Posts Tagged ‘fingers’

Kit Kat: 桜抹茶 「Sakura Maccha」

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

The last Kit Kat I reviewed was the Limited Kyoto Itokyuemon Uji-Maccha (宇治抹茶) and knowing that I had another maccha Kit Kat in store, I wanted to do them back to back to compare and contrast. The Kyoto variety is easily one of my favorite Kit Kat, with it’s smooth, earthy, honest green tea style. So, this set of fingers really had a lot to live up to.

桜抹茶「Sakura Maccha」Kit Kat

First, packaging. This flavour came out at about the same time as the White Coffee flavour (namely spring) and if you remember, I took issue with the sakura packaging of the white coffee Kit Kat. It just didn’t make sense there. Here of course, it does. I quite like the packaging here. A Traditional sized box, with the the common Nestle Kit Kat brand is present, of course, but the box itself is a vibrant green that plays beautifully against the pink place setting and sakura blossoms. Of course, on the southeast corener, there is a similarly green cup of maccha. This is successful because not only does it appropriately sell the flavour, but the colors are lively and eye catching. I admit that when searching through the Nestle website, this packaging was one of my favorites. The bittersweet colour palette was interesting and engaging and paired with the flavour itself, wonderfully exciting.

The interior wrapper is understated, but carries through with the brand. A green gradient to white and a pink gradient to white are at both ends. Besides looking appealing, it makes note of a soft blending of the two flavours. Let’s hope that’s what we get!

Opening the package, again, there was no strong green tea aroma like the last Kit Kat, unless I really went searching for it. They smelled of a sweetened green tea dessert, like Haagen Daz green tea ice cream with no real hint of sakura. In fact, there was a pretty strong chocolate scent before there was anything sakura. Colour-wise, the fingers were almost identical to those from Kyoto (which isn’t surprising they’d use the same dye numbers).

桜抹茶「Sakura Maccha」Kit Kat

On the first bite, if I’m honest, I found nearly no green tea. Instead, it was mostly the sweet of the white chocolate and a very spicy version of sakura (like cinnamon, perhaps). I hadn’t really known what to expect from the sakura in these. I had really hoped for a strong, bitter taste of sakura pickled in ume as that would be quite exciting. If I had to say what the taste was like, I’d say it was a milder version of the Tokyo-style sakuramochi I’d had before as it was a slightly sweet, bland sakura flavour (as if introduced to azuki). Also, perhaps like sakura ice cream which is usually more delicate in flavour.

Through the first finger, I didn’t really get the green tea at all. On the second one, I could taste it initially before becoming consumed by the azuki-like sakura flavour. Sampling just a bit of the chocolate I found that it was meant to convey the green tea flavour, but it was mild inside the sweet white chocolate. I like a real earthy maccha, not sweet. This definitely was of the latter. It has also become quite apparent that the filling of the wafer in Japanese Kit Kat will be the most dominant flavour. In the Kyoto snacks, there was definitely maccha filling and thus had a strong maccha flavour; these it’s inverted.

The filling in these also seemed, for whatever reason, creamier than other bars. On a presentation note, however, the filling is quite disappointing. The wafer are regularly colored with simple white filling. It would have been nice to see a bright pink or fuchsia filling. The fingers would have looked really interesting.

Overall, the flavour of these are really, really tough to judge. As a sakura-maccha snack, they fail pretty horribly. I can almost never get a sense of the maccha. However, the “spicy” sakura/azuki flavour is really quite delicious. I could eat these all day and actually, now that I’ve finished this box, I dare say I’d like some more. A great taste, horribly misrepresented.

Flavor: 7.5/10 (would have been a solid 8 had these not mentioned maccha at all)

Presentation: 4/10

Packaging: 9/10

The packaging was really solid here: colourful, engaging and interesting; a selling point on its own. The presentation of the snacks themselves left a bit to be desired. I like the “maccha” colour of the chocolate (quite possibly the same as the Kyoto snacks) but the filling and wafers are boring, uninspired. The flavour was fantastic, a mild spiciness reminiscent of sakura-azuki desserts that wasn’t too sweet either.

How do they compare to the Kyoto Uji-Maccha Kit Kat? They don’t. There’s hardly any maccha flavor here whereas the Kyoto fingers are packed full of them. If you’re after maccha flavour, try those. If you’re after a unique maccha flavour, don’t look here. Try these only for the sakura in them.

