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Macaron Bar Full Review, Quality & Taste test


Macaron bar full review, quality test & taste test
TOPIC
DETAILS
GRADE
Price Each macaron is $3.25 when the average online is $2.10. Fair since it includes shipping, and other websites don't.
7/10
Website Not easy to navigate. Easier for pick up order than macaron delivery service. Hard to pick specific flavors.
4/10
Shipping Free shipping with USPS. But macarons did not ship well: every macaron was broken.
3/10
Transit Shipped on Monday delivered on Wednesday. Two days transit with USPS Priority Mail.
8/10
For events? Option to delay shipping time for events.
7/10
Who is Macaron Bar? The head is clearly identified as Nathan Sivitz. Legit background.
7/10
Unboxing Poorly packaged. No branding. No insulated pouch.
2/10
Quality Every single macaron was hollow and destroyed. Very poor quality. Hollow macarons. Would recommend pick up instead of order online.
1/10
Taste Macarons were completely dry and almost inedible.
2/10

 

Table of content

  • About this review

French chefs at Pastreez

Bonjour! I am Anthony, French chef at Pastreez. My wife and I co-founded our online bakery store in California.

With 15+ years of experience and a degree from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, we consider ourselves experts in authentic macarons.

I started to review macarons from online bakeries to help buyers choose the best fit. Here with Macaron Bar, I ordered from their website, and waited for my package, as you would do if you order from them online.

I'll go over everything from order process, shipping and delivery timeline, unboxing, quality test and taste test.

  • Price

I ordered 12 macarons for $39, including shipping. The cost per macaron at Macaron Bar is about $3.25. It is 55% more expensive than what a macaron cost in average, about $2.10. Other website either do Free shipping as well or charge in average $8 for shipping.

Do you know why macarons are so expensive?

Because macarons are a real challenge to make. It is even more challenging to get consistent results with your macaron batches. But with experience and time, you can achieve to get great macarons.

  • Order process

I'm only interested in the macaron delivery service of the Macaron Bar. Since they are located in Ohio, and I'm in California, I can't comment on their pick up order process.

The Macaron Bar website is fairly built. I could tell that they are focused on the "pickup" order rather than online macarons orders. Pick up is the first option you see on the website.

Pictures are professional and beautiful. The "ship it" option lets you choose from Build a box, birthday pack, variety pack, fun pack, classic pack, subscription and macaron tower.

Now the website is not easy to navigate. For example, there is a complicated form to select your own flavors. You can't see what the flavors look like from the form, which makes it tricky to pick.

From this form, you can select a "ship date". Good point, for those who want to order now and ship later, for a baby shower or a wedding. There is also a "plan an event" page that helps you through the process.

Another good thing to mention, the Macaron Bar in Ohio offer baking classes (if you're not in Ohio, Pastreez offer Virtual Classes with French chefs here).

During the order process, after "adding to cart", the website actually sends you straight to checkout. There is no cart page. This makes it difficult to keep shopping and see your cart anytime.

  • Shipping options

Macaron Bar has Free standard shipping, using USPS Priority Mail. Everyone loves Free shipping. It brings the total cost to your door for 12 macarons at $39. The pricing of $39 for 12 macarons makes more sense now.

Shipping options from Macaron Bar

That being said, if you order two dozens at once, it would be $78. Since the shipping is already including in the price, paying two dozens will make you pay for two shipping costs technically. It would be appreciated to decrease the price with quantity ordered.

In addition of Free standard shipping, the Macaron Bar offers "Overnight" shipping with USPS Priority Mail Express for $20, which is a fair price.

Something is missing: Customers need to know when do you ship.

Is it Monday to Friday, like Pastreez, or is it only Monday to Wednesday like Ma-ka-rohnDana's BakeryChelles Macarons and Macaron Queen?

It's an important information. Imagine you need macarons for Saturday, and want to order overnight on Thursday. Will it be there on time? Macaron Bar should include a shipping chart to help customers choose.

I will also comment on using USPS, rather than UPS or FedEx. USPS is more economic to ship macarons, and it delivers to PO BOX.

But USPS has a cheaper tracking with delays, and packages get more often damaged.

