Truckstop cappuccino recommendations
November 22, 2016 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I want to give my wife a variety of flavors of coffee and coffee flavorings for Christmas. She has no interest in quality, she is a connoisseur of what I like to call "shitty, super sweet coffee." Help me find some different flavorings and options to make her mind reel with the delicious possibilities! ($120 total gift limit)

I had this gift idea when we were at a car dealership and she was having a ball with their automated pick a coffee/hot chocolate and add vanilla or chocolate, whirrrrrrrrrr, frothy dribble, "delicious" beverage in a styrofoam cup machine.

I decided to go K-cup route because of all the flavors I have seen, so I am starting with Mr. Coffee K-Cup (she will appreciate my thriftiness and something better would go unappreciated). Base coffee, started with with this 30 count variety pack.

Planning on getting some various shelf stable, single serve creamers - vanilla, almond joy, hazelnut. (Other fun flavors?) Maybe mini-bottles of various liqueurs for that special occasion?

My thought to provide her with endless possibilities to mix and match into her own brilliant concoctions. Caffeine content is not a factor - regular coffee just sends her to sleep anyway.

Please, no recommendations for Aeropress or other gourmet shit. She is strictly a truckstop cappuccino kind of gal.
posted by BleachBypass to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Torani Syrups. Buy pumps.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

Oooh, get a frother! Mix the above-mentioned Torani syrups with milk and whiz it into foam.
posted by SeedStitch at 11:24 AM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Truck stop cappuccino is mostly sugar and non-dairy creamer -- the ingredients in Folgers French Vanilla Cappuccino are close to an exact match for the real deal. There are a zillion flavors of shitty-super-sweet-coffee-esque instant beverage mixes, so if you're looking for authenticity, that's what I'd recommend!
posted by amnesia and magnets at 11:28 AM on November 22, 2016

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I am an expert in shitty k cup coffee. I've placed the orders for the last two places I've worked and had to cater to dozens of different taste preferences while still maintaining variety and novelty. Your wife is the kind of employee I love having, because they're the ones who coo with glee over the flavors that make other people gag. ❤

Java Factory has a pretty good variety pack. In addition to their straight coffees, that 40 pack comes with some double caffeinated cups and a diverse cast of flavors. The last couple months the variety pack flavors have been choconut, vanilla ice cream, blueberry cheesecake, and spring break (rum and coconut). The last two are newer flavors to me, so they might change seasonally but idk.

This is everyone's favorite hazelnut right now.

The Grove Square cappuccino k cups are also a lot of fun. They come pre-creamed and sweetened.

The Crazy Cups variety packs can be pretty hit or miss. Sometimes there's a pretty diverse cast of flavors, but other times (especially this time of year) the "variety" is pretty heavy on pumpkin spice and mocha peppermint. Which is great if you like those, I guess, but you don't choose the variety pack to get a bunch of the same thing, you know?

I'd give the Brooklyn Beans variety packs a pass. Their flavors aren't very strong and the variety pack is mostly straight coffee, light on the flavored options.

If you want to go full dumpster fire, Guy Fieri will happily usher you down to Flavortown. There's also a Cake Boss variety set I've never tried if you want to continue the trend of some cheezball mugging at you from the box.

Something to keep in mind for the not-coffee k cups: you need to run a blank through the machine before running a tea or cocoa cup because otherwise it's going to be tainted with weak coffee flavor.
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on November 22, 2016 [19 favorites]

Originally an impulse buy on our end, we grabbed these cups at Costco and they've come in handy quite a bit. Our daily coffee is usually in a recyclable travel mug, but having these on hand for guests who are leaving our house on road trips, or if I'm headed out for the day & don't want to lug my travel mug along with me. I share your wife's "sweet crap" taste in coffee, and that's probably the weirdest thing that I didn't think we'd make use of with our Keurig. Plus, I think your inspiration sounds sweet and she might get a kick out of you replicating the cups as well.
posted by librarianamy at 11:32 AM on November 22, 2016

AUughh and I meant to include this...

Gevalia has a really fun line of k cups that come with froth packets! They have a few different flavors. I think your wife would like those.
posted by phunniemee at 11:32 AM on November 22, 2016

Or get a pitcher frother that also heats the milk for extra fanciness. I'd also pick up some chocolate and/or caramel syrups for drizzling on top. I share your wife's terrible taste in coffee and the hot milk really helps make homemade overly sweet coffee seem much more special.
posted by snaw at 11:33 AM on November 22, 2016

I'd give the Brooklyn Beans variety packs a pass. Their flavors aren't very strong and the variety pack is mostly straight coffee, light on the flavored options.

We recently got Brooklyn Beans variety pack and while we like it quite a bit, phunniemee is right that it is probably not shittily flavored enough for your purposes.

