Ima be honest. I find it difficult at times to rave about ice cream when there's evil and ridiculous stuff happening in the world. I don't consider myself a crier, but I've cried at least a handful of times in the past week from news. Wut. I suppose that makes me human. Or hormonal. Life under a rock looks pretty good right about now, but that ain't no way to live y'all. Bring on the ice cream. :)
Disclaimer #2: Because I'm not much of an ice cream person, I actually haven't eaten my way through the TJ's freezer case of ice creams. It's too much of an investment to buy an entire thing of ice cream that I will probably only have a few spoonfuls of. And I'm not shameless enough to schlep half eaten ice cream back to the store for a refund.
Disclaimer #3: But based on selection that I have tried, I can say with at least 90% confidence that TJ's carries a reliable, quality line of ice creams. However, this speculoos magic nabs the gold standard for me. Is it necessarily fair to pit all other TJ's ice creams against that gem? Probably not. But just know that I've set the ice cream bar high.
Disclaimer #4: I've never had Kona coffee. And even if I did, I probably didn't know it was Kona coffee. But what the heck. Coffee ice cream is one of my favorite's, and according to this unscientific alternative myers briggs, it suits me perfectly. :P
Cream is the first ingredient. That's proper y'all. Is ice cream really ice cream without the cream? I'm looking at you, Halo Top (tried it. It was aiite. Not convinced or converted though).
This flavor is quite nice. I anticipated an overwhelmingly coffee base, but actually it tastes like tiramisu - a little bit of coffee, little bit of mocha, and little cookie bits. Sweet but not overly sweet. Just enough bitterness. Although, with that name "mocha swirl" I kind of expected a little more mocha. My real critiques are mostly toward the texture. While the shortbread does have a nice subtle coffee flavor, I wish the cookies had more of snappy, biscuit texture rather than that of softened crumbs. Also, considering that cream is the first ingredient, I don't think it is creamy enough. Yes, there's a whiter milkier part that tastes creamier and better when mixed in with the rest, but overall this lacks the creamy finish of a really good ice cream (like the speculoos one). It melts down to a watery/sorbet/vegan ice cream finish. Minor detail but still crucial to the mouthfeel.
That said, it's still a solid pick. Different from a typical coffee ice cream but not too out there. A agreed that while it's not nearly as good as the speculoos ice cream, it's pretty good. I'll admit I've considered having this in lieu of my morning coffee. It's got all the makings of some typical American breakfasts anyway. :P
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Kona Coffee Cookie Mocha Swirl Ice Cream. Like tiramisu? Try it ice cream form. But maybe with a snappier biscuit. 7.5 out of 10.