  • Transit time

 See the transit time of my order from Macaron Bar:

    • Ordered on Monday August 23rd at 9:33am
    • Shipped on Monday August 23th at 11:39am
    • Delivered on Wednesday August 25th at 12:28pm

I ordered on Monday, the macarons shipped the same day, and delivered two days after. Delivery time is great.

The emails notifications are lacking of information though. I never received a notification of delivery.

So far, fast delivery is a good start. I'm excited to see what's next.

  • Who is Macaron Bar?

Macaron Bar was founded in 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Nathan Sivitz. From my research, he was fond of baking and have previously as a waiter in few restaurants prior.

They started an Indiegogo campaign back in 2014 to open their first shop. Macaron Bar is a Brick-and-mortar store. They now have 4 locations in Ohio. The place is legit.

I always like to mention in my macaron reviews that a Brick and Mortar store is a totally different business than a macaron delivery online store.

 With a Storefront, customers can only pick up. It is easier to manage the product freshness, because you just walk in and buy macarons from the refrigerated shelves.

Selling macarons online is a different challenge. It is key to control the recipe and package to keep freshness.

Alright, now it's time to actually start the unboxing of my Macaron Bar order!

  • Macaron Bar unboxing 

The package was delivered on Wednesday, and I started the review the same day.

To purchase macarons online is a journey: It starts with a beautiful website, it continues when the package arrives, and ends when you taste it.

Unboxing Macaron Bar

The first look at this box is disappointing. Let me describe each detail.

The Macaron Bar uses the Free carton boxes from USPS to ship their macarons Nationwide. As you might know, USPS gives away Free boxes for anyone to use. You can simply use those, and only have to purchase the Priority Mail label for the specific box. I'm not sure it fits for a macaron business though.

Honestly, I expected more. A USPS branded box is used most of the time for economic packages and personal use. Not for a "fine" bakery.

Another thing that struck me is the total absence of branding. No "Macaron Bar" sticker, or tape. Nothing from the outside would tell me this is the precious package.

I would expect at least stickers saying "FRAGILE" and "Perishable, refrigerate upon arrival". Almost every single bakery from my macaron reviews had those.

In addition, the shipping label was a simple piece of paper, poorly cut (not straight), instead of a label sticker. It might sound like a detail, but all together it adds up and tarnish the excitement of receiving macarons to your door. 

This unboxing experience comforts me into what I was suspected from their website: Macaron Bar is not an online macaron store. The unboxing feels "amateurish". Hopefully the level will increase with the macaron quality test & taste test!

It's time to open the box and see what's inside.

  • What's inside

    • Packing "Peanuts" Starch

Right after opening the box, I notice the Packing starch called "peanuts".It might do the trick, but packing starch are recommended as moving supplies, not to ship food.

At Pastreez we use Air cushions that absorb all the shocks, and above all prevent macarons from shaking  during transit.

    • Ice pack & bubble wrap

I've used ice packs for years in the bakery industry. Trust me when I say this: Ice packs are useless to ship macarons.

Macaron bar unboxing experience

An ice pack has a very limited lifetime. It stays cold about 6 hours when used the best way (with an insulated pouch). It makes no difference on a two day transit package.

Here at Macaron Bar, no insulated pouch. Only a thin bubble wrap layer that is designed for moving supplies.

They placed the ice pack directly in contact with the packaging carton box, and the macarons were wrapped with bubble wrap. Needless to say an ice pack in these conditions will last less than 3 hours. 

    • Two cards: Menu & Gift note

There were two cards included in the box: One gift card, and one menu card.

Macaron Bar unboxing experience

The menu card was too simple. The flavor color chart was hard to distinguish. Since there was no invoice or receipt including the macaron flavors I ordered, It was complicated to find which is what.

  • The macarons: First look

I will be brutally honest: Those macarons from Macaron Bar are the worst experience I've ever had. And I reviewed fair bakeries so far (check my macaron reviews).

Macarons by Macaron Bar review

The pictures say it all.

Remember, I purchased from Macaron Bar to give you my insights. My goal is to help you decide if this bakery is a good fit for you to use as a Macaron delivery service. Now this might be a specific and isolated issue with my order.

