Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Starbucks Truffles

Starburcks Chocolate Tasting KitThough I admit freely that I take samples from candy companies (always fully disclosed to you, dear readers), the new Starbucks chocolates line was one of the rare times when I actually asked for a tasting kit when the press release arrived via email. (Usually companies specifically offer to send me something, about half the time I say yes.) I actually had to ask twice, as the first person never actually sent it. (Or my UPS guy is wise to the contents of the packages delivered to my house.)

The biggest reason for asking was because I knew that this tasting kit existed and the idea of going out and buying 7 different boxes at over $5 each was kind of prohibitive, even for someone who has a line item in her personal budget for candy.

Starbucks Chocolate Truffles

There are lots of chocolate bars out there that feature coffee and tea combinations (Joanie’s Smiles, Dagoba, Dolfin, Theo, to name a few). So whatever Starbucks was going to come up with should be distinctive. What they have going that that most others don’t is a line of “truffles”. Each comes in a single flavor box (4.2 ounces) and retails for $4.99 to $5.49. I saw them at Target yesterday for $5.29.

Starbucks Coffee TruffleDark Chocolate Espresso Truffles - Intense, indulgent dark chocolate delights infused with our bold Espresso Roast coffee.

The smelled of freshly ground coffee even before taking a bite. The dark shell is shiny and has a decent snap to it.

Where I didn’t care for the inclusion of the crushed coffee beans in the chocolate tasting squares, this truffle just goes for flavor and texture.

It’s a very dark mix of flavors, much stronger on the coffee than the chocolate side of things and with just a hint of acidity and bitterness.

Starburcks TruffleMilk Chocolate Caff? Mocha Truffles - Luscious milk chocolate embraces creamy mocha centers infused with our rich Espresso Roast coffee

I tried eating these truffles blind at first, just having one in the car without looking at the wrapper.

I thought this one tasted like fudge. Nice fudge, but plain old chocolate fudge. The ganache center was smooth, but still not a decadent buttery melt that I’d associate with something called “truffle.” I really wasn’t getting the mocha vibe here.

Then I felt really full and even though I was in the car for another half hour I didn’t feel like eating any additional truffles. Basically, this was my least favorite of the four ... not bad and I’d probably be happy with it in a mix of truffles, but pretty unhappy if I’d bought a whole box.

Starbucks ChocolateMilk Chocolate Chai Truffles - Creamy milk chocolate wraps around a sweetly spiced Tazo(r) Chai black tea center.

Oops, I photographed this one up-side-down. It’s supposed to look like a little teacup.

The center is a mild and buttery ganache with a strong chai scent and flavor to it with a slight grain. The flavor notes, like the tasting square of the chocolate, omit the clove that’s so commonly the loudest part of chai and instead focuses here on cardamom & ginger and perhaps only the lightest hint of cinnamon & black pepper. I like the combo very much, I think it goes well with the milk chocolate. (But YumSugar didn’t like that at all, she thought it was missing its essential chai-ness).

I’ve never had a Tazo Chai, as Starbucks won’t serve it unsweetened, so I can’t say how this flavor profile compares for fans of that drink.

Starbucks TruffleDark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Truffles - Sweet and dreamy vanilla from Madagascar meets exquisite dark chocolate in a lovely pairing

It’s definitely a strong dose of vanilla here. It was easy to smell those bourbon vanilla notes even before cracking the shell in my teeth.

The white ganache has little flecks of vanilla in it and a mildly sweet flavor. The dark chocolate shell balances it all very well, a little bitter, a little bit of a dry finish.

It goes very well with coffee.

I loved the little wrappers. They have cute little icon designs on them that kind of reflect the flavors inside and an extra foil wrap around the chocolate itself for extra protection.

They should sell a mixed box of these. Heck, they should sell the sample box I got as a gift selection. (It probably doesn’t need the full 3 ounce bars in it though, since the tasting squares are pretty much the same thing. I haven’t opened those yet as I wanted to get through the truffles first. I’m planning a head-to-head with Choxie 3 ounce bars.)

