Venezuelan Ocumare - 2016

Origin: Venezuela

Type: Criollo

Certifications: Ethically and Sustainably Sourced

Year: 2016

Flavor Notes:

What you'll get is a medium fruited chocolate with good chocolate flavor. There are sweet alfalfa and caramel aromas while roasting. The chocolate itself has a delicate brightness and nuttiness. After that, there are some savory aromas. Overlaid on all of that is a soft tartness (not really acidity) of raisin and dried cranberry.

Chocolate Alchemy has worked with Tisano who is on the ground in Venezuela, working side by side with the farmers. Since Chocolate Alchemy is not actually there, Direct trade is not quite the right term, and since these are farm purchased, not co-op, they are not eligible for Fair Trade status.

But to my tastes, it is like the Ocumare of years ago, and no wonder, given it is from the farmers that gave it its reputation.

As usual the 'break' of the nib you will see it is very light. The lighter that break, the GENERAL trend there is to more Criollo. Forastero is rather dark, often purple or deep brown. A good solid, middle of the road Trinatario (think Dominican Republic or Panama) are a mid to dark brown. A cocoa bean with heavier Criollo in its breeding will be a lighter brown, and real Criollo (especially Porcelano) can be down right pale brown with the finished chocolate looking almost like milk chocolate.

The oven roasting profile I have previously given for Ocumare works well here.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Put a pound of beans into a heavy corning ware type container, about an inch deep. Put them in for 10 minutes, stirring at 5 minutes (and every 5 minutes after this). At 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 and roast another 10 minutes. Pull out a handful of beans for comparison. Turn off the oven and let the remaining beans set/roast for a final 10 minutes in the cooling oven. Remove them and let them cool. This should give you a nice light roasted bean. Compare the two sets and see what you think and adjust your roasting from there.