Friday, May 9, 2014

READER REVIEW: Steve's Review of Blue Bell Mocha Madness

Mocha Madness isn't a brand new flavor for Blue Bell, but it has been a few years since it appeared in their rotation, and the last time was before I started eating their ice cream so, well, it's new to me. Thus, when the Ice Cream Informant recently announced its (re)appearance, I was intrigued enough to invest in a tub. As I peeled off the lid, "intrigued" does capture how I felt more than "excited", because I've never been a huge fan of the mocha/coffee ice cream flavor. I like drinking coffee with a dish of ice cream, but past experiences have led me to be indifferent about coffee flavoring in my ice cream. But my opinion seems to be in the minority, as evidenced by several recent reviews of coffee flavored ice creams and gelato's on this forum. So let's dig in and see how this coffee is brewed.

Blue Bell describes Mocha Madness as coffee ice cream with pecans, chocolate chips, and caramel sauce. The "mocha" aspect of this flavor's name, the base ice cream, is fine, but nothing special. It does have a nice creamy texture, but tastes like your run-of-the-mill mocha-coffee flavor. Recently, the Ice Cream Informant reviewed a flavor of Steve's brand coffee ice cream and raved about the taste of its "cold-brewed grated cinnamon" flavor. If that ice cream was almost an "A" then Mocha Madness's base is a shaky "C" as it lacks any such sophistication.

But Mocha is only half the name of this ice cream. The other half is "madness", and does this flavor live up to that name! Blue Bell blows past the mediocre base issue by fortifying this flavor with three marvelous mix-ins. The caramel ribbon is thick, salty, and chewy, similar to the excellent caramel sauce in their recent Sea Salt Caramel flavor. The pecans are not shaved pieces, rather they are half-nuts, fresh and rich and meaty. And the chocolate pieces are not mere sliver "chips" but rather large rectangular chunk-type chips boasting a savory dark chocolate flavor. Best of all, these mix-ins are provided in copious quantity! Just look at the three-picture panorama. The picture on the left is from just under the surface at the top of the tub. The up-close spoonful was taken half-way down, and the picture on the right shows the bottom of the tub. You can see that this ice cream is a maelstrom of mix-ins top to bottom!

The sheer quantity of Mocha Madness's mix-ins is indeed insane, and their quality is first-rate. Connoisseurs of sophisticated coffee will probably regard the mediocre base as a fatal flaw capping this ice cream at a lower grade, but my taste buds were completely won over by the way the mix-ins barrage combined with this base to create a delicious coffee ice cream experience.

Where Steve Found It: Albertson's
Steve's Grade: A

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