There were things that I bought in Japan that I loved and for some reason never reviewed. One of those things was a sugar-free coffee candy. In fact, I was so certain that I'd reviewed it that I went back through my archives looking for a link to that review and found that none existed. And now, due to my aging brain and time away from Japan, I can't recall who made it or what it was called. All I do remember was that the drops were smooth as silk and perfectly balanced in flavors and sweetness. There were two kinds in each bag, a milk and espresso version, and both were delicious. They were the sort of coffee candy that both coffee and non-coffee lovers might find appealing.
Kopiko, which appear to be available all over the place in the U.S. as well as by mail order from places like Amazon, is made in Indonesia and distributed by a Canadian company. They're available in both regular and sugar-free versions. I have the regular one and each candy is 17.5 calories. My main desire when it comes to coffee candies is that I sometimes want a cup of coffee, but am too full to drink one. In Japan, the candies were my way of satisfying such cravings.
It was with those hard candies in mind and a desire to repeat the experience that I bought these Kopiko coffee candies. I wanted to compare them to those sublime Japanese drops and hope that they'd come up nearly on par. Alas, my hopes were pretty rapidly dashed. It started when I opened the bag and noted that these are not an integrated lozenge, but a split. That means that the textural appeal is undermined to some extent as this was not going to be the slick, smooth experience I'd hoped for. They're also not as "pretty" as the Japanese ones since they have suffered a few bruises and bangs despite being individually wrapped.
I know that hard candies are the red-headed stepchild of the candy world. They're the sort of thing which kids are disappointed to get in their trick-or-treat bags and that grannies keep in their purses until they turn into lumps of goo and crystallized sugar, but they do have their appeal. Unfortunately, they are so often gotten "wrong" that most people have never had one that has been "right". The Japanese seemed to know how to get them "right" and more often than not, that was by adding fat to them and not focusing mainly on corn syrup or sugar. The way in which these failed me are in being just too sweet.
The coffee flavor is fine in these, it's not as bitter or nasty as some can be, but that's easy to accomplish when something is this sweet. This is a two-note candy and that is sweet and the sort of meek coffee flavor that you get from pouring lots of milk and sugar into your drink. It's not bad, but I'm going to keep looking for a substitute for what I had in Japan.