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Japanese Candy Review: Lion Coffee Candy

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Hard Candy

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Lion Coffee Candy Bag

Here’s the second of the two Japanese items I picked up at T&T the other day, the first being the Senjuku Four Seas Ice Cream Candy I reviewed earlier. At first, I hesitated to buy these because they were kind of a similar item, but they were on sale and I’d been wanting to try them for ages. If I’d thought about it a little more, I would have tried to find another item or two and made this a proper multi-part series on Japanese Hard Candies That Contain Milk And Look Like Cute Things.

And cute is right. Awwwww… look at his widdle nose, and his widdle ears! Don’t you just want to snuggle him? (Cute or not, you know you’re in trouble when you start randomly assigning genders to your snack packages.) The candies inside are individually wrapped with the same bear face print, only every fifth one or so is winking and sticking his widd… er, little tongue out – a nice touch, I thought. Watch out – a whole handful may contain more adorableness than can be safely withstood.

The candies themselves are really nice looking – glossy, detailed little bear shapes, with even the back nicely shaped. Definitely a quality presentation all around. They smell like caramel, a bit like Werther’s, with a faint hint of milky coffee. I wasn’t expecting a hardcore coffee flavor from something so little and cute, and I didn’t get it. They have a mild, milky-sweet taste, more caramel than coffee, but without the salt of a Werther’s.

Lion Coffee Candy

As shown on the bag, there are two fillings, which, since I can’t read the “moon-speak” on the package, we’ll refer to as “brown” and “white.” The brown (which is really more of a light tan) doesn’t really taste like much of anything beyond the flavor of the candy shell, except maybe condensed milk – I think there might be a hint of coffee in there too. It’s very buttery and melts away quickly, with a texture kind of like buttercream icing, only a little firmer and less likely to dissolve away straight off.

The white filling seems to be a straight-up vanilla flavor with a little hint of salt, like real vanilla buttercream. I want to say the exterior candy shell of the white ones has a stronger flavor, but odds are it’s just psychological. Both flavors have a tendency to split in half after you’ve been sucking on them for a minute or two – maybe the manufacturing process required to create such a detailed-looking candy makes them inherently unstable. When you get one that doesn’t split, the longer sucking time seems to cause the filling to be a bit more soft and melty – it loses some of that buttercream-like texture.

In all, putting something this rich and creamy inside a hard candy shell is an intriguing idea – usually filled hard candies contain something chewy like gum or Tootsie Rolls, with the exception of those chocolate-filled mints (and it’s never very good chocolate anyway). Clearly there’s more room for experimentation here than North American candy companies have been doing.

These cute little bears aren’t just a pretty face – they’re a really tasty candy that stands up to the standard set by their packaging. If you’re a fan of things that are cute and Japanese, you won’t be sorry you invited these teddy bears to your next picnic.

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3 Responses to “Japanese Candy Review: Lion Coffee Candy”

  1. 1
    Robby says:

    These are so adorable! I would feel so guilty eating the little guys that I’d probably have to close my eyes to avoid feeling bad for them.

  2. 2
    Trish says:

    I just bought a package of Lion fruit flavored candies (everything from white+regular grape and apple to grapefruit and pineapple (8 flavors in total). The two I’ve tasted so far are pretty good-they are ball shaped. Anyways, on the package itself and every individual candy wrapper, there’s an illustration telling you to squeeze the sides of the little package to open it- the packages are regular candy wrappers and they even come with the jagged sides to rip open. If you squeeze the sides the package will pop open with a loud pop just like when kid squeeze potato chip bags or rolled moist towelette packages. Hmmm….a product that encourages you to pop the bag.

  3. 3
    wakafallen says:

    =) hey I’m korean and I can read a bit of Japanese too (btw love your blog)

    It says the brown filling is caramel cream (kyarameru kurimu, in katakana)
    and the white filling … I can only make out the “kurimu” part, but I bet it’s milk
    (or miruku, in katakana)

    Name of the product is “Kuma Kyara” (kuma: bear, kyra: caramel)
    And it says “Cream in Candy” (kurimu in kyandi) under the title
    (turns out the brown circle already says it all in english)

    I’d love to send you Korean candy that’s actually good (so you won’t get hoodwinked by pretty packaging….) or at least inform you about tasty Korean treats.. =)

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