Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Balance Bar Mocha Chip Bar

I would place Balance Bar in the same category as CLIF and Zone Perfect in the respect that they have a seemingly endless amount of products out on the market.  They have various product lines, various flavors, etc. When I look at companies like those, it just seems like I'll never reach the end of their product lines and while that is not bad, it certainly is daunting when I really think about it.  Knowing that I'll never review all of Balance's products, I'm still willing to plod on and do another Balance Bar review with this review of the Mocha Chip bar.  This bar is one of their basic bars and clocks in at a standard 1.76 ounces with 200 calories and fifteen grams of protein.  I picked it up at Meijer at its regular price of $1.09, by the way.

As you can see from the picture, the name pretty much describes what this bar is going to entail, as it should.  The bar is mad up of an interior base layer of a protein mix with decent-sized and moderately spread chocolate chips spread throughout.  There's also a "mocha" component mixed into the layer which gives it a mild coffee smell and a slightly darker appearance.  I guess I was expecting a stronger coffee smell, but this mild smell was actually appealing to me because while I like drinking coffee, I'm not a particularly huge fan of coffee flavored food items.  The bar is then covered in a thick layer of chocolate coating and that wraps up the entire package.  Nothing too special, but again, I wasn't expecting special and this bar delivered on what it promised.

The mild smell of the coffee carried over into the taste too.  When I took my first bite, I was actually wondering where the coffee taste was at all because it certainly was not at the beginning of the bite.  After letting it linger for a while, I started to bring the bar close again for bite number two but before that happened, the mocha/coffee flavor came on as the aftertaste of the first bite.  Again, it wasn't particularly powerful, but you could definitely tell that you were eating a mocha/coffee flavored product.  Its late-hitting taste was nice too because if this aftertaste got too strong (it was slightly more than a mild flavoring), I could see this being a major turn-off for non-coffee drinkers and also even for coffee drinkers.  As for the chocolate exterior, well, it was just there.  It added a thick and what I guess could best be described as a "creamy" element to the way it felt in my mouth as I chewed through the bar.  It didn't bring any sweetness and while I understand why they didn't go that route, it would have been nice to have a mild sweet hint to offset the coffee (kind of like a coffee and danish breakfast combination).  The chocolate chips did not bring any sweetness either and frankly, it seems there only purpose was to break up the soft and chewy interior of the bar and bring some requisite crunch.  For that reason alone, I wasn't upset that they didn't bring any flavor, because I certainly appreciated the mild crunchiness that they brought to the bar.

Buy It or Fly By It?  All in all, I can't say this was my favorite bar in the world, but the coffee flavoring was mild enough that I actually enjoyed this one and have to give it a BUY IT rating.  Like I said, I'm not a fan of coffee flavored food products to begin with but this one struck the right balance (pun intended) and was able to perfectly convey the extent as to what I would consider a strong mocha/coffee flavored product.  Had that mocha/coffee taste been any stronger, I know I would have to give this an entirely different rating.


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