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Trader Joe’s Mango Taffy

taffy
Sure – I love mango. Maybe I’m crazy for it. Maybe I’m on the record as saying that I wish my diet was pretty much mango and nothing else. I may have even made a tag for all mango themed products I’ve reviewed called “MANGO!”. For these reasons, and more, I am really not sure what to do with myself right now. Folks, I don’t know how else to say it, but we are in the FIRST EVER TRADER JOE’S MANGO MADNESS SEASON.

MANGO MADNESS! MANGO MADNESS! MANGO MADNESS!

Ranking: 3 stars 3 star ranking

What it is: Nice taffy that tastes like mango.
Price: $3.99 for a 12 oz. tub
Worth it: Yes, if you like mango and taffy.

Pumpkin Madness? That I can handle. Over time I’ve started to come to terms with Trader Joe’s annual pumpkin deluge – the October tradition of stocking the store so full of pumpkin derived products that they spill from the shelves and choke the doors.

What I was absolutely not prepared for is my favorite fruit in the entire world, getting the same treatment. My hands are quivering, I’m still breathing hard – and I went in the Trader Joe’s YESTERDAY. Guys, every aisle – every nook and cranny – is absolutely bursting with mango products, each item more outlandish than the last.

I should be thrilled – swinging from the lamp posts – but instead I find a strange uneasy churning in my stomach.

First, I’m not sure my grocery budget can take the strain of purchasing every new Mango product. But even more nervous-making, I’m worried for the mango itself.

Pumpkin is one thing. Pumpkin is the dependable, workman-like squash of the vegetable world. You can do anything to pumpkin and it won’t complain – mash it, roast it, puree it, spice it, candy it, press it for oil – whatever. It’s a mellow gourd with an unassuming, laid-back taste.

Mango, on the other hand, is a diva. Bright, brilliant, succulent and oh so deliciously sweet, mango can only be done two ways – perfectly, or perfectly awful. A poorly devised pumpkin product might leave you non-plussed –  but when someone does mango wrong, you end up with a repugnant horror. This is what I fear – that Trader Joe’s will abuse mango so horribly that they actually ruin my favorite fruit for me. Each new item I pick up is like another spin at Russian Roulette. I’m sure most of these will be great, but at some point I’m bound to find something lethal. Or will the sheer quantity of new products include enough duds that I swear off mango forever.

So which side of the line does Trader Joe’s Mango Taffy fall on?

I’m happy to say that this Mango infused candy is delicious. Taffy is rarely ever truly good or truly bad – most of the time it’s just that sweet, chewy sugar-dough you stick in your mouth when you’re on vacation somewhere rustic. The body of this taffy is just fine – a nice consistency, but unexcpetion. Not too hard, not too soft – malleable and almost yielding to the tongue. The mango flavor is pleasantly flavorful and strong. Taffy makers are fond of claiming they have all manner of flavors – a veritable encyclopedia of tastes encompassing every fruit and confection under the sun – but tend to deliver only about 3 or 4 distinctly different tastes among a sea of sweetness.

Trader Joe sidesteps this pitfall – delivering a mango taffy actually tastes like mango. Close your eyes and concentrate and you can nearly taste the juiciness of a nice bite of ripened, succulent mango flesh. It’s not quite there, obviously, but it’s a fair simulacra, and certainly deserving of the mango name.

The price is reasonable, to boot. If you’re looking for a confection that will really blow your socks off, you could do better in the magical candy aisles of Trader Joe’s, but if your a mango fan or a taffy fan, you’ll not go wrong picking this up.


The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Sure – this is pretty good taffy.

Would I Buy It Again: Yeah, I guess so.

Lives Up To The Name “Mango”: Yup – real mango flavor in these taffies.

Final Synopsis: Good mango taffy.

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Trader Joe’s Morroccan Style Mint Tea – Kettle Brewed

Trader Joe's Morroccan Style Mint Tea.png

Every summer Trader Joe’s parades out a new selection of beverages with the goal of quenching your thirst. Sometimes these are legitimately quenching, like Trader Joe’s Coconut Water, and sometimes they’re just picking your pocket book, like Trader Joe’s Maple Water.

Ranking: 4 stars 4 star rating

What it is: Green tea with a touch of mint.
Price: $2.99 for a 64 oz. jug
Worth it: Yes. Great tea at a good price.

What makes something truly refreshing? I couldn’t tell you – but I can say that Trader Joe’s Moroccan Mint Tea definitely has *it*. A cool, quenching not-too-minty, subtly sweet green tea that is here just in time to beat back the summer heat. It might just be tea, but it’s tea done right.

What’s so good about it? This green tea is infused with both spearmint and peppermint, then sweetened with a touch of cane sugar. Unlike most mint teas, which tend to be overpoweringly minty, or cloyingly sweet, TJ’s Moroccan Mint Tea gets it just right. Take a big swig of this, and the first thing you’ll taste is… tea. The actual kettle-brewed flavor of a cool green tea. Notice the deep mellowness of it – not too astringent, certainly not sweet – just right. Only as you begin to take a gulp does the minty back show itself, enhancing the flavor of the tea and cooling the palette without overwhelming the natural flavor of the brew.

It’s a similar play with the cane sugar – just a hint has been added. Just enough to balance out the naturally bitter edge of tea, but not enough to make it a traditionally sweet drink.

Trader Joe’s attributes this tea to Moroccan, but this sort of sweetened mint tea is common throughout the Mediterranean regions – or anywhere that the sun gets too damn hot. If that sounds like where you live, you’ll definitely want to consider picking up at bottle.


The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yes – extremely refreshing!

Would I Buy It Again: Most certainly.

Final Synopsis: Perfectly balanced, wonderfully quenching tea.

Trader Joe's Morroccan Style Mint Tea - Nutrition Facts