I have been a huge fan of Chuao chocolates for a long time, and was absolutely delighted when we started selling them at Starbucks! I love their unique flavor combinations, and there are so many different kinds that could work well with our coffees. Since we started carrying these, I have been sampling them with our coffees at the register. So this was a fun project for me to take on!
The first thing I had to do was to figure out what coffee & chocolates I was going to pair. I couldn’t do all of them (not in one sitting at least!) and I knew I could not open the potato chip bar, because it is my weakness. If you haven’t had this one yet, you should seriously try it. Of course my photo assistant and coffee master cat, Roscoe, watches me work in his “jungle”. He loves getting sun with my coffee plants when it’s sunny (which is rare in Seattle!).
I really wanted to do a mix of coffees. Some core, a reserve, a Roastery exclusive, and an online exclusive coffee. This is what I came up with;
- Veranda blend with Ravishing Rocky Road
- Cafe Estima with Oh my smores! (Cafe Estima is available on StarbucksStore.com)
- Ethiopia with Spicy Maya mini bar
- Starbucks reserve Guatemala finca Monte David with the honeycomb mini bar
- Starbucks reserve Papua New Guinea Luoka with orange a go go mini bar (This coffee was available in the Roastery subscription)
Starting with Veranda, I wanted to pair it with the Ravishing Rocky Road bar because of it’s delicate notes of milk chocolate and nuts. The salted caramelized almonds really highlight the nuttiness of the Veranda blend, and the super sweet burst of marshmallows make it a perfectly smooth cup.
I also love the visual aspect of these chocolate bars. I love how the almonds and marshmallows are just scattered on top. This is exactly what I envisioned this chocolate bar to look like when I opened it!
I really appreciate all the little details and thought that goes into the design and packaging of these chocolates. When I opened up oh my smores, I smiled. 🙂
I went back and forth with which coffee to pair with this chocolate bar. I wanted to do Veranda, I wanted to do French roast, but ultimately I decided on Cafe Estima. Cafe Estima is no longer sold in Starbucks stores, but you can buy it online. This used to be a core coffee, and was our Fair Trade offering before Italian Roast. (and is still currently fair trade certified!) Cafe Estima is a blend of Latin American and East African coffees. This coffee is velvety smooth with a roasty sweetness that matches perfectly with the milk chocolate and honey graham crackers.
Moving on to the next pairing.. Ethiopia with the spicy maya mini bar. This was my favorite tasting! When I first got these chocolates, I was planning on pairing Ethiopia with the firecracker bar, but this chocolate changed my mind. Dark chocolate with cinnamon, pasilla chilies and cayenne. It is the perfect match to Ethiopia, highlighting the peppery notes and warm spices. I was sad I only had one mini bar, I could have easily devoured a full sized one!
When I saw the honey bar, there was only one choice; Guatemala finca Monte David. I because addicted to this coffee with the caramelized honey syrup (or just a packet of honey). It is so good, and having it with chocolate was even better! This bar has honey that has been caramelized into chunks and scattered throughout the chocolate. Absolutely delicious.
And last, but certainly not least… Papua New Guinea Luoka. This coffee was part of the Roastery subscription, but is also being offered at the scoop bar at the Roastery. I fell in love with this coffee, and picked up a couple extra bags to share. The Luoka is very bright, with notes of lemon, orange and cocoa.
I decided to pair it with the Orange-a-go go mini bar. Dark chocolate with candied orange pieces and a hint of bergamot. The dark chocolate is a perfect compliment to the Luoka, and the addition of orange makes the flavor really pop! This was also one of my favorite pairings I did this morning!
So there you have it. 5 chocolates and 5 coffees. Thank you so much to Melody and Chuao for providing the chocolates! After looking at the Chuao website, I might have to find that caramel apple chocolate bar and pair it with the core Guatemala!!! It looks fantastic! (they all do!)
If you have done a coffee tasting with Chuao, please let me know in the comments!