On July 2, Starbucks primes our palates with three new variants of Dark Roast Coffee Jelly and six new food items. So on July 1 at my local Starbucks, I order one of each new offering. Call me curious.
Starbucks’ Coffee Jelly was introduced in Japan, patterned after that country’s dessert of jellied coffee cubes bobbing in a bowl of sugar syrup and cream. Included in the coffee chain’s Frappuccino line, it’s made its way to the Philippines. There’s an existing Coffee Jelly in Philippine stores, but the new Dark Roast Coffee Jelly has a few twists to it. Arabica coffee beans are specially roasted to point up the beans’ smokiness, increasing the nuances of chocolate. In addition, the coffee jelly cubes are now slivers or “scoops” if you will ”“ similar to how taho is scooped out. The jelly slides up and through the straw, its slippery texture a departure from the milky smoothness and sweet cool. Coffee to eat, really and a spoon is unnecessary. Other flavor variants include the Caramel Dark Roast Coffee Jelly Frappuccino Blended Coffee and the Iced Vanilla Dark Roast Coffee Jelly Latte. (Long names, there). The coffee jelly is also available as an add-in for other drinks of choice.
New food items
Coffee shop foods are always grab and go, things to be eaten out of hand. Consider the Spanish Sausage and Egg Wrap, a meal-in-a-tortilla spiced up with cheese sticks, smoked paprika and black pepper. It’s juicy and flavorful and reminds me of pork adobo, strangely enough.
The Farmhouse Cheese Quiche is filled with grilled pepper and pimientos suspended in just-set custard with subtle echoes of thyme. The crust is notably flaky, a vast improvement over the unfortunate so called “quiches” I have elsewhere.
Yes, the bread seems to dwarf the filling, I know. It’s pide, a Turkish flatbread or pocket bread encasing chicken slices dredged in Parmesan. The bread is sufficiently crispy, its somewhat meager filling remaining moist due to the aioli and roasted pimientos. This Chicken Parmesan on Turkish Pide Bread is best when warm.
New dessert items
Starbucks goes back to basics with its Chocolate Marshmallow Cake ”“ simple, straightforward, and soft. Filled with classic fudge and chocolate chunks, its snow white marshmallow icing is fashioned into peaks lightly burnished by heat.
My companion watches me digging into dessert, unable to resist a chuckle. “Gosh, little bites here,” she motions to the savories, “but big bites there.” She points to what’s called the Very Berry Cheesecake; it surprises me with its restrained sweetness but it’s the topping that makes me take another bite. What appears to be an almost gauzy layer of strawberry confit is topped with, of all things, dried cranberries and dried blueberries. Unusual it may sound but it works, the dried fruits’ texture providing a counterpoint to the lushness of the cake it crowns.
No, I’m not a glutton and yes, my eyes are almost always bigger than my stomach (takaw mata). Up ”˜til now, I’ve been taking two bites of each new item and washing it down with a sip of the Dark Roast Coffee Jelly Frappuccino. I’m surprised at how pleasant everything tastes; coffee shops aren’t really my first choice to eat at. But Starbucks is almost always my first choice for coffee merchandise. The new Limited Edition tumblers are out on July 2. I’ve got dibs on the Twist Tumblers, travel cups with “twistable” rings to play with (front row above). Too cute!
The Zucchini Carrot and Honey Raisin Loaf is cause for pause. I abhor zucchini almost as much as I do ampalaya. “Oh come on, Lori, zucchini is practically tasteless,” my friend wheedles. Her fork is already halfway into a slice so we split a single. Compact and teeming with the magic of nutmeg and cloves, it’s carrot cake but a tad drier mixed in with the occasional raisin and walnuts. Perfect for a snack but this meal is lunch.
The Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee Jelly drinks and additional six new food items will be available at all Starbucks branches on July 2, 2009.