Anyone want s’more coffee?

29 08 2011

When it comes to coffee, I’m kind of a snob. Hold that cup o’ Joe; I’ll take a grande iced double-dirty chai-tea latte with whole milk, please and thank you.

But despite my apparently snobbish ways, I’m also an awkward mix of city-meets-country. I love the outdoors. I love camping. And my favorite part of camping is the marshmallows. If I had my way, every camping trip would involve jumbo marshmallows and a lot of extra chocolate. But I never get my way.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what all this is about. What do coffee and marshmallows have in common? (Aside from the fact that they’re both roastable. Yes, that is now a word.)

It all started with a very nice e-mail titled “Super-caffeinated Marshmallows in 4 Flavors.” I’m pretty sure that wins the award for most intriguing title of any e-mail I’ve ever received. Anyway, it turns out that there’s this company called Caffex, and they specialize in the fusion of coffee and marshmallows. They asked me to review their product, which I think was actually very brave, because I’m not exactly the most tactful person I know.

But I was actually more than a little excited at the prospect of caffeinated marshmallows. (Even more excited than I was about low-fat Spam — imagine!) Not only am I a coffee snob, I’m kind of an addict. OK, I am an addict. And as you already know, I think marshmallows are the best. They help me release my inner five-year-old.

As good as caffeinated, coffee-flavored marshmallows sounded, I was admittedly still a little dubious. I like to drink my coffee. It goes back to that snob thing. I do not eat coffee. If the break-room coffee at work has been sitting in the carafe for a couple of days and has gotten a little squishy and … well, marshmallow-like, I leave it there. Common sense.

My misgivings about eating coffee were alleviated a little when I received the little sample package in the mail, with four individually wrapped, brightly packaged brown marshmallows inside. They didn’t look so bad. They were actually kind of cute. Cute, edible coffee. I could handle that.

CaffeMallows (as they’re called) come in four flavors: MoccaMallows JavaMallows, CoffeeMallows and TeaMallows. Yes, tea. That one, I wasn’t so sure about. Tea for me is kind of like vodka for some people. I don’t do tea unless it’s iced, heavily raspberry flavored and full of enough sugar to make me forget I’m drinking tea.

When I unwrapped each package and laid the little brown mallows out like so (so I could take a picture, just for all of you), I was suddenly not so sure again how I felt about eating these.

They look much more appetizing on the website, like squishy brownies or something. Arizona heat does not do nice things to marshmallows. To be frank, they looked like what would happen about 24 hours after my dog (if I had a dog) ate a bad burrito. To be fair, I don’t think that’s what they looked like originally. Curse you, 112-degree weather.

I tasted the marshmallows individually, starting with the MoccaMallow (the flavor of which was mocha, if you couldn’t guess). It surprised me, though not in a bad way. I thought it would be a lot sweeter. I mean, it’s technically still a marshmallow, right? But it had the bitter taste of a black cup o’ Joe with some (real, non-fake-sugary) chocolate mixed in. Let me remind you that my usual coffee delights are the barista’s equivalent of fruity drinks. This was the real stuff. And it was strong.

That being said, if you’re like most people I know and you drink coffee because you actually like the taste of coffee (by itself or with very little extra stuff thrown in), then you’ll love this. Because it really does taste like coffee. And deep down inside, past all that snobbiness, I love the taste of coffee, too. It just takes some getting past the initial shock.

I moved on to the JavaMallow, which was espresso-flavored. I had high hopes for this one. My big Christmas gift last year from my boyfriend was an espresso maker, if that gives you any idea of my feelings toward espresso.

No disappointment with this mallow — it tastes exactly like espresso. And — even better — it was a little sweeter than the mocha. New favorite.

Time for the CafeMallow (coffee-flavored). Turns out it was really similar to the espresso (even to my coffee-snob taste buds), but after some chewing and contemplating, I could tell the difference. Not as bold, a little sweeter … and a new favorite.

Teatime. I wasn’t so sure about this one.

Maybe it was the fact that I’d just taken three large bites of different types of coffee marshmallows, or maybe it was some sort of mental thing … or maybe it was just that good. But whatever the case, the TeaMallow is officially my favorite. Slightly sweet, only a little bitter, kind of herbal … tea-like, basically, only it made the flavor of tea actually palatable. (Sorry, all you tea drinkers. I really don’t like tea.)

So, there you have it. In a shocking upset, the TeaMallow is, in my opinion, the best out of the four. If you like your coffee strong and bitter, go for the MoccaMallow. Not as bitter and a little sweeter, the JavaMallow. Genuinely coffee-like, the CoffeeMallow. And even if you don’t like tea, you really should try the TeaMallow.

Oh, and also, I’m pretty sure the caffeine worked. Because I haven’t had my daily dose of coffee, and it’s 5 in the afternoon, and I feel just fine. Which is a sort of miracle, really.

The bottom line: Don’t expect CaffeMallows to be as sweet as regular marshmallows, but if you’re looking for a fluffy alternative to a cup of coffee — something that actually tastes like a cup of coffee (or tea) — give these a shot. They’re actually kind of fun to eat.

Next step for me: Buy a package of TeaMallows and make tea s’mores. Oh, the possibilities …


Ingredients: Each marshmallow is different, and I didn’t want to make your eyes fall out of your face by typing it all up. Suffice it to say they contain sugar and real coffee.
Price: Varies, but a variety four-pack is $7.99 if you order off the website.
Pros: Two words: squishy coffee. I mean, really, can it get much better?
Cons: This is really probably more of a pro, but if you’re expecting sugar, change your expectations. Oh, and also … don’t let them get hot (i.e. be outside for more than two minutes in Arizona). Because then they’ll start looking a bit like dog poop.

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