Friday, January 7, 2011

Chocolate Review: Green & Black's 67% Espresso

I never liked coffee. While I was a kid I tried it here and there in order to try and fit in with the adults in my life, but the bitterness was terrible and the caffeine would charge the hell out of me and cause a horrendous crash later on. Despite repeated attempts to try and like it I've always ended up forgoing it. To this day in my adult life I still don't drink coffee; possibly never will. I thought it might entirely be a mistake, then, for me to have purchased a bar of Green & Black's Espresso dark chocolate with 67% cocoa.

Really, I think the only reason why I purchased it is because I had in mind at the time that the moderator of Modern Paleo regularly enjoyed coffee, so this bar caught my attention during my chocolate shopping. I nearly glanced over it since I was aware of my dislike of coffee, but curiosity and fair-mindedness compelled me to buy one. I've been holding off on it for quite a while since I wasn't tempted to taste it, but this week I decided it was time. My expectations were that of assaulting bitterness and perhaps an overwhelming buzz, so I didn't go in with excited anticipation. When I took my first bite my estimate was formed instantly.

Heaven. Holy crap is this one of the best chocolates I ever tasted in my life.

There is not a single vice in the entire experience. The flavor takes the form of a strong trio all balanced with equivalent intensity: bittersweet coffee with a touch of smoke, satisfyingly gratuitous pinches of sugar, and sharply sweet and milky cream. The cocoa cannot be differentiated from this trio, for rather it plays perfectly into them by blending in and boosting every attribute. Delectable is the chocolate side to the faces of the coffee, sugar, and cream. The experience is consistently that of coffee for a very long time, though there is a strong chocolate finish if you taste with the back of your tongue.

The coffee will haunt your palate for a long time even after the finish, both in the taste of your breath and in its memory on your tongue. My tasting was conducted very early in the morning, and yet it stuck with me throughout most of the day. I brushed, flossed, drank lots of water, ate a herb roasted turkey leg with butter, hot sauced spinach, sour pickles, and mildly sharp asiago cheese, and yet late in the evening while at work the taste of coffee came back. My brain was pleasured by its memory, moving me to hold a half-smile for much of my shift. Even the very next afternoon I could still detect tangy hints of the coffee in my back upper molars. Now there's a finish! 

This chocolate fed my soul in a way, with no ill effects afterwards. It put me in a  mildly euphoric state in the morning and was sustained throughout most of the day, even giving me an emotional boost while I was just *thinking* about it at work. I went to bed as usual, slept like a baby, and woke up rested, suffering no crash the day before and no desire for caffeine for its own sake in the morning. All uplifting with no return to inferior states, at least for my body's composition.

G & B's did a wonderful job integrating the coffee beans, for there was no evidence of them in the texture or appearance. Breaking the bar led to only a crisp snap and the inner being of the chocolate yielded a smooth gradient with no isolated bean chunks; just smooth flesh with a shadowy black color and an imprecisely reflecting sheen. Inside the mouth each bite is soft almost like a very firm pillow at the first few chews, and it slowly moves into that lovely state of being a viscous paste. No movement towards being a watery liquid! The aroma was that of very nearly pure soothing coffee, with a small suggestion of sweetened cocoa.

I love chocolate, and yet it's rare that I have an experience this good. The bar smells wonderful, tastes heavenly and lingers nigh on forever, is awesomely soft and soon velvety, and gave me a super boost in my well-being not only with its nourishment, but in the great memory it imprinted. It's a horrible misfortune now to think that I only bought one!

Most surprising to me is how well I reacted to the caffeine, as I fully expected to be overly hyper and then crash into exhaustion later on, but the uplift I got wasn't unsettling and there was no downfall. I cannot speak for other people, but it seems that my own body at least is well tolerant of caffeine.

Do I even need to say I greatly recommend this coffee chocolate? What a smashing start to the year for my reviews! I love this so much that it's easily in the top two of my hierarchy of favorites, second only to my beloved herb-infused variety, mint. In the future I would definitely consider buying this in bulk and having it piled high in my pantry. Other people may need to strongly contemplate how much they ought to consume at a time given their caffeine tolerance, but this is an incredible taste experience that needs to be had at least once.

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