And, as many of you regular readers may know, I'm open to try new things and I can provide the average person with a few insights about most Trader Joe's foodstuffs, but my child-like sweet-tooth refuses to be ignored. I'll often choose a "chick-drink" over beer, and I very rarely drink coffee because I want my caffeine to taste like candy. So I indulge on energy drinks instead. Likewise, I'm all about white chocolate and milk chocolate, and haven't much love for the dark stuff.
Now, I'm married to a beautiful Mexican-American woman, and one of the prerequisites for that is a love of traditional Mexican beverages, such as champurrado and Abuelita, which is pretty similar to Trader Joe's Spicy Hot Cocoa. All those beverages get a big thumbs up from me, as does microwaved Hershey's syrup and milk. But this stuff is darker than them all. It's bitter. Even after the specified tablespoon of sugar, my hot cocoa was thick, rich, dark, and not very sweet. I put the sugar in myself. It's scary how much sugar I put in. A tablespoon is big. There was practically as much sugar as there was milk. And still, no sugar shock. No sweetness surge. That's something I'm looking for in a chocolate. That's something I crave. And there are those of you who would tell me that if it still wasn't sweet enough, I should have just gone ahead and put another spoonful into the cup. But I couldn't. That would have been wrong. Like asking Santa to bring me diabetes for Christmas. It was just a bit disappointing.
But for those of you with "refined palates," you'll agree with my wife: this stuff is delicious. Coffee connoisseurs and lovers of beany things, rejoice. And go buy a box. The packaging proclaims that the product is made with Tumaco beans from Colombia. Apparently, Juan Valdez and his ornery mule picked up a sack of cocoa beans while he was out there in the bush collecting coffee, and he sold it all to Trader Joe when he came to port. I googled "Tumaco cocoa" and more than half of the results I found referenced this Trader Joe's product. I'm not sure if that reflects the success of Trader Joe's brand or the fact that "Tumaco cocoa" really isn't that famous. Either way, I think you folks that like dark coffees and chocolates will like it.
On that note, I don't want to give it a deceptively low score. I can tell that it's a quality product. It's just not my cup of tea..er, hot cocoa. I'll give it a 3.
Sonia, predictably, gives it a 4.5. She loved the drink and would like to add that it's good for baking, too. She used it in a cake she made. It was yummy.
Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.