I don’t even remember how I ran across these. You know how it is, it’s the Internet. You follow some ad that piqued your interest, next thing you know you’re learning a bit about the history of caffeinated chocolate in warfare. This is Scho-Ka-Kola, which is short for Schokolade–Kaffee–Kolanuss, which is German for, as you’ve probably surmised, Chocolate-Coffee-Kola Nut.
I won’t rehash the entire Wikipedia (which is always right) page, but it tells us it turned up in Germany in 1936 as a “sport chocolate.” Then it was used by the German military during WWII to keep troops awake and alert. And since I’m all about being awake and alert, and I have this increasing interest in the two World Wars*, I had to get some. Amazon was out of stock, so I turned to a site out of Finland. Why did I order (as the label calls it) “a mild combat drug” from Scandanavia? Because dammit, That’s My Job.
I got the milk chocolate and the dark chocolate versions. Trying them, they’re…well, I mean, they’re chocolate. I was expecting something a bit more…well, less…tasty. Especially on the dark chocolate, which I had seen described as “bitter.” It’s not as tasty as the milk chocolate, but it’s certainly not what I would call bitter. Considering how quickly I was ingesting the milk chocolate version, I thought: I better check the caffeine content of these things. I certainly wasn’t tasting a high caffeine content, but you always want to be careful.
Going back to Wikipedia, it says that the caffeine content for an entire canister is 200mg. Which means that each of those Trivial Pursuit pieces is about 12.5mg.
No wonder I wasn’t getting any buzz off the things.
If you visit the official site, they say “The only modifications to the traditional chocolate’s recipe since the launch of the brand have been for compliance with food regulatory requirements.” I actually contacted the company to ask if any of those requirements called for the caffeine content to be lowered. I know in Europe food safety rules are a bit more stringent than they are on this side of the pond. Alas, I never heard back.
I suppose if you have no access to coffee or any other kind of stimulant, then “combat chocolate” with a mild amount of caffeine is better than nothing. Or perhaps it was a placebo effect and they felt like they’d just snorted some speed based on suggestion alone. Or perhaps you were already so keyed up, you just needed a little perk to take the sleepy edge off. As for me, if you gave me this stuff for combat, I’d drive my tank right into a lake, snoring all the while.
So for chocolate that’s supposed to be stimulating or a “combat drug,” it’s not that impressive. As just regular chocolate, it’s actually not bad. Especially the milk chocolate. The dark chocolate I found to be rather mild, all things considered. I’m used to dark chocolate that pushes you off the monkey bars and steals your lunch money. This is like dark chocolate on vacation. Relaxed and not in a hurry. Which is fine if that’s what you’re going for.
Anyway, should you try it? Sure, if you can find it for a price you deem to be relatively inexpensive. But just know you’re getting it for the novelty, not because you need to be up for another hour doing the “mild combat” of Fortnite or something.
*This has nothing to do with the fact I’m an old man now, this has been going on for quite some time. When you go to school in Alabama, you get kind of hungry for knowledge once you realize such a thing as “knowledge” exists.