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If you’re like us, you’re no stranger to the wonders of a good chocolate and coffee pairing. But today, we aren’t talking about the gourmet intricacies of a well-paired blend and bar from something like Bean Box. We’re simplifying– all the way to just covering the beans themselves in chocolate.
Roast + Chocolate?
The most common combination you will find for chocolate covered coffee beans is dark chocolate with a dark roast. This is for a number of reasons, but the main two are texture and caffeine.
Dark roasts are the least dense of the roasted beans, which makes them easier to chew. So if you’re eating a bag of them, your jaw won’t feel like it’s going to fall off when you reach the bottom.
Secondly, dark chocolate is generally preferred to milk or white chocolate due to its caffeine content. You can thank the cacao for that, but we’ll touch more on caffeine later.
When shopping for chocolate covered coffee, you’re going to come across a TON of brands that are marketing them as “espresso beans.” However, as a coffee lover, you may realize that label doesn’t exact mean much.
This is because you can use just about any kind of bean to make espresso; however, darker roasts are generally preferred. Additionally, people often associate “espresso” with “caffeine-boost” which is what many people are looking for when buying these products.
So, the beans are marketed this way to indicate 1) the bean is likely medium-dark or dark-roasted, and 2) this is a product with a good bit of caffeine in it. But overall, you shouldn’t expect much as far as identifying varietals and flavor notes when it comes to these snacks.
Beans you WON’T find covered in chocolate
There are two kinds of beans you probably won’t come across on your hunt for the perfectly caffeinated pair: peaberry and ultra-light roasts. And even if you DO manage find some, you should probably avoid eating them for your teeth’s sake. Here’s why…
Both Peaberries and very light roasts have something in common: density. This type and roast of beans makes for particularly dense beans. In the case of the peaberry, it’s due to their shape. For light roasts (think Half City), it’s because the beans have only begun to expand or “crack” if they have at all by the time they’re pulled out of the oven.
So to keep from cracking your teeth, you should probably steer clear of these. And if you’re making some at home, opt for a different blend.
Best Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
Hoosier Hill Farm Gourmet Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans
Hoosier Hill Farm makes some of the highest-quality chocolate covered beans you’re going to find, hands-down. Their rich, European-style, gourmet dark chocolate pairs beautifully with the authentic espresso beans makes for a delightful snack or gift. However, if you’re planning on gifting, make sure not to sneak a taste– you might just finish the whole bag.
*Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and milk products.
Madelaine Premium Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans
Madelaine Chocolate Company is, of course, known for their chocolate. And since that’s what these beans are covered in, you won’t be disappointed. The dark chocolate and coffee combo creates the classically bitter sweet flavor that we love. And the smooth chocolate works great with their beans.
Dilettante Chocolate Espresso Bean Blend
This offering from Dilettante is one of our favorites on the list. It has a lovely mix of white, milk, and dark chocolate. So whether you’re trying to please the whole family or just your own indecisive palette, this one has you covered. The beans inside are crisp and provide a delightful crunchiness. Additionally, both the beans and the chocolate are free of preservatives and fillers. Plus, the bulk size is perfect for parties!
Also, if you are only keen on one of the chocolate options in the bunch, you can order them individually. Dilettante offers the beans in Dark Chocolate , Milk chocolate , White Chocolate , and a Marbled bag.
SweetGourmet Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans
Sweet Gourmet out of Tyler Texas offers yet another rich, luxurious coffee + chocolate experience. What we really appreciated about this brand is that they specifically mention that they use Robusta beans. While those aren’t our first pick for brewing, they certainly are when we’re looking for a snack with an extra pop of caffeine.
A lot of people are also quite fond of their Milk chocolate option !
Bali’s Best Espresso Candy
Bali’s offering is one of the most unique on this list. While it’s called espresso candy, it does contain real Sumatra coffee beans. The pieces are fold wrapped to preserve freshness and aroma. Inside the wonderfully smooth chocolate coat are amply sized espresso beans. So you can count on getting that great punch of coffee flavor.
Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans by Koppers
Koppers’ Dark chocolate covered beans are composed of a rich, creamy dark chocolate and delicious Costa Rican coffee beans. They are fresh and crispy, and if you’re already a sucker for Costa Rican coffee, you might just finish the entire bag one sitting. So if you’re looking for high-quality chocolate and beans, without compromising on either, this is the one for you.
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
While the packaging is a little lackluster, the chocolate beans inside are lovely. The beans inside are 100% Arabica, and are dark roasted before being covered in a ton of dark chocolate. So, the flavor is rich and a little on the bitter side, though the dark chocolate on these is less intense than some of the others on the list.
Are They Healthy?
A type of antioxidant called flavanols appears in both dark chocolate and coffee. This antioxidant and others contained in coffee help fortify your cells. The result is improved vascular health and improved blood sugar regulation.
