On a whim over the weekend, I stopped into Bangor’s Natural Living Center, to see if they had any of the new Taza flavors. They didn’t have any. So I purchased the Taza Counter Culture Coffee Chocolate Mexicano disc.
Let me explain.
Taza Chocolate is one of those companies that has been very successful in getting their product out there, Hi-Vis style. What is their product? For those unfamiliar, Taza is the best-known stone ground chocolate company in the U.S. Stone ground implies a few things: a rougher end-product, an imperfect product, or as Taza suggests, explosive flavor popping palate action. Yeehaw – I agree with Taza.
Being that zero (0) fibers of my being are truly Counter Culture, I thought I’d try my best to imitate this edgy chocolate through the medium most familiar to me. Black and white photography is about as counter culture arty as I can get. Yes, I just purchased a Dire Straits record today. But I recently read about the extraordinarily wide-reaching extent of Dire Straits’ success at the height of their popularity. Not Counter Culture. Yes, I just purchased a T. Rex cd today. But Marc Bolan experienced even more success than Dire Straits, in his own right. After all, Mark Knopfler has never had a variety hour television program. …that I know of. Not Counter Culture.
Summary: I am the anti-counter culture. I’m just twenty to thirty years behind. Please check back in 2031, when I may have finally obtained those new flavored Taza discs. Personally, I can’t wait!
Black and whites coming to you courtesy of my visit to Fort Knox, where I saw the long-but-lively production of Hamlet. Thanks to friends Joe and Jane (and pup Ladybird) for a lovely afternoon and evening.
I find it difficult to seriously critique Taza chocolate, because I love it so much. However, the one complaint I’ve had with each and every one of their flavored products is that the flavor is subliminal to the point of being invisible. Oops. How will the Counter Culture Coffee compete? Counter culturally, perhaps?
After unwrapping the waxed paper covering (one of my favorite parts), I was greeted by an aroma of full-blown, all-out coffee tantalization. Notes of sweet sugar, bitter fruit, and a dark-but-not-burnt roast churned forward to meet me halfway (“in the middle” didn’t work linguistically here, but I clearly still have that Diamond Rio Mullet City video stuck in my head). The coffee aroma was not overpowering, but melded nicely with the chocolate itself, which accounted for the sweeter side of the coffee scent.
I found the first taste to be fruit-filled, followed by a punch of coffee, teeth-grinding sugar appearing on the scene simultaneously. The sugar played nicely with the coffee, and back and forth the tastes moved across the palate. Not the biggest fan of coffee, I do prefer to go big or go home and drink the darkest roast I can find – if drinking any at all. So, the fullness of the roasted coffee present in this bar was a huge bonus to me.
Counter Culture Coffee, headquartered in Durham, NC, roasts the beans for this bar a notch darker than usual. This darkness helps to contrast with the 50% dark Dominican Republic-origin cacao. 50%… dark? Not what you may normally associate together. Well, to be labeled dark chocolate, according to U.S. FDA standards, there must be at least 35% chocolate liquor, and less than 12% milk solids. Were you familiar with these chocolate laws that have been delivered unto us? To recap, milk chocolate can be dark chocolate and dark chocolate can be not dark. I think that a bar labeled 35% dark would definitely be Counter Culture.
To cap off the tasting experience, I’ll state that my thoughts progressed from estimating the depth of the chocolate, to wondering if this was due to the darkness of the roast, to appreciating the sweet finish that kept me coming back for more. And then there was none, the two generous discs being gone. In their wake were deep undulating coffee waves, and a motley assortment of flotsam ‘n’ jetsam sugars granules.
Please note: if you do not enjoy a mild sensation of grittiness or soft crunchiness, this bar may not be for you. If you do, eat up. And if you happen to have any sweet cherries on hand, I found they paired nicely with the chocolate.
561 Windsor Street
Somerville, MA 02143-4192
For tour inquiries (tours just $5 per person), call 617.284.2232.
One day, I will visit Taza. For now, tune into The District Chocoholic’s latest Boston adventure for such tales of delight.
A recent Taza blog bestowed accolades on Counter Culture Coffee’s latest tricks.
And find out more about Counter Culture Coffee and their good deeds. As for myself, I’ll probably be finding out about them in one to one point five score.