Also, this kind of catering to someone's whims that you personally don't find particularly appealing is next-level gift giving. Great job.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:35 AM on November 22, 2016 [13 favorites]

Monin syrups! They sell little gift packs of 5 mini-bottles for $12. Here's a coffee pack and here's a holiday cheer pack. Torani also has syrup gift packs but they're full-sized bottles and each pack runs about $45.
posted by ourobouros at 11:37 AM on November 22, 2016

This is a fun gift! Oh man I don't know where you live but we go nuts going to out local "dented can" store (liquidation center? whatever they're called) and picking up K-Cups for next to nothing in the terrible flavors that people don't like (pumpkin everything, apple ciders, etc). My favorite weird ones are the "branded" options like Kahlua. Also make sure you get her one of those little one-hitter reuseable baskets so she can make her own. If she does ever develop a taste for "better" coffee she can still use the same machine.

And accessorize! People who are really into these things also have little K-cup holders that make you feel like you're in a really fancy car dealership and I think my sister keeps an assortment in a little lined basket.
posted by jessamyn at 11:38 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

A little more off the beaten trail is Vietnamese iced coffee. There's a little single serve metal brewing contraption, chicory-flavored coffee, and then you have it with sweetened condense milk. Very fun to drink.

If that's too fancy, I'd throw in a can of sweetened condensed milk as an alternative way to sweeten coffee.
posted by ellerhodes at 11:41 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to check Keurig's site; they have almost two hundred varieties, many that a friend told me she never sees anywhere else. A quick glance found a Kahlua flavor that sounds right up your alley.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:45 AM on November 22, 2016

Gevalia's Caramel Macchiato K-cups really hit that spot for me. Or honestly the Maxwell House International Café stuff in the little tin. Wow, can't believe I just typed that out loud.
posted by karbonokapi at 11:45 AM on November 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, seconding the dented can idea, but if your local market has a "clearance" rack check there, too. I always see weird flavors of K-cups for 50-75% off.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:47 AM on November 22, 2016

I worked at an office that always kept this food service sized shelf stable hazelnut creamer in pump form and it was both horrifyingly sweet and delicious.
posted by ndfine at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2016

This is unconventional, and not related to K-cups, but I like to steep a tea bag in my coffee, for flavor - and add spices. (I don't do flavored creamers, and stick with sugar-free syrups that are sweetened with stevia and erythritol -- which are hard to find.)

I love what a tea bag contributes to my coffee. I'll either use herbal or black flavored teas. I always add full fat heavy cream.

Chai tea + cayenne + cinnamon
Peppermint tea + cocoa (the straight-up, unsweetened chocolate powder)
Double bergamot Earl Grey

Cardamom or Anise or nutmeg are very nice in coffee, too, although I add them to my grounds when I'm brewing, which won't work with K cups.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have never in my life wanted a k-cup machine more than at this moment. I love going places that have those International Delight individual creamers. The Irish Cream one is great, in addition to the hazelnut and the vanilla. Pro tip: 2 Irish Creams and 1 Vanilla in a single cup of coffee. This pack on amazon would allow her to try a few flavors and decide on favorites before you invest in the 192-serving packs. I do like the larger bottles of these creamers, and there is a lot more flavor variety that way (seasonal!), but I'm not sure if that fits into your vision.
posted by freezer cake at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2016

Make sure to grab her a bunch of single-serving hot chocolates (in ridiculous flavours) in the event that she gets the urge to make a 'cafe mocha' - she can dump a packet into her mug, brew the k-cup over top of it, and enjoy that sweet, sweet deliciousness!
posted by VioletU at 12:07 PM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Def. get her some Dunkin Donuts brand k-cups, that is the ne plus ultra of car coffee!
posted by bq at 12:49 PM on November 22, 2016

If you want to go way overkill, it is absolutely possible to buy half gallon jugs of Starbucks pumpkin spice sauce and peppermint mocha syrup.
posted by jferg at 2:30 PM on November 22, 2016

You know, they also make Campbell's Soup K-cups....
posted by Room 641-A at 3:12 PM on November 22, 2016

Seconding the suggestion for hot chocolate packets - maybe get the ones with the little marshmallows? I used them to make the coffee at my last job drinkable.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:28 PM on November 22, 2016

It's not a k-cup but Nestle 3-in-1 is exactly that - low quality but sweet and oddly delicious. I was introduced to it when travelling but now see it popping up all over.
posted by scrute at 3:30 PM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

My husband loves the Kalhua K-cups and was heartbroken when Walmart stopped carrying them. Now that I've ordered his stocking stuffer....whatever coffee you get for her, make sure you also have liquid creamer in a wacky flavor. My husband is also a gas-station coffee aficionado and loves Bailey's/Chocolate Carmel creamer in his Kalhua coffee. I love this thread!
posted by sorrygottago at 6:22 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Why do I know so much about Keurig K-cups?? They make Swiss Miss hot chocolate and even have a holiday peppermint version.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:38 PM on November 22, 2016

To go with Torani syrups, I just happened to see these pump latte foam creamers at the store last night.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:21 AM on November 23, 2016

Wow! Thank you everyone. If you got a "best answer" I bought something based on your recommendation!
posted by BleachBypass at 9:22 AM on November 25, 2016

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