Hohoho. I was just commenting the other day that TJ's comes out with the most random things between summer and premature pumpkin spice season. Let's try vegan mayo! Oatmeal! Brand name candy dupes! Coffee mochi! There's a reason why I walk up and down every aisle y'all. ;D
If the packaging looks familiar, it's because it's the same supplier that is responsible for King of Mango Mania, although they didn't name this "coffee coffee mochi." Probably since there isn't a catchy alliteration here.
If you read my previous review, y'all know that the mochi here is lacking by most mochi standards, so the main appeal is the filling. I picked this up after seeing that this thing really is loaded with a lot of coffee flavor.
Here's some good news for the lactose intolerant - the coffee ice cream is dairy-free! You can put away those lactaid pills. Coconut milk serves as the base, which is pretty common for non-dairy ice creams. The sugar content isn't bad either, considering that this is a dessert.
The looks aren't that impressive, I know. It's dusted with glutinous rice flavor to prevent sticking. And yet, I found these sticking to the packaging tray.
This is not for the faint at heart. If you don't like coffee, you probably will not like this mochi. The coffee flavor is quite strong. It reminds me of the first time I tried iced coffee. My dad gave me a sip of a sugared and creamed up Dunkin Donuts beverage (which I now know is not proper iced coffee :P) and I couldn't tolerate it. It was too bitter for a kid. Such is the case here. Too bitter for children and anyone with childlike tastebuds. I was also expecting the mocha sauce to be a bit sweeter and to actually have more of a chocolate taste. But it makes sense - the mocha sauce itself contains coffee powder and coffee extract. Personally, I wish that either the mocha sauce or the coffee ice cream itself was a tad bit sweeter - just a tad - to be a bit more balanced. Like if this ice cream and my beloved Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream could have a baby, it would be spot on.
Surprisingly, A liked this coffee mochi, more than he liked the mango mochi. It's very true to what proper coffee ice cream should be, but he agreed that it would work better as an ice cream if it were a tad sweeter. Perhaps the coconut milk base makes the strength of the coffee more distinctive, as opposed to a normal dairy cream base that would smooth out the bitterness. I'm not a huge fan of coconut milk, but you really can't taste the coconut at all, which means they did a good job here. And a non-tropical flavored coconut milk ice cream! Lovely! Reminds me of the showstopper challenge in this episode of the Great British Bake-Off.
And yes, the mochi here leaves little to be desired. Too thin. Too sticky/gummy. Not thick or chewy enough and lacking tension in the dough. But that's to be expected. $3.49 for a box of 6. Not a bad price for impressing your coffee-loving friends.
A gives it a 7.5. I'm still bitter about the fact that this is borderline too bitter. But it's growing on me.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Coffee Mochi. A thoroughly coffee-flavored non-dairy ice cream with coffee/mocha center wrapped in a mediocre mochi. Bittersweet but delicious. 7 out of 10.