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There is a general rule that if you eat a fruit or vegetable raw and it is not the local custom to eat it that way, you say "Shehakol".

Chocolate-covered espresso beans are mainly coffee beans with a thin layer of chocolate covering it. (I.e., the coffee is ikar). I am uncertain in the U.S. if it has become popular to eat raw coffee beans, but, I don't think so. Would the bracha still be shehakol b/c of the unpopularity of eating raw coffee beans, or should you say "ha'etz" as, even though it's covered in chocolate making it palatable, and the coffee is the ikar, this is now considered a "popular" way to eat coffee?

  • I know that if you eat chocolate covered peanuts, if you desire the peanuts more then you make hadama; if you desire the chocolate more then you make a shehakol. (Source: Rabbi Bodner's Halachos of Brachos) – Ani Yodea Jul 7 '15 at 20:04
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    I suspect the beans are roasted, not raw. Also, I think from dina d'gmara both chocolate and coffee would seem to be haetz, and the custom just seems to have developed to say shehakol instead (perhaps due to uncertainty regarding the metzius?) I also don't know that the chocolate's being only a thin layer renders it tafel - there's not much bean either and you would eat choclate alone but not coffee alone... – Loewian Jul 7 '15 at 20:04
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    Rav Moshe discuses the chocolate covered raisin in Igros Moshe OC 3:31 and holds since the person wants both equally he should make two brachos,don't see why this would be different – sam Jul 7 '15 at 20:18
  • @Loewian Yes, the beans are roasted. Yet, that doesn't change the status within the question that most people don't eat plain roasted coffee beans, either. (I do, sometimes, but I'm a known food weirdo ;-) – DanF Jul 7 '15 at 21:07
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Rabbi Chayim Cohen addresses this question in his Dose of Halacha: He quotes Rabbi Heinemann who holds that the bracha is subjective - that is it does depend on what you consider to be the primary food, just as you suggest.

.. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC3:31) addresses the issue of chocolate-covered raisins, though is clear that one recites shehakol on chocolate itself. While normally one makes the beracha on the ikar, main ingredient, neither the raisin nor the chocolate can be considered tafel, of secondary importance to the other. One would therefore need to recite both shehakol and ha’etz (ideally on another raisin, etc).

The Baer Hetev (204:19) holds that the raisin is the ikar (See Mekor Habrocha 22) while the Vezos Habracha (p96-97) quotes one opinion that chocolate is the ikar, and another that as the volume of the raisin is usually greater than the chocolate, the correct beracha should be ha’etz (see Yalkut Yosef 3 p431). R’ Moshe Heinemann writes that the beracha is subjective as the ikar is determined by personal preference.

In conclusion, while one can follow his preference, it is ideal to make 2 beracha on 2 other items.

  • Note that the reason for making ha'etz on a different raisin is because you would normally say the ha'etz bracha before the shehakol bracha but eating a chocolate-covered raisin, you necessarily would have to eat the chocolate before the raisin. So if you make a ha'etz on a non-chocolate raisin, that issue is resolved. – Daniel Jul 8 '15 at 19:56
  • Zvi - Thanks for the reference. It certainly answers the general rule. However, it still leaves a question with my situation. As stated in my question, most people do not eat plain roasted coffee beans as they are usually ground and brewed into liquid coffee. Thus, it raises the question if the fact that it is chocolate covered now makes it "popular" so one would say "Ha'etz", or if the status is unchanged (stays unpopular) then there would be one shehakol for boththe chocolate and the coffee bean. – DanF Jul 8 '15 at 20:16
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My Rav's opinion:

Chocolate-covered coffee beans places it in the same classification as candy or a plain piece of chocolate, even if the coffee bean is the majority ingredient by volume. Thus, he considers the ikar to be the chocolate, as that is the reason people eat these items. Few people would eat just the plain coffee beans without the chocolate covering.

Thus, since the intention of eating it is for the taste of the chocolate, you should say Shehakol just as you would on eating a plain chocolate bar.

(He was disappointed that I didn't have a sample to offer him so he could prove his point!)

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