I will detail step by step everything that went wrong here.

The macarons were inside a plastic blister, which is the usual packaging for macarons.

Every single macaron is broken. None has survived transit. From a bakery that sells $39 this box shipped to my door, with experience since 2014, that is purely unacceptable.

To me it is inadmissible to send that to a paying customer.

There are multiple fatal errors here. We mentioned earlier the lack of shipping experience of the Macaron Bar. I believe it played its part in this mess.

Air cushions, or thicker bubble wrap would have improved transit. But that's not it: The macarons had issues as well.

Let's get a closer look at the macarons.

  • Macaron Bar: Closer look

Take a closer look at the macarons from Macaron Bar.

Macarons from Macaron Bar Cincinnati

There is an obvious quality issue that we will detail on the next topic. Here, we'll focus on why are those macarons are dry.

    • Dry macarons: Why?

The macarons from Macaron Bar I received were completely dry and broken.

To explain my point, do you know what is a macaron?

A macaron is a French pastry that were invented by Henri II chef in Paris, in the Sixteenth century. Catherine de Medicis brought the macaron shell recipe from Italy to France, when she married the French king.

Once in the king's palace, she shared this recipe with the chef. He then got the idea to put a filling between two shells: Macarons were born. This is why you find macarons everywhere in France, and absolutely nowhere in Italy.

A macaron is supposed to have a perfect balance of texture: Crunchy outside and chewy inside.

Now back to the review. The macarons I received were completely dry. It is because the macarons were not fresh.

Macarons from Macaron Bar: Full review

Most likely, the macarons were left for days (maybe weeks), either outside, or in a refrigerator or freezer. When left too long after baking and preparation, like every pastry, water will evaporate little by little, until the pastry is dry.

I still can't believe how an apparently experienced bakery can ship those to customers.

To me, it shows the lack of experience in shipping their products. Making macarons and sell them directly out of your store is one thing. Shipping fresh across the US is a another.

  • Macaron Bar: Quality test

Let's do a quality test of Macaron Bar. We'll check a few things: Texture, freshness, color, size, macarons feet and more.

At this moment of the review I like to cut every macaron flavor in half to best describe its quality.

Macaron bar quality test

    • Texture / Freshness

12 out of 12 macarons were broken. Needless to say the texture of these were not satisfying.

A good macaron texture is crunchy outside and chewy inside. This osmose is created by the smooth filling spreading into hard shells. This is the signature texture of a macaron.

These were crunchy all the way, not chewy. The texture at Macaron Bar was dry and hard, which is not the authentic macaron texture.

Macarons from Macaron Bar

Macarons dry out when the water contained in its filling evaporates.

Seeing the level of dryness, I would not recommend to eat these macarons. To fulfill this review to the end, I have to though.

    • Hollow macarons?

Do you know what are hollow macarons?

A macaron is hollow when there is air bubbles in its shells.

What causes hollow macaron shells?

This is a very common issue for bakers. A macaron shell becomes hollow at the piping step. When you pipe macaron batter on your silicon mold (or parchment paper), it is common that small air bubbles are trapped. If you bake the shells straight away, the air bubbles will stay forever and cause your macarons to be weak and break easily.

How to avoid hollow macarons?

After piping your batter, prior to baking, tap vigorously your pan sheet on the table. do it at least ten times. You'll see the air bubbles popping out of the batter, which is a sign of success! For full recipe tips, Learn how to make macarons with French chefs here.

Back to Macaron Bar review. See the picture below.

Hollow macarons by Macaron Bar

Those macarons were weak and hollow. The top of the shells are destroyed. Check for example the white macaron shell. The base of the shell is compact, and there is an air gap the top of the shell. This is characteristic of hollow macarons.

Shells are supposed to be compact and slightly wet to create that signature texture.

See below an example of what a weak macaron looks like. The "lid" of the macaron is simply disaggregated.

Vanilla macaron from Macaron Bar

Note that some of the macaron, in addition to be in pieces, were melted and "wet" in their center.

This is due to the quantity of butter used in some of their filling. Learn more about this in our previous macaron reviews.

