I love chocolate collaborations. When chocolate makers get their flavours from other artisan suppliers and actually name them on the product. The Askinosie “CollaBARation” bars spring to mind and here in the UK, Paul A Young does it with his creations all the time.
I don’t know how closely San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee were in the creation of this particular bar, but I do like the fact that they are named. This is TCHO’s first flavoured chocolate bar, and the coffe & chocolate combination is notoriously difficult to get right, so I’m sure there was some input. But intriguingly, TCHO also have what they call a “Beta Test” program, where public “testers” give feedback on recipes like this one as they’re being developed. So the creation of this particular bar has truly been a collaboration.
Judging by the International Chocolate Award sticker on the front, they must be doing something right – although closer examination does reveal it’s a silver award rather than gold, and for the “Americas” region rather than truly international. But it’s still a good sign.
The chocolate is a blend of TCHO’s “Seriousmilk” milk chocolate and 99% dark chocolate. It’s 45% cocoa solids (although I can’t see that fact on the packaging), so while it’s a high range in terms of cacao content, it’s not actually that serious. It has a pleasantly dark appearance and a good snap to it. But the really important thing is how it tastes, of course.
Coffee is clearly the predominant flavour here. But it’s not overwhelming like it so often is in coffee flavoured chocolate. In fact, after a few seconds, the chocolate flavours make themselves known, first with creamy, malty, then sweet caramel notes. The coffee is still there all the time, but the chocolate flavours grow as it melts.
Another interesting aspect of this particular bar is the texture. It’s incredibly smooth for a coffee flavoured bar. I’m so used to chocolate with a pronounced texture of ground coffee that this took me by surprise somewhat. From the texture alone, you would think this was a pure milk chocolate.
I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but I do like this bar a lot.
I’m still in two minds about whether I would buy it over the unflavoured SeriousMilk chocolate though. But that’s purely a matter of personal taste, and if you enjoy your coffee, this is a bar you’ll probably want to seek out.