Kosher chocolate-covered coffee beans may be an old confection, but a company called How Do You Take Your Coffee? has redefined this treat in remarkable ways.
Not too long ago, Kosher.com began carrying an innovative and deluxe new product called Javaz from a company called How Do You Take Your Coffee? As you can guess, their product does have something to do with the black stuff. Yep, I'm talking about Java, Juice, Joe or whatever you call coffee. But in this case, the coffee in question is specially sourced to be eaten as a gourmet chocolate confection—what the company calls their Eating Roast. Now, chocolate coffee beans may not be new, but How Do You Take Your Coffee? has taken these coffee confections to new heights. Here's my interview with Sam Williams, Jr. from How Do You Take Your Coffee?
Q. Deluxe chocolate-covered coffee beans doesn't seem like your average career move. What gave you the idea to create coffee products that are designed to be eaten?
A. A friend, who is a lifelong entrepreneur, introduced me to chocolate-covered coffee beans several years ago. Even though I wasn’t a coffee drinker, I enjoyed them and was taken by the idea that coffee beans can be made to appeal to a broad audience.
At the time, I was approaching two decades of service with a large consumer products firm while pursuing an executive MBA. Business school stirred in me the desire to create something from scratch and to consider fresh ideas.
Q. So, it was like a life dream, how cool! But the marketplace is packed with new products. How are yours different from other items on the market?
A. Javaz is our flagship product and designed to appeal even to people who don’t drink coffee. Javaz are 100% fairly traded organic Arabica coffee beans selected and roasted especially to eat and are generously coated with premium chocolate. Then, they are finished with a real sugar shell which is colored with caramel. Sounds different than your typical chocolate-covered coffee bean, right?
Q. They sound divine. I can't wait to try them. What about your other products? I’ve heard that Java Rocks are very popular. What are they exactly?
A. Java Rocks are our most candy-like product but they are still sophisticated from a culinary perspective. We use the same coffee varietals as our other products, but not the whole bean. We grind our Eating Roast coffee into “rock” pieces and cover them in a milk, dark or black chocolate coating. They are wonderful on their own or as a topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Q. I'm getting a buzz just thinking about them. You also make GoGo Beans and Roboostas, how are they different from Javaz and Java Rocks?
A. Both are energy snacks made from Robusta coffee beans, which have about 50% more caffeine than Arabica beans. To make the GoGo Beans, we carefully select Robusta coffee beans, which are then coated in a milk chocolate confectionery coating that is fortified with a pharmaceutical-grade energy pre-mix and then coated in an orange candy shell. The Roboostas are coated in fortified dark chocolate and then in a coffee-colored shell.
Q. The confections sound like coffee on steroids! Do all your products contain caffeine? Do they contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee?
A. Yes. After all, our two main ingredients—coffee and chocolate—naturally contain caffeine. And in some cases, yes, our products do contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee. A typical cup of American coffee contains 80-100 mgs of caffeine. GoGo Beans and GoGo Drops are our most potent products because they are fortified with extra caffeine, so they have 133 mgs per serving. Roboostas contain 93 mgs of organically occurring caffeine per serving. In contrast, Java Rocks only contain approximately 34 mgs of caffeine per serving, which is about the same as 1/3 cup of coffee. Interestingly, the caffeine levels in our coffee beans can vary seasonally, but these figures are from recent independent lab tests.
Q. I remember eating chocolate-covered coffee beans as a kid. The chocolate was waxy and the bean was bitter.
A. The analogy we like to use is "don't drink the wine you cook with."
Q. I don't know, I cook with some pretty good wine, but I take your point. So, how do you get such incredible flavor in your products without that waxy-bitter feel many other chocolate-coffee beans have?
A. By pairing specific coffee varietals (which are selected and roasted especially to be eaten) with chocolates that are best suited for a particular confection, we strive to satisfy the cravings folks never knew they had.
Q. Where do you get your ingredients?
A. That's part of our secret recipe. However, I will share that finding qualified suppliers has, so far, been the most challenging and time-consuming part of getting our company going. We try to use suppliers who are leaders in their field in supporting socially responsible farming. Many of our products use fairly traded organic coffee and most are 100% natural.
Have you tried Javaz or other How Do You Take Your Coffee? confections? Please let us know by leaving your comments.