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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Seattle Chocolate Company Pike Place Espresso

Seattle Chocolate Company Pike Place Espresso 
Posted: 19 October 2011    5.5 
Seattle Chocolate Company Pike Place Espress The texture was smooth, I'll grant that. Smoother than Ghirardelli. But the coffee flavor was weak. Seattle Chocolates uses Turkish ground decaffeinated coffee in this bar. I've had Turkish coffee before, and it hits your taste buds like a freight train. This coffee flavor merely taps your taste buds like a coasting bicycle.    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.043   Cocoa %: 53  Size: 70g   

The next American chocolate coffee bar to be tested after Ghirardelli's Espresso Escape is a bar manufactured by a company I hadn't yet sampled before, the Seattle Chocolate Company, known as Seattle Chocolates on the label. The company has been around since 1992 and, according to the company's own web site, their chocolates are available in over 8,000 grocery stores nationwide.

Having just reviewed some chocolates by another Seattle-based company, Theo, I couldn't help but be unimpressed with what I read about Seattle Chocolates. Where Theo sourced only organic and fairtrade chocolate, Seattle Chocolates did not.  Where Theo was a bean-to-bar manufacturer, Seattle Chocolates was not.   The web site says that their "chocolates are carefully prepared in small batches with the highest quality, all-natural European chocolate."  The chocolate is manufactured by another company then, and Seattle Chocolates just recombines the chocolate in its own flavor combinations.  So far, the company was starting to sound a lot like another European sourcer, Duc De Praslin, whose overpriced range in Thailand nearly killed me. 

What makes Seattle Chocolates different, says Seattle Chocolates, is the addition of one special ingredient.    Unique cacao beans?  A special type of sugar?  Vanilla brought in by rockets from the planet Uranus?  No.  The ingredient is fun. I'm assuming this fun is American-made, on Seattle Chocolates' premises, rather than imported with the chocolate from Europe.  All fun in Europe is heavily taxed. 

Truffles are what makes the company 'famous', and espresso is legendary in Seattle, so a  bar entitled Pike Place Espresso truffle Bar should show off the best Seattle Chocolates has to offer.  You would hope so anyway.  Ascribe no meaning to Pike Place in the bar's title.  Pike Place Market is a large public farmers' market in Seattle overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront.  I am assuming that Pike Place in the title is just a way to bring the Seattle roots into the company's chocolate bars.

If the bar were truly composed of 53% cacao solids, it still wouldn't be a dark bar, but more a bittersweet one.  This bar isn't even purely 53%.  A glance at the ingredients show  that Seattle Chocolates' 53% is the primary blend, but that their 33% milk chocolate blend is also added.  All the tasty coffee/espresso bars I've sampled in the past, off record, were dark chocolates.  Real dark chocolates.  I can't think why a manufacturer would want to milk this down unless it's a move to reduce costs.       

The texture was smooth, I'll grant that.  Smoother than Ghirardelli.  But the coffee flavor was weak.  Seattle Chocolates uses Turkish ground decaffeinated coffee in this bar.  I've had Turkish coffee before.  Swensen's here in Thailand sells a Turkish coffee flavored ice cream, and it hits your taste buds like a freight train.  This coffee flavor merely taps your taste buds like a coasting bicycle. I should add that I wasn't that impressed with the chocolate flavor either.       

It's a slightly better than average product, and I wouldn't put it in the same lower league as Ghirardelli.  But Seattle Chocolates isn't batting in the same league as Theo.  The ingredient listings on this bar read much like you'd expect on any mainstream producer.  Soya lecithin and palm kernel oil make appearances and so does non-hydrogenated coconut oil.  Seattle's slacked elsewhere on the list so what comes to mind first is that the vegetable oils are there to cheat on cocoa butter content.  It's a fair assumption, but in this case, the coconut and/or palm kernel are there to give the chocolate its creamy consistency.  Lindt adds coconut and palm oil to their Lindor truffles line. 

If you're in Seattle and see this on the shelf, try it.  You can say you ate something local.  If you're at any of the other 8,000 grocery stores nationwide stocking these, pick up something there that's local.

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Lindt Excellence Roasted Almond from Switzerland -- 47% cocoa solids
 Patsys Crystalized Ginger Bar from USA -- 45% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Insights From A Travel Mastermind

  chocolate in Washington is Seattle Chocolates, more properly known as Seattle Chocolate Company. Seattle has espresso which it mixes with American chocolate and dark chocolate for a unique truffle coffee flavor