Ecuador Microlot La Buceta

Origin: Ecuador

Region: La Buceta

Type: Let's just call it Trinatario.  To quote from the supplier, Agroarriba "Hundreds of Fine Flavor Clones including EET 19, 62, 103,544, 558, 575, 576)

 

Year: 2015

I think this is a good time to mention something about bitterness and astringency.  It seems like many things they have become demonized in the world of chocolate.  Something to be avoided and eliminated at all costs.  I will agree that you don't want a chooclate that is too bitter or too astringent, but the very key word here is 'too'.  You don't generally want an extreme.  But I content that it is perfectly acceptable to want some bitterness and/or astringency in your chocolate.   It gives a counter point to the fruit and the sweet.  It's all about balance.  If you look at the spider graph, you will note the predominate flavors are acidity, bitterness and astringency.  But look at the levels!  2-2.5 out of 5.  Still quite low and when taken with the higher floral level, you end up with a realatively mild chocolate weighted toward the refreshingly bitter....like a crisp IPA or Indian curry.  Just something to keep in mind.

With that, the roasting aromas are rather mild with only a hint of chocolate coming off at the end.  The chocolate’s aroma is tangy (a nice way to say softly acidic in a nice way) in the way of mace and cinnamon.  It sets you up for a slightly more bitter profile, which is indeed present, but is layered with solid chocolate, cashews and sorghum sweetness.  There is a touch of astringency, but by no way in a bad way, like a fine dry toasted Indian masala mix.  Drying cinnamon is the final impression as the flavors linger in your mouth.

 

 

This farm is unique to Ecuador located two hours to the south of Guayaquil on the border of Guayas and El Oro provinces.  Imagine stepping into a living library of cocoa varietals from all over the country.  La Buceta was established in the late 1950’s by Ecuadorian Agronomists looking to study the genetic diversity that exists throughout the country.  The diversity has been persevered over the years and provides a blend that features dried fruit and hints of floral flavors.

The closely managed quality control really shows through with a very consistent bean that is a pleasure to work with.

Given the very diverse set of cultivar strains in this particular lot, I'm going to recommend a moderate roast level.  Heavy enough to keep the astringecy at bay, but no so dark as to burn away the floral notes and shift the balance of the chocolate too far to the challenging side.  I would lean toward a slightly gentle treatment of the bean.  P3-P5 on the Behmor, to 16-17 minutes.  A little darker if it suits your fancy. 

For drum roasting, that means keeping the ambient temperature between 300-325 and a 265 F surface temperature at the end of the roast.