Monday, May 27, 2013

Cafe Tirol Lemon Tea and Coffee Jelly assortment

My husband is not a very visually oriented person. In fact, I'll not infrequently point out something design or art-oriented and he'll say he did not notice. However, after I bought this, he picked the bag up and remarked that it was really designed well. We both thought it brought to mind two very famous coffee shops without going so far as to infringe on their copyrights. I thought of Starbucks because of the color scheme and he thought of Tully's because of the stripes. They did a good job of evoking the coffee shop experience while still avoiding being sued. 

In Japan, I imagine this sells for around 150 yen ($1.50) as it is the regular small chocolates rather than premium ones. It's still listed on Tirol's web site, but they don't offer prices for this. I paid $2.19 for it at Nijiya. The only way I could find to buy them online was via eBay for obscene prices ($7.49 and $4.00). Unfortunately, Candysan, which tends to offer some of the better prices on such things, doesn't carry Tirol chocolates of any kind. 

Even the little packages are nicely designed!

The lemon tea chocolate is an interesting blend of lemon and tea with a strong bitter finish. I'm not sure if the bitterness is supposed to represent the bitterness of strong tea or the pith of a lemon. This is not a bad thing, necessarily, but it comes on as a bit of a shock after the mellow tea and somewhat sweet lemons flavors. Inside is a bland little biscuit which adds a nice textural element and perhaps lightens up the sweetness of the candy in general. I like the cookie being put in the tea candy because it has shades of "afternoon tea" with tea and a biscuit.

The coffee jelly has a very strong coffee flavor coupled with some strong sweetness. The top is white chocolate, which is either supposed to represent whipped cream (likely) or milk (less likely). The thing is that, I had coffee jelly on occasion in Japan and this very much captures the taste of that treat. The jelly candy in the middle is soft and easy to cleave and, like the biscuit in the tea candy, adds some textural interest.

I really liked both of these for their strong flavors and textural variety. Though they aren't the most incredible, mind-blowing chocolates I've ever had, they have both high novelty value and are pleasurable. What I tend to ask of such candy is that they have solid flavor strength without being disgusting or overbearing and decent depth of flavor. These score well on both fronts. If you like coffee and tea, I'd say they're worth a try. The only risk is that the packaging will have you craving a latte or frappucino.

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