While I love coffee, I am generally not a big fan of coffee flavored foods (although I have tried eating espresso beans before). My passion for this magical brew is borne out of a deep appreciation for the origins of truly great coffee; the attentive care of farmers growing each coffee plant, the expert hand of an artisan roaster, and the careful post processing of each bean. I relish not only in the coffee itself but also the process of brewing it. In short, I love all that the coffee bean has to offer.
So, to add coffee flavor to some “food or snack” and expect it to appeal to coffee purists such as myself seems a bit far-fetched. Unless that coffee food is from Big Island Coffee Roasters (BICR), then I am all in. Why the flip flop?
Honestly, BICR, unequivocally, produces some of the best coffee in the galaxy (see my review of their Hawaiian coffee). I trust them and I trust they would never diminish their fine coffee reputation with a subpar gimmicky coffee snack.
Turns out, my trust was well placed.
I recently got my hands on a few packages of Big Island’s Espresso Bites courtesy of the coffee geniuses over at BICR. Espresso Bites look like a standard deluxe chocolate bar, but they are very different. Made with real Hawaiian coffee and a couple of other ingredients, Espresso Bites are the closest coffee food item that represents actual coffee or espresso. In fact, Espresso Bites can be dissolved in hot milk for an actual latte drink. Despite my somewhat scoffing introductory words about the idea of coffee-flavored foods and snacks, I prefer my Espresso Bites by the nibble rather than in a mug. Espresso Bites are my go-to coffee food. Let me tell you why.
Espresso Bites Variation
I enjoy dark chocolate as my go to treat. I like the distinct flavors that fluctuate with the percentage of cocoa in a dark chocolate bar. For instance, milk chocolate has a maximum of 50% cocoa (usually much less), while my preferred dark chocolate bars have anywhere from 77 to 82% cocoa. For those who may not already know, dark chocolate will almost always be less sweet than milk chocolate.
Similarly, Big Island’s Espresso Bites offer varying, but wholly unique flavors, dependent on the type of coffee and amount of coffee added to the bar. Espresso Bites contain no chocolate or cocoa. Its real coffee in a deliciously solid form and that is why I am all in with Big Island’s Espresso Bites.
Have you ever thought about eating espresso beans?
Has the incredible aroma of an espresso bean ever compelled you to eat one of them? Some may find this strange. Others may see it as only a natural impulse of a true espresso lover. Either way, as I mentioned at the start of this Espresso Bites review, I’ve tried eating espresso beans before. And I can say that while they were enjoyable, they certain didn’t taste as good as they smelled.
BICR espresso bites are clearly another story and are the perfect snack for anyone who’s ever wanted to eat espresso beans. Having said this, here are some notable qualities about this impressive espresso snack.
- Made with 100% Hawaiian Coffee, 5 natural and organic ingredients
- 2- 3 espresso shots per bar (90-130mg natural caffeine) from 100% Hawaiian coffee
- >22% less sugar than a 12 oz double latte
- Chocolate free, soy free, gluten free, non-GMO (Classic & Salted are vegan)
BICR Espresso Bites Review
None of them are the same and I can say, I definitely tasted the differences between each of the flavors.
The Classic Espresso Bite (my current favorite) is robust with hints of dried fruit. Letting this edible espresso bar melt slowly in your mouth brings out a breadth of coffee flavors akin to inhaling a fresh brewed cup and then slowly savoring the first sip. I can literally taste drift wood and smell leather. One Classic bar is equal to three shots of espresso.
The Latte Bar Espresso Bite is just that, a solid coffee profile supplemented nicely with a fresh splash of dairy. It’s a bit sweeter, almost like a mid-morning coffee meet up at the local coffee house. The Latte Bar contains two shots of espresso per bar.
The tastings notes are smooth, creamy and slightly sweet with notes of milk chocolate, coffee and roasted nuts.
Next, in our selection of espresso snacks, we have a sweet and salty Hawaii Sea Salt Espresso Bite. Infused with three shots of espresso, this bar is bold, but slightly sweet.
A little salty, a little sweet, and decadently wild, this Espresso Bite is made with 100% Maui coffee and sprinkled with mineral-rich sea salt from Molokai. This bar sources Maui coffees which produce an impressive smooth espresso with notes of caramel and nuts.
It’s an excellent after-dinner-treat the same way you might finish up a meal with a close friend over a cup of coffee and relaxing conversation.
Because I enjoy coffee so much, I likely enjoy the caffeine it provides. A feature of these Espresso Bites I found very appealing was the shot of coffee caffeine they provide when a cup of coffee just isn’t convenient.
Related Article: Best Hawaiian Coffee
For instance, I spent a few days over the last week exploring the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Front. A land full of wheat fields, towering buttes and rolling terrain that offers enchanting cracks and crevices hidden in wide open spaces. As I wandered, I often stuffed a Big Island Espresso Bite in my coat pocket or pack. A lovely treat when taking a break to enjoy the endless vistas of Big Sky Country and a great pick me up for the long walk back to the Jeep.
Big Island Coffee Roasters Espresso Bites: Final Thoughts
While I never doubted Big Island’s reason for creating a coffee food, I quickly realized their idea of coffee food and coffee snacks was anything but standard. But then again, what do you expect from Hawaii’s most award-winning roaster.
Espresso bites deliver authentic coffee flavors that are of the highest quality one could wish for in a coffee food. They offer an experience that’s as tantalizing as it is convenient. If you love quality coffee or have ever pondered eating espresso beans, you owe it to yourself to try this coffee food. It may just become your favorite coffee, food or cup.
Bonus: If you’re a fan of eating you coffee, consider another product that couldn’t have a more appropriate name. It’s a company called Eat Your Coffee. Check out our full Eat Your Coffee review for more details.
FAQ about Espresso Bites and Eating Espresso Beans
The recommended daily limit of caffeine is 400mg. That being the case, when it comes to Espresso bites, it’s recommended not to eat more than 3 bars.
Each bar contains around 90 – 130 mg of natural caffeine. The latte Espresso bite has the least amount of caffeine which is the equivalent of two shots of espresso. Meanwhile, the classic and salty caramel Espresso bites both contain 3 shots of espresso.
The answer is a definitive yes. However, the main concern about eating coffee beans is caffeine content. Be sure you stay under the recommended 400mg per day.
The recommended number is around 30.