Jeca Bar is a new startup food company that produces energy cookies and energy bars. According to the founder, Ree Dolnick, Jeca products are meant to be quick grab-n-go snack options that are naturally caffeinated through either coffee beans or matcha green tea leaves. Ree claims that these all-natural energy products “feature complex global flavors,” including “intriguing flavor combinations creating sweet, savory and even spicy sensations.” Right now, these products are not available on Cornell’s campus, but Jeca hopes to feature them in on-campus locations by the end of this semester.
Currently, you can buy Jeca products at the Greenstar Market in Collegetown. I bought three energy cookies, the Tokyo Cookie, the Tuscany Cookie and the Tijuana Cookie. The flavors of the cookies are “rooted in the cuisines of the region that they are named after,” according to Ree. For example, the Tuscany cookie features ingredients that are staples in that area. When I asked Ree about where the ingredients are sourced from, she replied that they “try to source locally as much as we can but in some cases, we do need to source globally. For example, we source our Matcha directly from Japan because we feel that the quality is superior.” Each cookie costs about three bucks.
I’ve had some great cookies in my life. Unfortunately, these Jeca cookies are not one of them. Right away, the packaging for the cookies, although pretty, is impossible to open without a pair of scissors. It doesn’t make much sense to me that a product marketed as a to-go snack would not have perforations to make the package easy to open. My roommate commented that the “packaging just sucks.” I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely don’t carry around a pair of scissors. In terms of texture, all the cookies had a very similar mouthfeel, which I can only describe as dusty. The cookies are incredibly dry and crumbly, and they left me parched.
The Tijuana Cookie incorporated peanuts, chipotle peppers, chocolate, coffee and lime juice. This was by far my least favorite cookie. It was initially slightly sweet and then had a kick of a spice. There are plenty of delicious dishes that combine sweet and savory flavors. But it felt like this cookie wasn’t trying to combine these flavors in a complementary way; rather, it felt as though this cookie couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a savory cookie or a sweet one. It just felt like a few muddled flavors were slapped together, combined with a ridiculously dry texture. I tried this cookie with three other friends, and the four of us together could not finish it.
The Tuscany Cookie, which contained olives, was also a confusing cookie. It was not that much better than the Tijuana one. It had an initial mild sweetness with an incredibly bitter aftertaste, probably due to the olives. It did not feel like one specific flavor stood out, and the cookie as a whole just tasted weird. The most tolerable cookie was the Tokyo cookie, which included ingredients such as peanuts, seaweed, soy sauce, mustard seed and matcha. It was much sweeter than the other cookies but still had a strange bitter aftertaste that I did not enjoy. I keep mentioning the texture, but to reiterate: I hated it. All these cookies were ridiculously dry and crumbly.
All in all, flavor-wise I did not enjoy these cookies, and neither did any of my friends. In my opinion, they tasted pretty bad, and at about 300 calories a cookie, they’re very calorie-dense. But they are all-natural cookies from a local company using mostly locally sourced ingredients. If that’s important to you, you should give them a shot and see if you enjoy them (let me know if you did, I’m curious to know what you like about them).