    • Color and Roundness

Colors of these macarons were okay. The colors were slightly dull, probably due to a too long baking time in the oven.

Roundness was hard to tell because most of the macarons were broken. I'd say that the shells were round enough. I think Macaron Bar uses a Macaron Depositor.

This machine is well known by mass production bakery such as Dana's Bakery, or Mak-ka-rohn. The baker has to pour macaron batter into the depositor, and it will pipe perfectly round shape automatically.

Using a depositor is fine! I personally prefer to order macarons online from Artisan chefs that do everything by hand. It feels more authentic.

    • Macarons feet / Size

First, what does it mean for macarons to have feet?

See below a picture of one of our macaron at Pastreez. Macaron feet are the "ruffles" that you see between shell and filling. It is a proof of well baked macaron shells. It should be clean and unbroken.

Macarons feet explanation by Pastreez French chef

Even if it was hard to tell due to the conditions of Macaron Bar macarons, I was able to find its feet. See below.

Macarons feet from Macaron Bar

The feet were ok. Hollow macarons are usually too weak to get great feet.

  • Macaron Bar: Taste test

 This is the last step of my review. I will do a taste test of every macaron I received from Macaron Bar.

Even if every single macaron crumbled apart, I'll do my best to give you an insight on each flavor.

    • Red Velvet macaron

Red Velvet macaron from Macaron Bar

Taste was OK. The white filling seemed to be butter with white chocolate. This flavor was one of the "wet" one.

    • Salted Caramel macaron

Salted caramel macaron from macaron bar

The filling itself was OK. Sadly, it's hard to have a good experience with the level of dryness of these macarons.

    • Coconut macaron

Coconut macaron by Macaron Bar

This flavor tasted good. I could feel the coconut fruit in the filling.

    • Mimosa macaron

Mimosa macaron by Macaron Bar review

Flower macaron flavor is hard to get. Like Rose, it has a very slight taste that requires a lot of finesse in your recipe.

Here, I could only feel the butter. The proportion of Mimosa extract and butter was off.

    • Earl Grey macaron

Earl grey tea macaron by Macaron Bar review

This macaron flavor was sadly inedible. It crumbled apart and was too dry.

    • Lemon Lavender macaron

What I like about lemon flavor is that you can’t really go wrong about it. It has such a powerful taste, that it usually pops in your month.

Here, the taste was slight and not too strong, and I could feel the lavender side as well. Even if the shells were crumbling apart, It was an OK flavor.

    • Madagascar Vanilla macaron

Madagascar vanilla macaron by Macaron Bar Review

I have lived really close to Madagascar a while ago, on a French Island called Réunion. I'm really picky when it comes to Vanilla flavors.

I could feel the vanilla here, but I wouldn’t call this macaron « Madagascar Vanilla ». Madagascar Vanilla has Vanilla brown "beans" that you should find in this filling.

I do not feel the authenticity of the Vanilla we can find out there, and again the butter is overwhelming.

    • Birthday Cake macaron

Inedible. Crumbled apart and dry.

    • Black Raspberry Chocolate macaron

Black raspberry chocolate macaron by Macaron Bar review

It was a pleasant surprise. This flavor was new to me and I like the balance between dark chocolate and Raspberry.

    • Coffee macaron

Coffee macaron from Macaron Bar review

While I could taste the coffee part, it was dry and crumbled apart. I couldn’t really do a taste test.

    • Dark Chocolate macaron

Dark chocolate macaron from Macaron Bar review

Sadly this macaron flavor was also inedible. It crumbled apart and was too dry.

    • Pistachio macaron

Pistachio macaron from Macaron Bar review

Pistachio macarons fans would not like this one. I don’t feel real pistachio paste was used, too buttery.

  • My conclusion

Maybe it was my specific order, but the experience with Macaron Bar was very disappointing.

This bakery was created in 2014 in Ohio. With four stores in this State, I was expecting better macaron quality, taste, and shipping experience.

The macarons were of poor quality, completely broken, dry and not fresh.

While ordering for pick up might give you a different outcome, I would not recommend you to order macarons online from Macaron Bar.

We have an offer today at Pastreez: Get 7 macarons Free on any order over $42. Don't wait!


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