Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Java Bark

I bought this tin of Java Bark on sale just after Christmas from Crate & Barrel. At only $4.50, marked down from $15.00, I couldn’t resist. Besides, I was buying some Mint Cookie Joys, so the shipping was a done deal.


I wasn’t quite sure what Java Bark was going to be, and it’s not quite what I was expecting. I didn’t know if was going to be chocolate or toffee or good. And it was none of those things.


Basically it’s a sweet coffee flavored “chocolate” with chocolate cookie chunks in it sprinkled with a coffee powder and then drizzled with some white chocolate. They’re cut into squares (about 2”) and individually wrapped. Then they’re tucked into a pretty oval tin.

Did I mention the tin is really pretty?

The little plastic wraps are incredibly hard to open for some reason, which leads me to believe that these are not made by Harry London, who made the Mint Cookie Joys, because those little cello sleeves were easy to open.

Once open the squares have a very sweet, coffee smell to them. The “chocolate” has a rather graham flavor to it, a bit grainy and after looking at the label, I see that it’s not really chocolate at all. The cookie bits are firm and crunchy and actually really good, mostly because they add a dash of salt to the sweet and chalky combination. The coffee powder (coffee grounds) gives the whole thing and unpleasant grain but a good boost of flavor.

The nicest thing about these is that I can bring them to work and set the tin out and no one will think I’ve pawning off Christmas candy on them. And that’s just what I’m going to do. I’ve gotta make room for the Valentine’s sale candy.

Name: Java Bark
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Crate & Barrel
Place Purchased: Crate & Barrel (online)
Price: $4.50
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Cookie, Coffee, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:22 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I only recently discovered the wonders of peppermint bark. One of our compadres made an awesome batch over the holidays using the Martha Stewart recipe. I ate myself sick. Pity that the Java Bark was so underwhelming.

    Comment by Suburban Tasteland on 2/15/06 at 11:32 am #
  2. Cybele's avatar

    Suburban - Can I just say I LOOOOVE your blogname!

    I think that there is a good recipe out there for Java Bark ... one that starts with real chocolate.

    Maybe I’ll start working on that now that I’ve created the Malted Rice Krispies squares I had been threatening for six months.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/15/06 at 11:36 am #
  3. I had some coffee bark from Williams & Sonoma a couple years back and was pretty disappointed with it, too, though I absolutely love their peppermint bark.

    Comment by Grace on 2/15/06 at 3:43 pm #
  4. I’m assuming it’s appalling instead of inedible because you could actually swallow it?

    Comment by Julilla on 2/15/06 at 4:57 pm #
  5. Oh no, this looks a lot like the Chocolate Espresso Bark I just picked up for my husband at Target (Valentine’s Choxie, 50% off). Except the Choxie version claims 70% cocoa, “artfully studded with real espresso beans.” Hopefully it’s better than Java Bark and he’ll enjoy it! (There’s nobody for him to share with in the house, the rest of us don’t like coffee flavor.)

    Comment by Tricia on 2/15/06 at 7:20 pm #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Julila - I actually ate quite a bit of this stuff, I’m not sure why. I kept hoping it would be good. I kept thinking that it was because I had just had a sip of wine that it was bad, or maybe because I’d burned my tongue on some soup earlier in the day. I kept thinking it was me. But it’s really them.

    Tricia - don’t worry, I think you’re safe with the Choxie. I’ve had the Thin stuff (comes in a slim box) and it was good. I also had some mixed bark stuff from Choxie too that I took to a party and that ended up being good as well (though not excellent). I’ve gotta hit Target before the weekend or else all the sale stuff will be gone!

    Comment by Cybele on 2/16/06 at 9:32 am #
  7. Again, I tip my hat in respect to your willingness to suffer in the name of candy!  Hip hip hooray!

    Comment by Julilla on 2/16/06 at 3:00 pm #
  8. JAVA BARK…we do that!

    We are Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters in Penn Yan, NY and we produce a gourmet specialty food line.  One product is JAVA BARK…our Italian Espresso Beans in a fabulous dark European chocolate. Now also avaliable in decaf. Delicious! Sinful! See our website for more!

    Comment by Susan on 7/17/06 at 3:48 pm #
  9. Cybele's avatar

    Don’t you think it’s a little tacky, Susan, to leave an ad for your product in another product review?

    BTW - I tried going to your links, but neither site came up.

    Comment by Cybele on 7/18/06 at 1:55 pm #
  10. Cybele,

    I did not mean to breech “blog” etiquette…since we have a product called JAVA BARK, I do searches periodically to see what else comes up and your BLOG did.

    Since there was an “appalling” rating on your review and others were talking about Choxie espresso chocolate, I decided I’d let you know about ours.

    My intentions were good natured…I think we make the best JAVA Bark available. We are a small company and proud of what we do.

    As for the web site, I’m aware it’s down.  Some major server is down in NY ...hopefully, it will be back up soon.


    Comment by Susan on 7/18/06 at 3:40 pm #
  11. Appalling?  How… appalling!

    I admit, I was a little disappointed to notice that the “chocolate” really wasn’t chocolate.  I’m not sure if it’s always been that way, or if it changed for Christmas 2005.

    Still - appalling?  I’m not the most selective chocolate eater; I’ll generally eat just about anything but Hershey’s and Godiva.  (And, in a pinch, even Hershey’s; in fact, for s’mores, no real chocolate seems to taste quite as good.)

    But I always thought that Java Bark was one of the most wonderful substances known to man.  Maybe it’s just the caffeine that made me think that.  I used to buy it every winter, and bring it to meetings; it was a huge hit.  One Christmas, I bought ten tins, and hoarded it through the rest of the year; it made me quite popular.  (I guess I should have wondered then why it didn’t bloom.)

    I had a chocolate party about a decade ago, and people still remember the Java Bark.  Just today, I got a voicemail from someone who I haven’t talked to in seven years.  He wanted to know two things:  One, how I was doing these days, and two, where I used to get that “chocolate coffee stuff”.

    You’re right - it wasn’t by Harry London.  I did some research last year, and C&B got their Java Bark from Long Grove Confectionery in Illinois.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your taste), they don’t sell it directly.

    C&B didn’t carry it last year, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to this year.  Now I know who to blame!  Thanks, Candy Blog.  Hmph.

    Comment by Jay Levitt on 11/11/07 at 1:43 pm #
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