Aldi Advent Calendars provide fun, relatively inexpensive ways to count down the days of December leading up to Christmas Day. Each year, their selection changes a little, but they have something for nearly everyone on your list, including chocolate calendars, cheese calendars, beer calendars, wine calendars, and dog treat calendars. There’s even a special treat for the coffee lovers in your life: the Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar.
The Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar features 24 unique flavors of pre-filled K-cups that are compatible with Keurig and similar coffee makers. The calendar cost $8.99 at my local Aldi, which is significantly cheaper than similar products that I’ve seen online, which range from $25 to $40 for the same amount of product.
The back of the box shows the full list of coffee flavors, and it explains that these are listed in alphabetical order. However, don’t look at that list too closely if you want to be surprised each day.
Listed ingredients are coffee, organic coffee, and natural and artificial flavors. These ingredients vary according to type, and I’ve noted which types are organic or have added flavor in my notes below. Calories are not listed, but none of these coffees have any additional ingredients, so they should be about 5 calories per cup. All of the coffees are caffeinated.
- Apple Pie (flavored): I don’t taste or smell anything apple-y in this rich light roast, but it has a nice cinnamon flavor and is vaguely fruity. It’s not sweet, but it’s very pleasant and more complex, less artificial, than I expected.
- Big Island (unflavored): The label doesn’t say precisely where it’s from, but the name and packaging strongly imply that this is a Hawaiian Kona. Like all Konas, it’s very rich and flavorful and is a full bodied medium roast edging on dark. Is it my imagination, or am I picking up notes of toasted coconut and dark chocolate? I would definitely buy this variety if it was sold separately.
- Brazil (unflavored): A pleasant aroma tricks you into thinking this basic, inoffensive light roast is more interesting than it actually is. This is the coffee you serve that person in your family who remembers when a cup of coffee cost 25 cents and thinks that all dark roasts “taste like mud.”
- Caramel Macchiato (flavored): The aroma is unpleasantly artificial, and there’s not much caramel or macchiato. This would be a more convincing macchiato if it came with cream and sugar in the cup, but even when I added cream, the flavor didn’t improve. It was more like a very weak butterscotch than caramel. Hard pass.
- Caramel Pecan (flavored): What a delightful aroma, like getting served a slice of pecan pie and a cup of coffee at once! This light roast has a distinctive pecan flavor that is strong but not overwhelming. The “caramel” element is more vaguely sweet than specifically caramel, though. Like real pecan pie, this one should be served with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Cinnamon Sticky Bun (flavored): I don’t taste much sticky or bun, but there’s plenty of cinnamon. Surprisingly, this light roast is much less complex than the Apple Pie flavor. It hits the cinnamon note, but that’s it.
- Columbian (unflavored): The aroma isn’t exciting, but the coffee itself is a nice light-to-medium roast with slight dark chocolate undertones. It’s a classic “breakfast blend” coffee. Juan Valdez would approve.
- Costa Rica (unflavored): A wonderfully rich aroma introduces you to this smooth, earthy medium roast. I picked up notes of rich dried fruit, like plums or dates. I would buy this one separately, too.
- Guatemalan (unflavored): There’s nothing absolutely wrong with this one, but nothing is absolutely right, either. It’s a typical, uncomplicated medium roast that you drink for the caffeine, not the flavor.
- Hazelnut Coffee Cake (flavored): Another win for Team Flavored Coffee! This delightful light roast has a sweet, faintly cinnamon aroma and a pleasantly nutty flavor that tastes more natural than artificial. It reminds me of Panera’s famous Hazelnut coffee but with a dash of cinnamon. Yum.
- Holiday Blend (flavored): I definitely did not expect this one to taste exactly like a Mounds Bar, complete with chocolate, coconut, and almond flavors all playing against an impressively creamy background. But it’s a pleasant surprise.
- Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend (unflavored): I enjoyed this aromatic, extremely smooth medium roast featuring dark cherry undertones. It’s reminiscent of Starbucks’ Pike Place roast but less bitter.
- Organic Breakfast Blend (unflavored): I find it interesting that “breakfast” teas tend to be very strong, where “breakfast” coffees tend to be light and boring. This one, however, is a very rich, smooth, full-bodied medium roast with pleasantly peaty undertones. It’s good any time of the day you want some caffeine.
- Organic Columbian (unflavored): see tasting notes above on the regular Columbian blend. They taste exactly the same.
- Organic Honduran (unflavored): Another nice, smooth medium roast with a good aroma. Slight caramel undertones are a nice surprise.
- Organic House Blend (unflavored): Back in college, when drinking coffee was still a relatively new experience, I would always buy Maxwell House. It was “good” coffee for my budget at the time and always smooth, never too bitter, especially given the large amounts of cream and sugar I added. This coffee reminds me of that famous blend. Smooth medium roast, not complicated, but drinkable.
- Organic Peru Blend (unflavored): A bland, forgettable medium roast with a mild flavor and no complexity. This is the least flavorful of the organic coffees sampled in this set.
- Organic Rainforest Blend (unflavored): Like the other organic offerings, this is a medium roast, but this one offers more richness than the others. The flavor isn’t complicated, but it’s solid.
- Peppermint Bark (flavored): The aroma hit me from across the kitchen, like someone had spilled a bottle of mint extract and left it there. It would be better with another flavor to offset the mint, like chocolate or something sweet. Otherwise the mint gets overwhelming. Recommend drinking if you need to clear a stuffy nose.
- Salted Coconut (flavored): If you don’t love coconut, this flavor isn’t for you. I love coconut, so I enjoyed feeling transported to a tropical island getaway on a dreary November morning. The coconut aroma and flavor are both very strong. I don’t taste salt, but I don’t want to either. The coffee is a rich, flavorful medium roast with a strong coconut flavor and savory (not salty) undertones.
- Santa’s Blend (flavored): Apparently Santa has a favorite cookie, and it’s gingerbread, because that’s exactly what this coffee smells and tastes like. If, like me, you love gingerbread, this nicely flavored light roast is for you. If, like my fiancé, you hate gingerbread, then a) you are wrong (take it up with Santa, not me) and b) you won’t be adding this flavor to your Christmas wish list.
- Spiced Eggnog (flavored): I LOVE eggnog, so imagine my disappointment when I got a whiff of this blend and wondered why it smelled like a wet dog. The taste is a bland light roast with no distinctive eggnog or other flavor, but I admit I couldn’t get past the rancid smell and dumped it out after a few sips.
- Sumatra (unflavored): My coffee motto is, “If in doubt, pick a Sumatra.” It’s a good rule if you prefer dark roasts but don’t want your coffee to taste burned. This Sumatra has the complex, dark-roast notes that I associate with this blend– rich without the unnecessary bitterness of some Sumatra varieties I’ve tried (cough, Starbucks, cough.)
- White Chocolate Mocha (flavored): When my kids were little, they had one of those baby books with different textures, pop-ups, and scratch-and-sniff pictures. One of the scratch-and-sniffs was supposed to be chocolate. I remember that the scent was close enough to be recognizably chocolate-ish but not close enough to be appetizing. It was cloying and a bit unsettling. Yes, that’s exactly what this coffee smells like. The taste is equally artificial and is not a substitute for a real mocha of any kind.
Priced significantly lower than its competitors, the Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar is a good value if you like coffee or are shopping for a gift for a coffee drinker. Overall, there were more hits than misses, and the sheer amount of variety made it fun. And maybe there’s someone out there who would actually enjoy the “Spiced Eggnog” flavor. It’s worth a shot anyway.