Kit Kat: Limited Kyoto Itokyuemon Uji-Maccha (宇治抹茶)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

As previously mentioned, I was lucky enough to have a package of Kit Kat sent to me from Japan containing several different flavors. Of these, one was the limited edition Kyoto Prefecture only 宇治抹茶 (Uji-Maccha) that my girlfriend got when she visited the area. I felt very fortunate that I was able to sample a flavor that perhaps I wouldn’t even if I had been in Japan at the time. It wasn’t until I tasted it, that I realised just how fortunate I was.

To be completely (and embarrassingly) honest, I don’t have a lot of background on this particular flavor. I do know that since the Muromachi period (I believe) Uji city has been revered for high quality green tea, and continues even today. The importance of Itokyuemon, as far as I can gleam from the back of the box, is that it is a very famous restaurant in Uji, specialsing in Uji-maccha flavored dishes. After scampering off to their website, yes, that’s what it is and boy do I want to go!

Itokyuemon 宇治抹茶 Kit Kat

Itokyuemon 宇治抹茶 Kit Kat

I expected these Kit Kat to have a potent maccha flavor to reflect the speciality of the tea itself. The packaging certainly does. This collection of twelve minis is in a box as opposed to the usual bag, and gone is the oversized, terribly red Kit Kat brand. Instead, the horizontal edges of the box are a deep green, tea leaf print while the center is solid black with a black ceramic cup of maccha. The bright green Kit Kat on display bottom right corner. The color combination deep green, black and gold scream a richness, almost saying these Kit Kat are “expensive”  (much unlike the traditional packaging) and speaking clearly to their exclusivity. Overall, a very successful package. These jump out from the rest of the candy in the store, as they should. The individual wrapping is a similar color scheme, simple and strong, with the black and green from the box inverted (black on the edges, green in the middle).

The fingers are chocolate in an almost celadon color, I guess you could say. The color is very similar to any maccha flavored drink or dessert (that isn’t, you know, green tea itself) you would find in the States (like Snoqualmie Gourmet Green Tea Ice Cream, plug, plug). The interior wafers are a slightly more yellow color alternately layered with green.

Itokyuemon 宇治抹茶 Kit Kat

Photos to be reshot in less artificial light

I admit, that the aroma of these Kit Kat was a tad bit disappointing. There was a faint maccha aroma that was greatly overpowered by chocolate. I had hoped and expected the Uji-maccha flavor to be the star.

On the first bite, strangely, there was no chocolate flavor to be found, as a huge rush of green tea overpowered the bar. As a die hard tea fan, I was thrilled. Also thrilling was that the flavor wasn’t some sweet candy-style maccha, but a real, almost earthy flavor. It wasn’t until the after taste that it was even remotely sweet, and there was even a hint of chocolate, as it should be.  On the bites where there was less chocolate (and more filling), I was able to clearly taste the wafers and between the wafer layers, there is actual, honest maccha, explaining the overpowering taste, but not the smell.

I’ve not tasted the other green tea or maccha flavored Kit Kat (Sakura-Maccha is next on my list), so I don’t have a frame of reference to compare to other Kit Kat, but with the strength of the maccha flavor in these was a very welcome, and exhilarating experience for this maccha lover.

Flavor: 10/10

Presentation: 6/10

Packaging: 7/10

For its mild sweetness (a big plus in my book) and earnest maccha flavor that was clearly on display (and tastes great as well), this is easily one of my favorite Kit Kat ever. The fingers themselves aptly sell the maccha flavor inside and the packaging is appropriately done for the product, flavor and exclusivity. Overall, I’ll be really sad when I get through this box, knowing this flavor isn’t coming back.

Kit Kat: スパークリンストロベリー「Sparkling Strawberry」

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

At first my thoughts of “Sparkling Strawberry” was like a disco milkshake. The packaging barely gave anything away as to what exactly a sparkling starwberry is, or how it is different from a regular strawberry (a flavor Kit Kat had done before). The inner wrapper however, showed faint gold rings appearing like bubbles. It made sense, then, that sparkling strawberry was like sparkling cider, or champagne. So, in essence, sparkling strawberry means “strawberry champagne.”

The fingers were obviously a white chocolate that has been colored a deep cotton candy pink. The scent was an obvious strawberry fragrance, but artificially so. It smelled quite a bit like Nesquick strawberry milk (which I am a huge fan of). Apt as how Nestle handles Kit Kat duty in Japan. I wasn’t sure where the champagne would come in at all.

