As time goes on, I become more comfortable with coffee. By that I mean I don’t walk into the office every morning sipping Coke Zero like a 12-year-old anymore; but I’m still not a huge fan of coffee’s bitterness. My wife doesn’t understand how that’s possible when I love IPAs, one of the bitterest kinds of beer in existence, but what can I say? The tongue wants what it wants.
Nonetheless, I’ve managed to combat this bitterness by indulging in mochas. Yes, they’re still not quite a big boy drink, but it’s a step in the right direction; and I find coffee and I get along better when it’s mixed with equal parts sweet, luxuriant chocolate. Which is good news, because today we’re looking at Ben & Jerry’s latest offering: Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!
Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Actually, I’ll confess that the concept of coffee ice cream has always struck me as a little odd. The time you’re most likely to be eating ice cream is after dinner, in the evening or at night But that’s exactly the wrong time to be indulging in caffeine, at least for those of you who have difficulty falling asleep while wired. True, coffee ice cream doesn’t necessarily have to contain caffeine, but this particular flavor also includes espresso bean fudge chunks, and the description on the carton touts that “the caffeinated blast you lovelovelove is now a kick to ask for in more places! Enjoy!”
In B&J’s defense, it’s not like they’re making any secret of it. If you eat this ice cream and then have trouble sleeping, well, what’d you think was going to happen, stupid? Also, the cow on the lid has been given googly eyes pointing in different direction to indicate that it’s either extremely alert or tripping balls, and either way it’s pretty hilarious.
Beyond that it’s the standard B&J’s packaging, with a picture of a cup of joe with coffee beans being dropped into it (which, I’m given to understand, is NOT how you brew coffee), plus some fudge chunks hovering over to the side. The description notes that this flavor was previously available in scoop shops, and hints that it’s also a revived flavor from their ice cream graveyard, because even Ben & Jerry’s wants to hop on the zombie bandwagon.
When you crack it open and dig in a spoon, you’re confronted with that distinctive light brown color you may remember from every other coffee ice cream ever. But you’ll also see what looks like chocolate chunks peeking tantalizingly out; the fact that they’re actually espresso bean fudge chunks that will be helping you stay awake long enough to study for an exam or beat the next level or finally finish that review you’re late on is just a bonus. As you scoop a few, uh, scoops out, you’ll notice that they’re spread fairly liberally throughout the mixture… no mean beans, these.
As is the norm for Ben & Jerry’s, it’s very rich and sweet, with no pretension of being “light” this or “50% less sugar” that — love handles are for tomorrow, mister. The coffee flavor is prominent, which for me was merely tolerable but will probably really excite many of you. Like Glee. It really does taste like a cold cup of coffee, albeit one that has plenty of milk and sugar added to it.
But it’s the espresso bean fudge chunks that are the highlight of this flavor. Without them it’s just a decent but somewhat unmemorable coffee ice cream — Tintin without Captain Haddock, Mickey without Donald, The Office without Steve Carell. But the chunks are both plentiful and extremely tasty, and that’s from someone who doesn’t drink espressos. They’re firm enough without hurting your teeth, and the fudge flavor really comes through in a big way, the perfect way to offset the bitterness of the coffee taste. (That said, I would recommend not eating it while drinking an IPA. Little tip.)
So yeah — if it were economically and calorically feasible, I guess I could just eat half a cup of this before work every morning. Since it’s not, I’ll stick with the mocha, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying this flavor. I enjoyed it without even being a coffee fan; those who are definitely shouldn’t pass it up. Just make sure you’re physically and financially fit first, because as usual, this stuff ain’t healthy and it ain’t cheap.
(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 260 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein)
Item: Ben & Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Actually can help keep you awake. The espresso chunks are plentiful and flavorful. Googly-eyed cows. Coffee flavor lingers on your taste buds. Donald Duck.
Cons: “BuzzBuzzBuzz!” sounds more like a honey than a coffee flavor. I sympathize with anyone who eats this and later wonders why the hell they can’t get to sleep. Coffee ice cream always looks so drab. Mickey without Donald.