Mexican Lavados (washed / unfermented) Soconusco 2021

Origin: Mexico

Region: Soconusco (Chiapas)

Type: Criollo/Trinatario

Certs: Direct Trade

Crop: 2021

Fermentation: None, washed raw cocoa

Flavor Notes:

I'm going to start with a quote from the grower.

"Due to the rainy weather and cold climate, cocoa fermentation is an impossible task.
However, farmers “wash” cacao according to the Mexican tradition. And as washed cacao the bean shines in drinking chocolate with its strong and herbal flavor notes. "

There are a few things to unpack here.  First and foremost, this cocoa is not fermented and because of that, it is particularly unsuited for classic eating chocolate.  I'm not going to bother with my classic spider chart as it will show 11s (and it only goes to 5) for extreme bitterness and astringency, plus other really funky notes like green banana skin and citrus pith with undertones of sour stone fruit.  So why am I offering it?

Basically because I think it makes a superior drinking chocolate and component to coffee based mochas.  This unfermented and raw cocoa is absolutely great for drinking chocolate.  I'm not meaning Brewing cocoa nor am I meaning sipping chocolate that is little more than melting chocolate in a cup.  I'm meaning something you would mix with water or milk and as little or as much sugar as you would like.

 Compared to the Oaxacan and Tecpatán Lavados, this one is slightly bolder in flavor and has more classic chocolate aroma and flavor.  It is slightly more bitter, but keep in mind, in the realm of drinking chocolate, that isn't the negative that it normally would be.  I'm not going to get deep into normal and relatively detailed tasting notes as it just really isn't all that pertinent in a drinking chocolate. 

I recommend making a 50-60% chocolate with it as you normally would.  For drinks, grate up about 1-2 oz per cup of liquid and mix it until well incorporated.  I personally like using my espresso machine to steam it together but just doing it on the stove top or pouring boiling water or hot milk over it and then whisking will do just fine.

We work with cacao lavado from the village of Rayen Coop. Rayen sources limited amounts of high-quality and clean lavado cacao from nearby individual farmers (non-members). Cacao lavado here is grown at sea level, the low altitude and the criollo component of the cacao give us a lavado with lower bitterness and astringency. Woody and citrus flavors are predominant. Soconusco lavado is highly valued in Oaxaca to make Oaxacan moles and drinking chocolate.

Cacao lavado is the traditional way of processing cacao in Mexico. The pods are broken after harvest and the “wet” beans are washed in order to remove the mucilage manually. Some farmers let the wet beans rest in baskets or wooden boxes for one day to let some of the water drain. The beans are then sun dried. No fermentation process takes place, so this cacao is technically “raw” as the fermentation rate is 0%. Farmers usually wash and dry cacao on their own. Astringency, bitterness and acidity are higher than in the case of fermented cacao and the overall flavor profile is less complex, but due to the fact that cacao lavado is demanded for the production of Mexican-style
drinking chocolate discs or mole sauces, cacao lavado is fit for purpose. The production of cacao lavado is decentralized, each farmer is in charge of “washing” his or her own cacao at the farm. Washing cacao is a distinctive Mexican tradition. In all other cacao producing countries, the beans are fermented to a higher or lesser degree.


The thing about unfermented cocoa is that it hardly cares or is affected by roasting profiles.  Don't worry about profiles, just apply heat until you get to an EOR temperature of 255-265 F.  It is really no more complicated than that.

If you are roasting blind in the Behmor, P1 loaded with 2 lb going to 18 minutes will be just fine.  It isn't like you can make it extra bitter or astringent.  If you are doing 1 kg, go on to 20 minutes and 2.5 you'll probably need another couple after that.