Although I’m not a big coffee drinker, I love coffee-flavored sweets. They give me the hit of the distinctive flavor I love, often with added sweetness and texture. Nor will a slice of tiramisu or a scoop of coffee ice cream force me to endure a case of the jitters or that pesky co-worker asking me, “Would you like some coffee with your milk and sugar?” for the 1,208th time. The joke wasn’t funny the first time, Brenda.
New seasonal Espresso M&M’s, then, very much appeal to my caffeine-conscious ways. I picked up a bag from the holiday display at CVS, and two things surprised me. First, upon opening the bag, I did not detect a strong coffee scent. The large brown, beige, and red candies smelled like a bag of semisweet chocolate chips, not the natural flavors promised to me by the package’s list of ingredients. How could the M&M’s remind me of sipping a hot beverage in a cozy cafe without the powerful scent of roasted coffee beans? Second, I had expected the M&M’s to consist solely of dark chocolate, which lends itself well to espresso’s concentrated flavor. Instead, they contain both milk and dark chocolate.
Luckily, there was a third surprise in store: the first two surprises turned out to be nothing to worry about. The M&M’s have a strong, concentrated flavor that tastes like a shot of espresso but still honors the candy’s chocolate identity. The milk chocolate center of each M&M offers sweetness, but the surrounding dark chocolate gives a satisfying bitter edge. Together, the combination is delicious.
The flavor of Espresso M&M’s reminds me of chocolate-covered espresso beans, another treat that turns coffee into intensely flavorful candy. Although I like the taste, I just can’t get past the gritty texture of the beans and their tendency to haunt my gum line with black specks. The Espresso M&M’s smooth chocolate center was a welcome departure from that texture, making them a good alternative to other coffee-inspired snacks. (No offense to the Coffee Nut Peanut or Crunchy Espresso varieties of yore.) Like a cup of espresso itself, the M&M’s allow a simple but strong flavor to shine unadulterated.
I shared my M&M’s with a relative who, despite our familial sweet tooth, is the opposite of me in regards to java: she loves coffee and prefers hers as black as a panther collecting charcoal on a moonless night. However, she does not typically like coffee-flavored things. The fourth surprise of the Espresso M&M’s experience was hers: she really enjoyed them!
For lovers of coffee and chocolate of all varieties, Espresso M&M’s will be a hit this holiday season. I’ll take a double shot, please!
Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 7.44 oz (210.9 g) bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 ounce/about 16 pieces) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.