Origin: Ivory Coast
Certifications: Fair Trade
Hopefully you know me well enough by now that you know I don’t put a lot of stock into names and labels. That said, this origin (the Ivory Coast of Africa) has quite the infamous reputation and it is only origin I have refused to even taste or consider until I could verify the conditions of the works, hence the Fair Trade designation.
Give this a try. It is only the 2nd time I've offered this, but as always, it isn’t about just the label (nor ever about just the label – organic, FT, Criollo) it’s about how the beans taste the heady chocolate they will allow you to make. This really shows just how nice Forastero can be.
As for the cocoa itself, there is a second component to the Ivory Coast’s reputation – they produce some rather nice cocoa. It is a fully fermented Forastero. The preparation is a little uneven from a sorting perspective. There are a few flats and broken beans, but nothing that really makes it difficult to work with. The fermentation is quite even with not a hint of purple in the nibs. The aroma – chocolate, dark spice (pepper?) and roasting bread. And are you ready for this one – lilac. Perfume. There is virtually no astringency which is quite a surprise. There is also soft pumpkin pie spices in there. Cinnamon, nutneg and allspice floating and twirling together. The acid balance is right on – not really fruity (but flowery from the lilac), but there nonetheless. It has hints of light biscuit (that baking bread smell), a little black pepper (odd, but after two days tasting it, that is what comes to mind) and of course the rather characteristic and “classic” earthy chocolate flavor.
This is also a good beginner bean. I like this best roasted a little heavier than I do some beans, so don’t be afraid to let it pop. It’s fine lighter also, but it develops a nice depth of flavor “darker”. That means an extra 5 minutes and 25 F hotter in an oven. 300-310 F for a drum roaster or a good full 18-19 minutes on any of the Behmor profiles.