Product Review: Sugar, Chocolate, Coffee

Trader Joe’s has interesting spices. I’ve found a quart of Mexican vanilla (fragrant and great for general cooking), smoked salt and paprika (a little smoke goes a long way), and now, a blend of sugar, chocolate and coffee beans. In a grinder jar. I could not resist.

Might as well admit it, I have a love/hate relationship with sugar. I actually think in moderation it’s fine (I respect your view that it is the devil’s organic compound) but I keep moving the boundary of “moderation.”  Unfortunately, I like sugar a bit too much. (Please do not leave long, ranting comments on its addictive and carcinogenic properties. Please.)

I will not voluntarily ingest any artificial sweeteners (I have my own idea of Satanic compounds), so I no longer drink diet soda, eat sugar-free chocolates or any food that contains sugar alcohol. My lower intestinal tract does not like sugar alcohols. My yogurt is unsweetened and unflavored and I like it that way.

Stevia doesn’t warm my sweet little heart, either. Stevia, as the American Dietetic Association says, “should be used in moderation, and a general guideline is to consume no more than 2 milligrams per pound of body weight daily.” For 150-pound person, that means 300 milligrams of Stevia, or 0.010 ounces per day. (One teaspoon of sugar is about four grams or 4,000 milligrams. Six teaspoons of sugar is about one ounce, so 0.06 teaspoons is your limit of Stevia per day). Of course Stevia is “all natural” but so are poison ivy, black widow spiders, arsenic, and lead, and I’m not eating any of them either.

Back to sugar. I like the idea of grinding a light dusting of a mix of sugar, chocolate, and coffee onto my toast or steel-cut oats. I don’t like the idea that the bottle is not refillable. Finish your grinding and the bottle goes into the landfill. That’s enough to make me grind my teeth, but not in a jar.

I’ve waited a long time to get to the taste. And I’ve waited that long because it is the least interesting part of the bottle. It tastes sweet, sure enough, but it does not taste like chocolate or coffee. On toast (I like mine well-done) the toast taste overwhelms both the sugar and the coffee. To get a coffee and chocolate taste, you have to grind up way more than even I, in my most immoderate mood, would not use.

So I won’t buy it again. Much like Gertrude Stein, I believe there is no there there. It’s not chocolatey enough, it’s not coffee-y enough, and it just isn’t worth the price, which was around $2.00.

–Quinn McDonald loves sugar, but not enough to grind it on toast with not enough coffee or chocolate.