Basically, the Chai and Vanilla are the two that I’d be most likely to buy, but I don’t know if I’d want a whole box ... I’d like a mix like the Tasting Squares are offered. There’s a fifth flavor as well, a Macchiatto, but that’s not sold via retail outlets at this time.

What I’d probably be most likely to do is buy one or two to have with my coffee while sitting at the Barnes & Noble ... except that’s not really the kind of life I have where I sit around in bookstores.  And I don’t go into Starbucks very often, there really aren’t that many in my area that are more convenient that the indies and I’m kinda cheap and just as likely to stop at the 7-11 or McDonalds if we’re talking chains. But maybe the enticement of a little $1.00 piece of chocolate would make me stop and relax.

UPDATE - Here are some other reviews: YumSugar, Chocolate Snob, Candy Addict and The Chocolate Life.

Related Candies

  1. Starbucks Chocolate
  2. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
  3. Joseph Schmidt
  4. Choxies in Boxies
  5. Dagoba Single Origin
  6. Scharffen Berger Tasting Squares
  7. Dagoba Chai
Name: Starbucks Chocolate Truffles
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Starbucks (and Hershey's)
Place Purchased: samples from Hershey's
Price: $4.99-$5.49 retail
Size: 4.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, United States, Hershey's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:56 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Hi,
    The only one I’ve tried is the vanilla bean truffle and that is soo delicious. I had a vanilla bean cheesecake served to me at a restaurant the other day and it was incredible. This reminded me of that. The price is a bit high for just 3 1/2 servings. I have yet to try the chai and then there was a green tea one too. Overall I would recommend this truffle. Very good.

    Comment by Jamie on 3/28/08 at 5:31 am #
  2. They’re the best truffles I have had since tasting The Candy Jar’s truffles from San Francisco.Been looking for replacements ever since Candy Jar went out of business. THe Espresso Truffles taste 95 percent like them. The epresso flavor isn’t is intense but they’ll do.

    Comment by Peg on 3/29/08 at 3:43 pm #
  3. I just tried the Chai Truffles today, and I am hooked! I really like how they capture the flavor of Chai, and how smooth the chocolate is. The only thing is that I can only see myself eating a maximum of two at a time. Otherwise I’d be bouncing off the walls from the sugar rush.

    Comment by Mindy on 4/27/08 at 3:45 pm #
  4. I tried the Caff? Mocha Truffles, which is my favorite Starbucks coffee.  I was completly disappointed, they tasted nothing like a truffle.  I won’t be trying any of the others, not worth the calories or the price!

    Comment by Connie on 6/06/08 at 5:38 am #
  5. I tried, after debating the price for 2 weeks, the Caffe Mocha Truffle.  What a disappointment. I will however try the other flavors when my grocery budget allows.  I like to treat myself to a specialty bag of chocolates at least once a month. The coffee flavor was weak. The chocolate flavor was grainy. It didn’t that “Melt-in-your-mouth” effect that I like when I bite into a truffle. My husband felt the same way. Perhaps we got an old batch!  They had a awful texture to them.  I hope the other don’t.

    Comment by Michelle on 12/20/08 at 3:52 am #
  6. I tried the Starbucks Chai Truffels and was not very pleased.  The Chai tea flavor was interesting and not bad at all!  My complaint was the chocolate.  I’ve had chocolates from many different countries in my travels and have found that there are only a few American chocolates that come close to those from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.  This was not one of them.  The chocolate was very ‘waxy’ tasting and to me, very unappealing.  I even had one that seemed to have a crunch.  Anyway, I should have left it on the shelf.  If you liked it, then by all means enjoy.  If not, then go with what you are familiar with.

    Comment by Fred on 12/21/08 at 2:22 pm #
  7. OMG is this candy great. I tried the Gingerbread Latte (and I hate Gingerbread) and it was incredible.

    Comment by Donna L. Lewey on 1/13/09 at 4:04 am #
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