Flavor of the white chocolate all but disappears, adding nothing to the party and giving way to that lovely, artificial strawberry flavor. It’s a bit too fake though, and comes on really sweet at first (thanks to the white chocolate, no doubt), dying off with a bit of a strange bitterness at the end.

It was hard to tell exactly what the wafer is filled with, but I’m assuming it’s more of the same: artificial strawberry and as I continued to eat, the bitter after taste became more apparent. It was really strong. I’ll call it the champagne after taste. Almost like champagne, but really jarring.

I wanted to say I almost felt some carbonation. Not too pleased with that. By the time of my last bite I could tell that, yes, that in fact, there was carbonation in this (though artificially so). I imagine the wafer is filled with Pop Rocks! or something of that nature.

My score: It was a decently sweet strawberry flavor, though a bit artificial (like NesQuick strawberry milk or Strawberry Puffs gummies) that was derailed heavily by the bitter punch at the end that didn’t really match the prior sweetness. The “fizziness” in the wafer (or creme) was a bit odd, though not noticeable enough to really make it sparkle.

The girlfriend says “she liked, but prefers normal Kit Kat…these were a bit too sour” for her.

Flavor: 5/10

Presentation: 5/10

Packaging: 7/10

Kit Kat: ミルクコーヒー「Milk Coffee」

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

First, let’s get one thing straight: I had really high hopes for these particular Kit Kat fingers. Even though I’m not much of a coffee drinker, when I do drink it, I always take it with milk. Just like my tea (I’d take a cuppa over joe any day). More importantly, I have had (and continue to adore) the Royal Milk Tea Kit Kat (review coming soon). In fact, it is without question, my favorite Kit Kat I’ve ever had, so far.

So, I was hoping it would be more of the same, just swapping tea out for coffee.

Before getting into the taste of the fingers, I have to address the packaging. I’m a designer, and these are the things (besides Kit Kat) I obsess about. I usually enjoy receiving a new box of Kit Kat as a gift, in the mail, or arriving at the store to see a new wondrous package waiting for me. The themes, if not good, are usually interesting. This one, not so much. I’ve gotta say, I’m a bit disappointed.

ミルクコーヒー packaging

ミルクコーヒー packaging is just a bit too lazy.

The packaging has the traditional Nestlé Kit Kat brand over a red box. In the bottom right corner is a steaming cup of presumably, milk coffee. Great. What is on the rest of the packaging? サクラ/sakura (or cherry blossoms). The box reads (roughly) “that cherry blossoms are on their way.” I guess by the time they arrived Stateside, that’s true, but when released in Japan, not so much.

Nevertheless, I was puzzled as to the connection between milk coffee and cherry blossoms, and I’m not the only one. I had come to the conclusion that perhaps it was just a spring seasonal thing, but my girlfriend promptly suggested “no, they’re just lazy.” Okay, so there you have it. The packaging is “just lazy.”

Moving onto the fingers themselves, they’re a white chocolate bar (with a slight cream color), which unlike some, I think is a good thing. You see, not only do I prefer white chocolate (even though it isn’t even chocolate) to chocolate, but chocolate (even milk) has a distinct flavor whereas white just blends in a bit better, and is a bit sweeter. If these bars were milk chocolate, I’d think of them not as milk coffee, but mocha flavor.

ミルクコーヒー bar and inside wrapper

ミルクコーヒー fingers

The smell is quite fragrant and noticeably coffee…with a hitch. Not coffee you might make at home, which tends to be a bit bitter, but coffee at a place like Starbucks which is obnoxiously sweet. So, it’s a really sweet coffee with a vanilla sidekick.

The taste is pretty much the same. The chocolate carries a touch of coffee, but it mostly milky/vanilla-y/white chocolate-y and really, really sweet. The wafer and creme are where the coffee flavor comes in, and because of that comes in as a slightly bitter, refreshing bit of coffee as an after taste.

As you continue to eat, the coffee becomes more noticeable, and begins to mellow out the sweet. By the end of the bar, it really begins to feel like plain ol’ coffee mellowed out with milk as opposed to the other way around. I think the milk ratio is a bit higher than I’d like, however. The end result is a mild cup of coffee, sweetened.

It’s pretty good, but a bit sweet for my tastes.

Flavor: 7/10

Presentation: 4/10

Packaging: 2/10

I liked the idea of Milk Coffee Kit Kat more than the execution. They’re a bit too sweet, missing a balance I liked from the Royal Milk Tea bars, but otherwise exactly as advertised. The presentation of the bars were a bit simple, and the packaging, well, was lazy.