new, smaller, premium coffee brand out of New Jersey. Red Velvet Cupcake is one of the medium dark blends by Caffe Gallarate and it comes in a twelve ouncefoil bag. Red Velvet Cupcake is fairly dark, but not flavored like it is supposed to. Because it is not whole bean coffee, no grinding is required. The Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is easily protected from absorbing scents of other foods, though the bag is not resealable.

Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is an aromatic blend that smells precisely of cake and it is a caffeinated blend.

Ease Of Preparation

Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is remarkably easy to prepare, no advanced culinary degrees necessary! First, open the bag. Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased. After opening foil bag, procure a scoop (not included) and measure out one heaping tablespoon for every two cups of water in your coffee maker. Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is intended for automatic (drip or percolating) coffee makers, like my Hamilton Beach coffee maker (reviewed here!). This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed.

Consult your coffee maker's instructions for how to brew the coffee. However, as far as the basics go, you'll need a coffee filter, like the Melita coffee filters (reviewed here), which you put the Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee in and then brew through your coffee maker. The directions recommend making a pot at a time. Caffe Gallarate does not take a stand on refrigerating the bag after opening it.


Even in its brewed coffee form, the Red Velvet Cupcake coffee smells like the cake it is supposed to. Brewed, it is infused with the strong scent of coffee beans as well, so it smells like coffee and cake, which is pretty delightful and enticing.

On the tongue, though, the Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is all coffee. Despite the scent, this tastes nothing like cake. On its own, the Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is not at all sweet. Instead, this is a medium coffee blend. Brewed properly, it tastes just like coffee, nothing else. In fact, this Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is slightly weaker than many of the other blends I have tried and it possesses a somewhat watery finishing flavor, instead of ending robust and truly bitter.

Sugar sweetens and overwhelms the Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee, but does not make it taste more like its namesake.

This coffee actually has virtually no aftertaste to it.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, the bag does not have any ingredients, so I am forced to assume all that is in this blend is coffee beans, which would fit what it tastes like.

This is a caffeinated blend, though and it feels like it! This has enough caffeine to pop one's eyes open between the taste, aroma and caffeine. Because it is a caffeinated coffee, it appears to not have undergone any of the chemical processes that sometimes cause complications in decaffeinated coffees. This is a blend that is one of the most caffeinated blends I have tried; it truly does energize and invigorate the consumer.


Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its container with bag’s top folded down. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the bag folded tightly closed is highly recommended. There are different schools of thought on refrigerating open coffee and I have a very clean refrigerator with a lot of ways to segregate coffee, so I tend to come down on the side of refrigerate it. Stored properly, this coffee should have lasted until June 2014 (though I drank it quite a bit faster!).

After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. This might be an ideal coffee to make a second pot with (second brewings I attempted came out 3/4 as potent as the first brewing), so this might be the ideal coffee for the coffee miser. These grounds may be thrown in the trash when used or put in a compost pile, if available. Coffee grounds make great compost.


Caffe Gallarate Red Velvet Cupcake Coffee is good, but not quite up to the potential of its aroma. While it is well worth picking up, it is not worth getting one’s hopes up about based on the flavor name.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Four Sisters Caramel
Seattle’s Best Level Three
Tasters Choice Gourmet Roast


For other drink reviews, please check out my Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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