Monday, June 22, 2015

Matcha Candy Adventure with Guest Writer The Tea Barbarian, Matcha Monday

So today's blog is going to be something different, it will not just be me writing this time! Time for an introduction:
The Tea Barbarian might be a supervillain 
First, allow me to simultaneously introduce myself and disabuse you of any notion of my credibility: I am a tea barbarian.  As you may have pieced together from Amanda’s fleeting references to me on this blog, my taste runs to strong Blacks in boiling water.  I may not be so debased as to use cream or sugar (save with Indian-style teas), but my palate certainly lacks the subtleTEA (I made this pun just to further reduce your estimation of my character) you are accustomed to seeing in this blog.  

Why, then, am I contributing my thoughts now?  Upon seeing Amanda getting this assortment of exciting candies, I came to two simultaneous resolutions: if they were terrible, I should not allow the woman I love to suffer alone… and if they were good, I needed an excuse to muscle in on some of that candy. 

As you will see, both resolutions were soundly fulfilled!

Matcha Caramels-Red Leaf Tea
cutting a hard candy is....hard

These were just a little too sweet for my liking, the caramel is very sugary and the white chocolate very sweet, the Matcha taste is pretty mild, I think if it were stronger I would really like these because it would make the sweet not as intense. 2 out of 5

To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct Macha-less equivalent of these fancy little candies.  But why would you need one?  I’m a sucker for caramels in general, but the hard-ish coating and Matcha flavor take these to a whole new level.  I gorged myself on these, clearing a bag in an hour - twice.  Five out of five.

Matcha Crunch Bars
oh god why!!!

Why, how, WHY!?! Seriously, what went wrong? It starts out sweet, like really low quality nasty white chocolate and grassiness from the Matcha and then it gets really weird. Like soap and wax paper blended into a disgusting dance, but you know I have had worse, but that aftertaste just WILL NOT GO AWAY! It lingers forever, like eating Matcha flavored soap laced with sugar. -4 out of 5 (also giving these to a friend as a way of introducing them to Matcha candy aka getting rid of them is a good way to never have them eat anything you give them that is green again, oops)

Crunch bars may be my favorite chocolate bar, so I was most excited for these out of all the options.  This was a terrible, terrible mistake.  To their credit, unlike Aero, they did not hold back on Matcha flavor - even the crispy sections hold the taste strongly.  On first taste, if you like traditional Matcha more than I do, you might think this is a really well done snack.  Take my advice: start with small bites.  Or, better yet, no bites at all.  The flavor you get from these bars will not fade with time, so much as it will actually rot on your tongue, turning more bitter, and harder to ignore, by the second. After eating just one of them, I found myself unable to make it stop or enjoy other flavors for over an hour of constantly chugging water to clean it away.  Buy this solely as a practical joke on a tea lover you particularly despise.  Death out of five.

Matcha Kit Kat Bars
Yummmm

So ever wondered what white chocolate and a Matcha latte with a side of wafer cookies tasted like? It tastes like a Matcha Kit Kat! I really liked these, they might have been my favorite of the candies I tried, they tasted bright and green with just amount of sweetness to be enjoyable. I feel bad, I only gave Ben one at the end of the tasting because I just tore through the bag, definitely a 5 out of 5 for me!

Sure, I like Kit Kats, but after the Crunch bars, I’ll be honest: I was ready to give up on the whole exercise.  Amanda’s prompting and these Kit Kats lured me back.  They probably have the most even split on this list between candy sweetness and Matcha flavor (the caramels are sweeter, and all the others are much less so), for a really well-rounded and iconic experience. Four out of five.

Aero Matcha Bars
fluff candy!

Oh man, I have not had a legit Aero bar in ages, so nostalgia! I love the texture, and that is really it. The chocolate coating is waxy and lame, just generic chocolate bar, the Matcha center tastes like vaguely Matcha themed chalk, it was not bad, but it was super boring. 3 out of 5

I’ve never had the non-Matcha version of this chocolate - apparently, it’s an English thing.  It has a fairly standard exterior, but is all full of little waferey balls which crunch and fizz in your mouth.  The good and bad news here is: those balls don’t hold much flavor.  The outer chocolate was mild enough that I found Matcha Aeros to be a lot like just air - I don’t know whether this differs from what I’d think of normal Aeros.  Two out of five.

Lotte Matcha Caramel
Strangeness is strange

I grabbed these little chewy things on a whim because I love chewy candies and they were super cheap (unlike the others, except the RLT caramels, I still feel somewhat cheated) I loved LOVED the texture and really that was it. Ever have those waxy nickle nips, after the liquid gets slurped out you get the wax bottles and if you were like me you chewed on them for hours trying to extract every bit of sugar out. Same texture, different taste, like the person who developed these has heard of Matcha but never experienced it. It is super odd, a bit grassy, and also spicy with a definite pepper finish. I am still trying to decide if I liked them or not. 3 out of 5

I’ve never heard of these before, so I was curious about them.  From the size and texture, I expected something like a Matcha Starburst, but the actual effect is less sweet than that - and also, less Matcha.  Sure, you can taste the tea somewhat (moreso than in, say, the Aero), but mostly, it just tasted odd.  Like toothpaste and pepper?  Or perhaps like Anise and grass?  It was in no way unpleasant, but I’m not sure I can think of much to recommend it.  Two out of five.

What I learned from this experience? Matcha candies are overpriced and I should just stick to making them myself. Currently in my fridge is a pound of Matcha chocolates I made and nibble on whenever I get the craving! I do want to experiment with more random things with Matcha in them I find at the store!

4 comments:

  1. I like the idea of a Matcha starburst. Makers of Starburst, are you listening to me?

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  2. Why have I never heard of a blog called TEA BARBARIAN?!

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    Replies
    1. I know, right? The overly opinionated pile of snark needs to make a blog! Until I can convince him, he will just occasionally guest star on mine.

      Fantastic name he has given himself though, the result of a long winded inside joke gotten out of hand :P

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