Besides nuts, a hot evergreen that pairs well with chocolate and meets the crave of gourmets for familiar but exciting inclusions is coffee.
(Not by chance, coffee was formerly reported as a hard-to-die flavor in my article on the most inspiring chocolate trends.)
Coffee also has the advantage of sharing a similar chain and origin with cacao, ‘premiumizing’ the final product instantly.
Craft and fine chocolate makers are getting more creative than ever with coffee inclusions in their creations. The match between the two luscious browned beans (cocoa and coffee) encases an element of eccentricity and indulgence, especially when the coffee thing is unconventionally infused or incorporated in the chocolate.
In the case of this Mānoa Breakfast Bar Hawaiian Coffee & Nibs Dark Milk Chocolate 60%, the deliciousness consists of a perfect balance of flavors slowly revealing under contrasting textures and sensations, smooth and fresh versus crunchy and warm.
The dark milk chocolate gently unfolds to a silky background of fresh chocolate latte notes, which unexpectedly leans toward a sensual thread of caffe macchiato with a slight fruit-acidic tail. The crunchiness of the cocoa nibs complements the flavor sensations with a tactile element that invites you to linger longer on such a mindful tasting.
The unique Hawaiian Kona coffee in the chocolate—a Typica-Bourbon cross mainly deriving from imported Guatemalan and Brazilian arabicas and minor improved grafted varietals—is intense enough to kick in full-bodied aromas but without tasting bitter or burnt. (For I am not a coffee cupper, the coffee could likely be a medium roasting profile.)