As heart disease is often caused by cell damage, the protection provided by Flavanols can reduce your risk of a variety of vascular diseases. There are also studies that indicate dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, which helps combat risk of strokes and heart disease. Drinking a cup or so of coffee has been shown to have similar effects.
Dark chocolate also helps speed up your body’s ability to process blood sugar, and coffee in pretty significant amounts (4-6 cups/day) can help reduce the risk of diabetes. So if you don’t want to be chugging coffee all day or going to the loo more than a racehorse, munching on coffee beans may prove to be a good stand-ing to mix things up .
Note: In this section, when referring to chocolate, we are generally referring to 65%+ cacao. The benefits discussed here will not apply to milk or white chocolate, whose sugar content outweighs the potential benefits of the smaller amounts of antioxidants or flavanols.
As we discuss below, consuming a considerable amount of chocolate covered coffee will give you a significant caffeine hit. Unfortunately, it is possible to overdose on caffeine, as it is a stimulant. It is recommended that you avoid consuming more than 600 mg of caffeine per day.
Thus, if you’re consuming this snack in addition to your regular coffee, you should be aware of exactly how much caffeine you are consuming. This is especially true if your go-to is something like Death Wish that already has a rather high caffeine content.
Also, it is possible you are consuming caffeine via other means. While the energy drinks or tea might seem like obvious sources, you may also be getting some from sports drinks and medications.
So unless you want to experience some of the adverse effects of excessive caffeine intake (including hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, dizziness, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors, sleeplessness, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain) we recommend you keep track of how much you’re putting in your body.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that even low caffeine levels can exacerbate the effects of anxiety. So if this is something you suffer from, you may want to skip out on this particular snack, or only consume it in small amounts.
Double Energy Boost?
One of the biggest allures of chocolate covered coffee is the promise of a double whammy on the caffeine front. The idea of munching on an energy-charged snack has plenty of coffee lovers excited. But are these tasty beans really worth the attention? Let’s find out.
Most chocolate covered coffee uses dark chocolate, and there is a reason for that choice. Dark chocolate contains more cacao products than other kinds of chocolate. And as cacao content increases, so does the caffeine. Many brands run at about 60% cacao, and that means you’ll get about 20mg per 1.5 oz serving. However, 80% can be upwards of 40mg/1.5oz.
But the caffeine isn’t the only boost you’ll get with the chocolate. Even if you’re opting for a white chocolate with absolutely no caffeine, you can still count on a great rush from the sugar!
When it comes to coffee beans, caffeine varies pretty widely. However, as a general rule of thumb, Robusta beans are going to have more than Arabica beans. Nevertheless, don’t shy away from the Arabica offerings of more gourmet brands, as they generally use chocolate with higher percentages of cocoa. The more expensive brands can have up to 75 mg/1.5 oz.
Also, because you’re eating the beans whole rather than grinding them for brewing, you’re getting their full caffeine potential. Isn’t that exciting!
How does it compare to coffee?
So now for the real question, can these snacks replace your mid-day pick me up? Let’s break it down, shall we.
An average chocolate covered bean has about 3-5mg of caffeine in it. Say a serving is about 30 pieces, that means you’re getting from 90-150mg of caffeine. That’s not even including the extra boost of energy. you’ll feel from the sugar.
On the other hand, a typical, 8 oz cup of coffee will run between 100 and 200mg of caffeine. And if you’re adding milk and sugar, it may also have that burst of sugar-fueled energy on top.
So the answer to your question is yes. A nice baggie of so of these beans packed in your lunch bag to work or class could feasibly serve as a replacement for your mid-day refuel. That could save you the rushed trip to the coffee or suffering though the woes of cold coffee (or no coffee at all).
Make Them at Home
Did none of our recommendations strike you? Or maybe you just want to try experimenting with your own artisanal combination? Either way, we’ll give you a quick run-down of how to safely make chocolate covered coffee at home.
What you’ll need
- 100 g chocolate bar of your choice (we recommend a dark chocolate without any nuts, as it will make the coating smoother)
- 1/3 cup of your favorite coffee beans (If you’re going for flavor, try arabica. For extra caffeine, use robusta.)
- A double boiler or a microwave+microwave-safe bowl
- Measuring cup
- Baking tray lined with parchment paper
- (Optional-toppings) cocoa powder, icing sugar, crushed nuts, coconut flakes, freeze-dried berry powder, etc.
How it’s done
If you’re using a double boiler or saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer. Break your chocolate bar into chunks and add it to the bowl without water in it. Stir the chocolate continuously as it melts until you have a completely smooth liquid.
(If using a microwave, simply heat the chocolate in short intervals, stirring occasionally until it’s all melted)
Remove the bowl of chocolate from your heating element and stir in your coffee beans. Afterwards, use the fork to lift out each bean, allowing excess to drip off, and place them on the parchment papered baking tray.
Once you have gathered all the beans, transfer the tray to the fridge or freezer and allow them to cool. Repeat this process, adding extra coats until you are satisfied with the thickness of the chocolate shell. (You can eat them with just one coat though!)
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