To be perfectly honest I’m not much of “Chocolate Person”. By this I mean that at any given moment any given day, if you offer me a piece of chocolate I’m likely to decline. I don’t dislike chocolate, it’s just not something I tend to reach for.
Unless it’s wrapped around some peanut butter. (The makers of peanut butter cups take note: I can be bought.)
The point is that there’s a lot of stuff I like better than chocolate and I just don’t have that craving for it I see in many of my fellow people.
So when I saw the reviews at Red-Icculus and Max’s Weblog about Buzz Bites (which I knew were made by Vroom Foods, makers of my beloved Foosh Mints that I reviewed HERE) I sent an email to the super-cool Sarah Person mostly because of my interest in all things caffeinated rather than my interest in a chocolate version of Foosh. (By the way, her last name is Person, I’m not calling her a “Sarah Person” in some strange manner of designating that she is, in fact, a person.) Interestingly this is not unlike my motivation for trying Foosh Mints in the first place. My logic was that with that much caffeine in them (100mg) I didn’t really care what it tasted like.
In true Vroom Foods fashion, they’ve exceeded my every expectation. Buzz Bites are tasty! No, let me rephrase. Buzz Bites are tasty! I’ll put it this way: This is a chocolate chew that I wouldn’t turn down even if it were decaffeinated.
Let us go back to the beginning.
As I mentioned in my Foosh Mints review, I’d had a fantastic experience dealing with a minor packaging problem on my last order of Foosh Mints. Sarah Person had contacted me personally (no automated letters) and assured me that she’d see to it everything was fixed in a hurry. I couldn’t even imagine where to begin if I wanted to criticize the customer service I got: it was simply above and beyond what I could reasonably expect (kind of like their products, actually). So it seemed simple enough to me to send her another humble e-mail asking if perhaps I could have a sample of Buzz Bites to review on my blog.
Again, very promptly, I get a personable and friendly response from her saying that of course she’d be happy to send a sample to me. Five hours later I get an automated notification from USPS saying Vroom Foods has shipped something to me. Two days later I get a package that I greedily tear open…
And simply kind of stare at for a moment in disbelief.
I didn’t simply get a sample. I got samples. SIX TINS. Three of each flavor for a wonderful total of 18 Buzz Bites in Chocolate and 18 in Mint Chocolate. What’s more I got swag. A whole bunch of stickers and a big glossy fact sheet. Granted, it’s not like I’m going to frame this or anything, and as much as wanted to I just couldn’t bring myself to plaster the stickers on my laptop (it’s just so perfect and glossy), but it’s still way up there on the cool factor. My favorite is the smallest one, which says “SERIOUSLY CAFFEINATED“.
The energy boost is, according to my seat-of-the-pants-o-meter, indistinguishable from the boost of a Foosh Mint. You get a nice smooth flood up the back of the brain, that kind of clean uplifting energy a good balance of caffeine, ginseng, taurine, and B-vitamins gives. Definitely not the donkey-kick to the brain stem that a half-dozen (or more) shots of espresso provides (been there, done that, still do). It comes on assertively without being jittery, and leaves unobtrusively without a crash. They’ve got as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but this is a bit deceptive because everything works together to provide a stronger, smoother boost than a simple cup of Joe will provide.
“But how do they taste?!?” you ask with more than a mild degree of annoyance in your voice at having read this far to have read only vague praises and long-winded sentences presuming to know how what you’re saying in your head.
They’re delicious. They’re a bit sticky (I’ve yet to unwrap one without leaving little bits stuck to the wrapper, but I take the effort to lick those bits off – I don’t waste any of it) but it’s not a messy kind of sticky, at least not at room temperature. I imagine they might stick to your fingers a bit if you left them in the car on a hot day or something, but I think I’ll skip that phase of testing for my review. They’re also nicely chewy, much like a caramel.
The “chocolaty-ness” of them is kind of complicated. It’s very robust and rich, but in more of a Tootsie-Roll way than a pretentious connoisseur chocolate kind of way. It’s a “fun” chocolate flavor rather than a luxurious one – kind of appeals to your childhood that way. Red-Icculus and stoatmax mentioned the taurine flavor in their reviews. How exactly one goes about sampling taurine specifically for flavor I’m not certain, but there is definitely a element in the flavor profile that is distinctly un-chocolate. Red referred to this as a “funky taurine chemical taste” but I’d have to agree more with stoatmax who said it was “not unpleasant, just.. earthy”. My wife and I both felt that the extra flavor (taurine, presumably) was actually complimentary to the chocolate flavor.
The Mint Chocolate Buzz Bites have a distinctly minty addition, strongly reminiscent of a chocolate after-dinner mint or those little mints the swanky hotels leave on your pillow. So far I have failed miserably to pick a favorite between the two flavors, but luckily Sarah sent me so many that I have ample testing material. For Science!
The Verdict: I think I’m still more of a Foosh Man than a Buzz Bite Man. The 12 mints to a tin for the same price as 6 chocolates to a tin is just hard to beat, and I’ll probably always prefer mints to chocolates anyway. But if you like caffeine and chocolate, you owe it to yourself to try Buzz Bites. I don’t tend to seek out chocolate and this is something I really enjoy without even taking the energy boost into account. Every other energy mint/candy I’ve tried has clearly sacrificed some taste for the boost and somehow Vroom Foods has put out two top-notch products that sacrifice absolutely nothing.
So whether you’re the discerning caff-fiend like myself, or simply looking for the occasional pick-me-up that doesn’t taste like high-octane, I highly recommend Buzz Bites (or Foosh Mints, for that matter).
Oh, and Sarah Person is awesome. She deserves a raise. (And you can quote me on that if you think it’ll help.)