Origin: Belize - Moho Valley - Maya Mountain
Certs: Organic and Direct Trade and Sustainably sourced
This year's crop is a missing the bright fruits. Gone are the blueberry and blackberry, replaced by dried cherry and fig.
Just smooth, silky chocolate. While roasting there is toasted cashew nuts, soft graham cracker and a lovely dried cherry. Once in chocolate form (80% for my tests) there is a huge dried cherry and floral component. There is sweet dried fig note that moves to dried cherry and raisin the farther you take the degree of roast. There is gentle tobacco and full grain leather and a solid chocolate laced all throughout with a utterly lovely dense creamy mouth feel.
Rounding it out is a moderate mineral quality and lime pith astringency that lends depth to the whole profile.
I'm really glad to have this bean back. I've frankly coveted the cocoa from this region for many years. It used to be solely the bailiwick of Green and Black, but actually getting more than just lovely samples from them proved impossible. This is a great collaboration between Cotton Tree Lodge and Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC), the former housing the fermenting and drying beds (which I've watched grow, changed and mature over the years) for the later. This is direct from MMC, and sums it up great.
"Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) sources premium cacao (cocoa beans) from smallholder Belizean farmers for makers of fine chocolate products. Our model creates an exceptionally high-quality cocoa bean and a growing source of income for farmers, while contributing to reforestation efforts and promoting sustainable organic agricultural practices in southern Belize."
Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about when I speak of Direct trade and Sustainable sourcing. Moving onto the beans and the great chocolate it can produce.
Finally, I have found this bean accepts a pretty wide roasting curve. Light, medium or heavy, the flavor changes, but just does not go bad. Go for it, have fun, and enjoy - that's what this journey is all about anyway.
In this particular case I kept the EOR lower to bring out some balancing brightness but kept the Finishing phase long (5 minutes) so that there was full heat penetration to the core of the bean so astrigency is kept in check. The profile curve associated with the spider chart is 12.5/2.5/5 @ 248 F.