Edible coffee-flavored candies are nothing new, and in recent years, companies like Awake and Chocolove have capitalized on the movement with coffee-infused chocolates. Legendary barista Katsuyuki Tanaka, owner of Bear Pond Espresso in Tokyo, is now approaching the phenomenon in a new fashion, skipping the chocolate all together with his EXPERIENCE coffeedust bar.
Tanaka is widely considered to be the individual who spearheaded Japanese coffee culture; when he opened Bear Pond Espresso, it was prior to the modern coffee movement in Japan, and many people who came into the shop did not enjoy his coffee. However, he was able to acquire a cult following of coffee-lovers that eventually skyrocketed his success.
When Tanaka was approached by an American boutique hotel chain and asked to become a partner by operating a café within the chain, he met many people who had never tried his coffee before. “I got frustrated that I could not let them taste my cup on the spot,” he explained to Forbes. “I decided to make portable, solid coffee bars that I could take out of my pocket like business cards and let them taste my style.
The ingredients used in EXPERIENCE bars are the exact same as those used to make Tanaka’s espresso — coffee beans, water, milk, and a bit of sugar. Once the wrapper comes off, the bar may resemble chocolate, but the taste that follows will be anything but — it’ll be the deep and smoky flavor of well-brewed espresso.
The goal for Tanaka in creating this product was to create something new and memorable for the people that try it. He explained that he’s okay with some people not liking the flavor, and that it may not be for everyone. “Some people do not like the coarse texture, because we all are so used to smooth, silky chocolate bars. But that is the point of my coffee dust bar. If everyone likes the taste, it means it is just an average product.” However, when people do enjoy the product, Tanaka says, “they want to tell everyone to try it.”
While several companies have reached out to him with opportunities for expansion, the EXPERIENCE coffee dust bar is still patent-less. “My goal is to keep creating ripples in the coffee industry. I don’t need more money than I can spend before I die. I am not rich, but I have never thought about how much money I have in my bank account all my life. The truth is, money follows somehow when you are having fun with what you do.”
Each of the coffee bars are made entirely by hand by Tanaka himself and are available for sale at $6.25 exclusively at his coffee shop –– but you better act fast when they’re released. He explains that when he starts a new batch of the bars, he’ll post on his Instagram account when they will be available. According to Tanaka, they usually sell out within an hour.