My parents were just in HK for a couple of weeks, who happened to have spent this year’s Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival) there. I usually provide them with a shopping list, but this time around, I’ve got only one item: Starbucks Mooncakes.
Yes, you read it right. Starbucks does sell mooncakes but they’re not available here. That’s why I had to make sure my parents would bring me back some. Sure enough, I got a box to try.
Origin of Mooncake
Do you know where mooncake came from? The popular version is that it was created by revolutionaries in the Yuan Dynasty, who hid secret letters/messages inside the mooncakes, and distributed them to plan a revolt to overthrow the Mongolian rulers, leading to the fall of Yuan and the rise of Ming Dynasty. Who would have thought that this tasty treat was originated from a political move! Alright, that’s my tidbit of the day. Enough history, let’s move on to tasting.
Tasting the Starbucks Mooncakes
Each box comes with 4 mooncakes:
And there were two each of the following flavours: Espresso & Nuts and Caramel Macchiato & Nuts. As you may know, the most common type of mooncakes these days are stuffed with lotus seed paste. This is no difference, except that they’re coffee-flavoured lotus seed paste. I love ordering specialty coffee at coffee shops (Starbucks included) so the flavour profile is right up my alley.
Espresso & Nuts
This is very rich. The espresso flavour is so strong that it tastes just like the coffee itself. I like the fact that there isn’t a lot of nuts so you can savour the smooth lotus seed paste.
Caramel Macchiato & Nuts
The filling is in a lighter colour than Espresso & Nuts, and is slightly sweeter. And it doesn’t really have the caramel, buttery flavour. You can taste the coffee, but you wouldn’t guess it’s caramel macchiato. I often order camarel macchiato at Starbucks so I know how it tastes.
During trial #1, I had Espresso first then Caramel Macchiato, so I thought perhaps the rich espresso flavour had numbed my taste buds and kept me from picking up the caramel taste. When I had the second pair of the mooncakes, I had Caramel Macchiato then Espresso. I still couldn’t taste the caramel macchiato, but this time around Espresso & Nuts was not as rich as I had it the first time. It’s interesting how the flavour profile changed depending on the eating order. I think overall Espresso is still richer and I prefer it over Caramel Macchiato. Too bad you can’t just have four of the same flavour.
Of course I did experiment having the mooncakes with coffee. No, it wasn’t Starbucks coffee. It’s just regular drip coffee but it did help bringing out the coffee flavour. In fact, I think these mooncakes go better with coffee than tea (we usually have tea with mooncakes).
Despite that the Starbucks mooncakes may be too sweet for some, I would love to see them available for sale here. There’s a huge Chinese population in N. America, and a lot more coffee drinkers. I think there’s potential here. Help me spread the word and get Starbucks to sell mooncakes in Canada!