Did you know that there's a chocolate factory right here in Miami that specializes in private label productions and premium label sweets? We've got our own version of Willy Wonka, and it's called Tierra Nueva.
The local chocolate-makers launched here two years ago, but just recently they've introduced a new product aimed at cafecito fiends: coffee thins.
"2.2 billion people drink coffee around the world every day," says Pablo Reyes of Tierra Nueva. "We knew that we had a crowd that would definitely be interested in a product that not only substituted that, but tasted good."
And looks like they got it. Their patented coffee bars just earned an award from the National Confectioners Association for the year's most innovative candy and snack product. The thins are made of 100 percent natural coffee combined with special ingredients that deliver the same effect and taste of java with the creamy smooth feeling of cocoa.
Don't be fooled, though. The miniature squares taste just like chocolate, but are made with zero cocoa liquor. And one single thin is the equivalent to one cup of coffee in terms of caffeine. I happened to eat five as if they were Kit Kat bars and not only was I fully satisfied with the taste -- I particularly dug the Latte flavor -- but I was beyond jittery and couldn't go to sleep. Had I needed to pull an all-nighter, it would have been a brilliant move.
The best thing about these "natural energy bars" is the fact that they don't turn your teeth yellow like coffee. Oh, and for Starbucks addicts that spend $4+ a day on a cup of java or a chocolate Frappuccino, coffee thins are extremely affordable. Still, Pablo tells us that coffee thins are not meant to replace the coffee drinking experience, but enhance it.
Prices range from $4.99 for the 12-piece bag to $71.92 for the 192-piece case, with a choice of espresso, Americano, and latte flavor.
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You can find them locally at Milam's, Circle K, and Winn-Dixie, as well as local restaurants that are using them in dishes, including Eating House, which has used coffee thins in some its concoctions. No, not the Captain Crunch pancakes.
But Reyes says the best part of the thins is the morning jolt without the hassle. "You get to have your favorite coffee flavor to go and in a wrapping when you don't have time to prepare it," he says. "Not even Willy Wonka could do that."
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha