Friday, November 26, 2010

Starbucks it as addictive as their coffee?

Today I am tasting two dark chocolate bars by Starbucks.  I have never been able to resist their chocolate bars.  It may be because they sit directly next to the cash register at Starbucks cafe's and I have no self control, or it could be that they are always perfectly portioned (34 grams) and I can justify it. Or, more likely, it is that I love to have some chocolate with my coffee.

The two bars that I am tasting today are:
  • Starbucks® Dark Chocolate, 34 grams - "sourced at origin, artisan crafted."
  • Starbucks® Dark Chocolate with Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, 34 grams - "100% natural roasted instant and microground coffee blended into rich, dark chocolate."
The plain Dark Chocolate bar smells better than it tastes.  Don't get me wrong - it tastes great, but the smell is so intense and rich with aroma that I was instantly surprised by the difference in the taste when I popped it into my mouth. In fact, this chocolate smells so good, that if I ever had to give up chocolate, I could probably just smell this chocolate bar and be happy...probably.   Overall, I do like the taste.  The vanilla is apparent in the flavour and it is sweet, but chocolaty with a rich, organic flavour to it. It is just the kind of bar that I like and it holds up well to other artisan-crafted chocolate bars.

As for the Starbucks Dark Chocolate bar with VIA Ready Brew - I'm not so sure about the smell of it.  It smells like a vanilla ice cream, or perhaps a vanilla latte.  It is a strange combination of very strong vanilla and coffee aroma combined with sweetness. Once again, I am surprised by the flavour which - like the plain dark chocolate bar - is very different than the smell.  It tastes very bitter, and the coffee is strong.  Right now I hate it.  But I think to be fair, I will need to try it at a different time. This coffee bar was just too much bitterness for my taste buds after that first sweet-tasting dark chocolate bar.

Starbucks did not list the cocoa solids percentage on the packaging, but I assume the plain "Dark Chocolate" bar is somewhere in the 60% to 70% range with a lot of vanilla, which makes it seem sweeter than it is.  The coffee bar though tastes so bitter in comparison.  Unfortunately, I have waited a while now and have been drinking coffee and water to remove the taste of the other chocolate bar, and I have to admit that I still do not like the Starbucks VIA chocolate bar.  I am sorry Starbucks - I am still a loyal customer and I like one out of two of your chocolate bars, which isn't bad! The coffee bar is just too acidic and lacks that familiar sweet yet strong Starbucks coffee flavour.  I'm sure I've tasted a different coffee/chocolate bar in the past that was branded as Starbucks and it tasted better than this one.

What is very strange is the Starbucks web site.  I have gone through the site and I can not find these bars listed anywhere.  I know they are newly launched, but I can't even find one chocolate bar listing on the site, and I know for a fact that this isn't Starbucks first branded chocolate bar product.  Just recently, I tried their caramel and dark chocolate bar and loved it, and I know I've tasted the solid dark chocolate bar that they used to sell at their cafe`s.  (And since this post, I've tasted the Starbucks Milk Chocolate bar and liked it a lot).  It doesn't make sense though - it is Starbucks, the biggest coffee retail chain, so everything branded by them should be on their web site, shouldn't it?

Well, check it out for yourself: - perhaps you can find their website information on Starbucks chocolate bars for me!

So to answer my question asked in the title of this post: is the Starbucks chocolate as addictive as their coffee?  Well, their solid dark chocolate "artisan crafted" bar may be, but their VIA ready brew coffee is better left for drinking, rather than eating.  I think I will mix the rest of this VIA bar into a hot moka drink.

Otherwise, here are the stats on the two chocolate bars that I tried today:

Starbucks® Dark Chocolate, 34 g
Starbucks Coffee Company, Seattle, WA USA
Ingredients: cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla.  May contain traces of milk and tree nuts.
Marketing on package:  "Starbucks is committed to ethical sourcing.", "sourced at origin, artisan crafted."

Starbucks® Dark Chocolate with Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, 34 g
Starbucks Coffee Company, Seattle, WA USA
Ingredients:chocolate mass, sugar, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, Starbucks® instant and microground coffee, emulsifier (soy lecithin), natural vanilla flavour.  May contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds and milk.


  1. To read more about Starbucks chocolate, check out a more recent blog post at:

  2. Hi Lisabeth, I like your website and your blogs.

    I am Belgian Chocolate Amateur working in Hong Kong, where we have our own retail outlets and do wholesale business (Chocolates of course). Overall I think you have a fantastic blog but am taken aback by your love of Starbucks coffee, which in Europe is not considered Coffee worth mentioning.

    Keep up the good work and don't be afraid to lay into bad chocolate, too many people eat poor quality Chocolate day in day out and it's blogs like these who should try to rectify that!!!!

    Email me for further choc discussions:

    All the best,

  3. Hello Anonymous! Thank you for reading my blog and liking it! I do like to enjoy Starbucks Coffee whenever I am in a city where there is a Starbucks, and I have also lived in Europe and also love all kinds of European coffee. However, I am now back in Canada and making due with the coffee available to me here. I LOVE Camino coffee ( and drink their dark raost organic and fair trade coffee in the mornings at home and I often go to Loco Beanz Coffee Houses on Manitoulin Island. I also love trying new kinds of dark roast coffee as often as I can. With Starbucks though, my belief is that if a company is able to expand and take their product international (i.e. Starbucks coffee) then there must be something good about it, right? It doesn`t make it any less of a product just because it has been commercialized unless the basic ingredients have been changed. Which is often what happens with chocolate. A good product is commercialized and the ingredients have been modified to lengthen shelf life and usually poorer quality ingredients are used. My blog is about making people aware of high quality chocolate bars and products that are all natural and most often, organic and fair trade, and pointing out products that use artificial flavours, hydrogenated oils and other unnatural ingredients. I just ignore the really bad chocolate before I even make a purchase because it is not worth spending money on, when I`d rather taste the good stuff! But if I ever do get fooled into buying some really, really bad chocolate, don't worry, I WILL lay into it!
    Thanks so much for your feedback. I will send you an e-mail and we can chat about good chocolate, bad chocolate and what great things you are doing with chocolate in Hong Kong!
    Best Regards,

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