It appears that I can, at times, be an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka bit predictable.
For example, whenever I climb a tree, the odds are I’ll get stuck.
Or if you take me to a gelataria, I’m almost certainly going to want to taste the pistachio flavour.
And, sometimes, when faced with a multitude of different treats created by one chocolate company, I’ll end up buying the two that are almost identical.
Berkshire Bark Jumpin’ Java™
Berkshire Bark offers six different chocolate bars, most of which employ radically different ingredients. Dried fruits, spices, pretzels (in my defense, I never once saw the pretzological bar during my travels)… ostensibly, there should be something for everyone. And, y’know, ostensibly, enough variation to ensure that a chocolate blogger could pick and showcase two vastly different flavours.
The first Berkshire Bark I bought and reviewed was the Mocha Buzz, which was comprised of milk chocolate, roasted almonds, caramel, dark chocolate, crushed coffee beans, and cacao nibs.
Today, I’m bringing you the Jumpin’ Java™, which is made of dark chocolate, roasted almonds, espresso toffee, caramelised cocoa nibs, and crushed coffee beans.
I spy with my little eye… almost no difference between the two.
You might remember that I described Berkshire Bark’s Mocha Buzz as a well-meaning hodge-podge of sugar and textures bound together with nondescript chocolate. Some bites were delightful, and other bites were dull in their one-note sweetness. This Jumpin’ Java (I refuse to put the trade-mark symbol in anymore; Berkshire Bark is lucky I’m still deigning to cut off the “g” in “Jumping”) chocolate did fare better, but not because the underlying issues in the Mocha Buzz bar had been resolved.
No, the same problem of too-many disparate (and at times insipid) ingredients remained in the Jumpin’ Java. Luckily, the coffee beans shone through here with enough of a permeating espresso essence to create pleasantness. Not super-pleasantness, mind you, but enough pleasantness to distract me from writing anything too terrible in this review.
From the moment of unwrapping, this Jumpin’ Java chocolate emanated pure, clear coffee tinged with chocolate. My first bite managed to capture one of the plentiful whole roasted almonds, all of which were consistently crisp and sweet-nutty in flavour.
The pervading taste of this chocolate, though, was of good-quality chocolate-coated coffee beans. The kind that aren’t burnt or acidic, and which crumble rather than splinter in your mouth. I really enjoyed this aspect of the Jumpin Java, but sadly not everything in the bar was equally pleasant.
The caramelised nibs, for example, were all but pointless. I could see them on top of the bar, but they contributed nothing flavour-wise. Similarly, the espresso toffee was clearly present throughout the chocolate (see second photo), but it provided no espresso, caramel, or even “toffee” flavours – it tasted simply of caster sugar. The textural crunchy-crumbliness was fun, though.
The chocolate itself was generically sweet and, once again, I couldn’t find any distinction between the dark and milk chocolates listed in the ingredients. Overall, the bar was pleasant and inoffensive, but it could’ve been so much better. With a stronger hit of nibs and some buttery caramel notes in the toffee, the Jumpin’ Java could have been something special rather than something a bit mediocre.
I can also imagine the Jumpin’ Java chocolate sitting in an aisle of Whole Foods, looking at the Mocha Buzz and thinking the following:
There but for the grace of coffee, go I.