I’m one of those weird people who loves the taste of coffee but don’t really drink the stuff. I’ve never understood the wonderful alchemy, that captivating mixture of sweet and bitter, which constitutes the perfect cup of coffee. I gleefully eat coffee-flavored hard candies and I’m often compelled to wander into a Starbucks to order a Frappuccino.
So I come into this review with an eager palate. Caffe Acapella claims to have created the first “coffee bar,” a tantalizing mingling of coffee and chocolate wrapped into a gourmet candy bar. They were kind enough to send over a gift set of their products to us for this review.
The first thing I noticed about all the varieties was the smell, tantalizingly rich and a little bitter. It was like walking past a coffee place, but without the dozens of people waiting in line for their morning caffeine fix. Here’s a breakdown of the four flavors offered by Caffe Acapella, along with my impressions of each.
Caramel Macchiato Classico: Our bold, full-bodied espresso perfectly balanced with the smoothest fresh cream caramel. The caramel sits in a middle layer enrobed in a special blend of chocolate and coffee bean. There are tiny black specks (I’m assuming they’re bits of the coffee beans) pocked throughout the chocolate, and they give the bar an interesting grittiness that offsets the softness of the caramel. The coffee and caramel blend together nicely, the caramel offering just the right amount of sweetness to offset the bitter quality of the coffee without one overpowering the other.
Cappuccino Connoisseur: An elegant duet of our flavorful espresso with velvety milk. The specks aren’t as noticeable on this bar as they are on the caramel bar, and there’s a definite darker coffee flavor that pushes through. I was expecting this to be a lot more bitter than it turned out to be. The milk and sugar really mellow out the sharpness, and this one reminds me of the best coffee hard candies, except with the added attraction of chocolate. This turned out to be my favorite variety out of the four.
Toffee Espresso Concerto: Our full-bodied Italian Roast paired with buttery English Toffee. This smelled the least “coffee-like” out of all the varieties, but it’s the most interesting appearance-wise. The toffee offers a nice texture that really cuts through the bitterness of the coffee. It’s not as toffee-rich as a Heath bar (which basically is just a chunk of toffee coated in chocolate), but there’s just enough to give a nice crunch when bitten into. I liked the buttery-sweet flavor melding in with the coffee, and the crispiness is a nice touch. My second favorite out of the four.
Espresso Serenade: Our rich, full-bodied, extra bold Italian Roast balanced with a hint of sweetness Wow. This turned out to be intense, like how I’d expected the Cappuccino Connoisseur to taste. This is definitely for coffee lovers only; I’m doubtful that anyone else would be able to appreciate the boldly bitter flavor. I imagine this is how chocolate-covered coffee beans taste like. In fact, there’s barely a hint of chocolate, and that was only in how the bar readily melted in my mouth. I enjoyed this, but I wouldn’t be able to finish an entire bar in one sitting.
In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to gobble any of these bars down in one sitting. They’re wonderful, but I would need to sit down and mull over the complex mixtures of coffee and chocolate. I also need to watch my caffeine intake, which kind of makes anything coffee-flavored doubly exciting for me.
These are gourmet chocolates, available from the Caffe Acapella website (and select gourmet stores) at $2.99 a bar. As these are a completely unique product, I would definitely recommend trying them if you’re a coffee lover. If you know a coffee lover, get them as a gift! According to the labels, each serving contains as much caffeine as one cup of coffee. You’ll get the same pleasant pick-me-up as your morning cup of Joe without having to wait for it to cool down. Plus, it’s chocolate, and you can’t argue with a good bar of chocolate.
I’m so impressed with this creation that I’m giving Caffe Acapella Coffee Bars our Candy Addict “Awesomely Addictive” Award! Give them a try and I think you’ll agree.