Saturday, June 5, 2021

Theo: Coffee Toffee 70%

I've been coming across plenty of coffee chocolate these days. There has perhaps been more milk chocolate than dark chocolate, so today we have a classic dark chocolate combination with Theo's Coffee Toffee in their 70% Dark Chocolate. The design is traditional Theo, with chocolate squares and coffee beans and toffee pieces set against a pale tan slash on a white background. Not only does the look balance out details and minimalism, it is also informative: toffee is one of those words that can mean a couple different things when it comes to chocolate bars. Here we know that toffee will mean crunchy toffee candy in small pieces.

The eight squares of chocolate have a simple dark chocolate aroma; there is only a bare hint of coffee. The suggestion, then, is that this will not be one of the strong coffee hit chocolates. Because I knew there would be texture from both the toffee and the coffee, from the start I knew this would be a munching chocolate rather than a melting chocolate. But you can still munch slowly: the crunchy pieces are small enough as to not be tooth-breaking or even much tooth-sticking. Large pieces of toffee can be that way, you know--though don't we love toffee, anyway? That said, there is still enough of normal toffee texture in here that you still have the entertainment of it. 

There is something of toffee's crystal sugar flavor in here, as well. You have that hint in the beginning part of each bite, and the coffee bean flavor comes in more towards the second half or even last third. And yes, it is specifically a coffee bean flavor rather than simply coffee flavor. Proportionally, it's mild within the context of other flavors, but in and of itself it has that stronger, sharper tone. The strongest coffee flavor, proportionally, comes perhaps in the aftertaste in that first moment after the chocolate has melted away. 

Theo's dark chocolate makes for a good base for all of this. They make a good and solid dark chocolate that still isn't too striking or full of flavor notes on its own--which means that it works well for flavored chocolate because you can enjoy the added flavors. Besides the fun element of its slight, sugary flavor, the toffee greatly enhances the texture. In fact, I do believe Theo may have found a creative solution here to the problem of coffee chocolate texture. I've done some exploring in reviews lately on different sizes of coffee grounds within chocolate. Grainy texture is usually odd, and sometimes even making the grains bigger seems to help. But in this chocolate, I can hardly tell what size the coffee grounds are because my mind thinks I'm just getting toffee texture. And that's great. I get fun toffee texture along with coffee flavor. It's quite a genius solution. 

In the world of coffee chocolates, here the style is not the latte-evocative, seamless blending of coffee and chocolate. That isn't the intended effect or goal here. Here we just have a nice dark chocolate with good texture and some coffee flavor. It's a nice option if you're less into the creamy/milky/latte type of coffee chocolate. I enjoy that style, but I like this one as well. Despite the bit of ingenuity with the toffee texture, this chocolate bar has a classic feel to it. 

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