Origin: Bolivia - Alto Beni
Certifications: Organic/Fair Trade
This particular cocoa has a nice mild but definite chocolate flavor. There is black and red plum in the nose. The plum backs off in the flavor, although it is still present as a soft, full mouth feel. You then have layers of dark caramel, more soft, delicate fruits, a certain savory butteriness and a great chocolate backbone lacing it together all throughout. Hints of cinnamon and allspice and the tiniest amount of black pepper linger. There is very little bitterness or astringency to speak of. There is a clean grounding earthiness and just the slightest tartness (hardly worth calling acidity) to keep the flavor from being flabby. Overall a well rounded and balanced...dare I say....approachable chocolate.
I am finding that one of the hall marks of Bolivia is that it is consistently good, but also consistently different from year to year. This crop is no exception. What jumps out at you with this batch is the large variation of bean sizes. First and foremost I don't recommend sorting this for size. Just enjoy them as is. It's part of the allure and fun. The larger beans seem to lend a drier, earthy profile. The medium beans solid chcolate and the tiny ones are just bursting with nutty flavors.
The results are what you might expect. Complexity.
As with many beans with Criollo stock, this cocoa will not blow you away with huge flavors but there is layer after layer to discover.
Due to the large distribution of beans sizes, you are going to want to take it easy on this crop in regards to the aggressiveness of your roasting. Meaning stretch it out. You want to both make sure the smaller beans are not over roasted and the larger beans are not under roasted. On the Behmor 1600 that means P3-P5 most of the time. Or 25 F cooler than you normally might roast in your over, but 5 minutes longer. Think the tortoise. Slow and easy wins the race.
Is P1 or P2 going to ruin the roast? No. The Behmor controls the temperature very well. Loading 2 lbs in, it is virtually impossible to over roast but do take it an extra 2-3 minutes once you hear some cracks.