Curiosity, my friends, is the name of this particular game. Sometimes, curiosity leads you down a rabbit hole to a magical world of possibility. Other times, it leads you down a path toward mediocrity, because it turns out our human standards for perfection are inevitably subjective. Yes, I got these because a TJ's blog that I follow and respect rated these as 10/10 perfection. Curious indeed.
Although there were things that were some surprisingly decent about this brownie, in my opinion, perfection is a bit of a stretch. I'm highly skeptical of TJ's baked goods to begin with, because frankly, to me, they don't look all that appetizing. For one thing, everything is encased in plastic. Not that plastic-encased things can't taste good, but there is something about the packaging and layout of the baked goods section that makes me think that the baked goods aren't as fresh. I could be totally wrong, but they look like they were shipped in from somewhere and have been sitting there for days. If I'm going to buy pre-made baked goods, I want them to be as fresh as possible.
But anyway, this sumatra flavored brownie kinda/sorta appeals to my taste for baked goods, so I got it anyway. Notice that the first ingredient is sugar. It's a brownie, so of course I expect sugar. This ain't no fake brownie.
A and I agree on at least one point - it tastes better than it looks. Texturally it looks like a dried out piece of tofu (豆腐乾), which my mother loves, or geriatric skin (dehydrated with poor turgor). I was quite surprised to bite in and find that the brownie wasn't dry at all but dense and fudgy. Again, I'm kind of unimpressed, mostly because this dense fudgy texture isn't that hard to replicate, even with a boxed brownie mix. Actually, it's kinda texturally comparable to those Little Debbie cakes. Not an insult, kind of nostalgic really. It's rich but too sweet for me. The coffee flavor doesn't come through that strong, although there is a certain bitterness that would repel most kids. It's aiite, but I've had better. The ground coffee sprinkled over top does little but tell me that there's supposed to be some coffee flavor in this brownie.
A finds it rather "meh." I think it's aiite. $2.99 for 4 brownies. Would not repurchase but wouldn't discourage purchase altogether. Personally, I'd rather shell out $3 or $4 for a superior bakery version or recreate a better version myself (with corner pieces, because taste is only as good as the texture!).
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Sumatra Coffee Brownies. A darker, coffee-esque chewy/fudgy brownie a la Little Debbie. For grown-ups I guess. 5.5 out of 10.