Nigeria Akwa Ibom - Direct Trade - 2017

Origin: Nigeria

Region: Akwa Ibom

Type: Forastero

Year: 2017

Certificates: Direct Trade

Flavor Notes:

The chocolate starts off smelling of cinnamon and damson plums. I'm not sure I have tasted a chocolate with more clear chocolate flavor. This is the flavor you grew up with (but better!).

The overall impression is super sweet toffee, cinnamon and baked fruits.  Fruitcake even.  There is a clean bitterness of browned (not brown) sugar that offsets the sweetness with near perfection. The acidity is a middle level malic, soft yet present.  Astringency is muted, giving just enough body to round out the flavor.  And speaking of flavors, the first time I sampled this there was the unmistakable flavor roasted peanuts (no, no real peanuts).  The aftertaste was like a Resse's cup.  This time is it a little lighter in the nut but it is still there.

I think Chibueze Chima, head of the Chima Group, and who I have spoke with a great deal in the last many months, says it best.

 

"In the 1960s before Nigeria gained her independence, our family farms in the southeast of Nigeria (Akwa Ibom) have produced beans of wondrous quality.  Our family, The Chima Group, harvest the ripe cocoa pods by hand, ferment the beans between banana leaves right on the forest floor, and then dry the beans in the warm African sun. 

 "I became fully involved after I graduated from the University of Nigeria (located in the southeast of Nigeria) in 2006 as a graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture. With my knowledge of soil science we became one of the leading distributors of cocoa beans locally. 

 

"Our beans  flourish because it is located no  more than 20 degrees North or South of the equator. The trees respond well in regions with high temperature and distributed rainfall. Our cocoa is grown from seedlings which are raised in nurseries, when the seedlings reach a height of 3 cm they are transplanted at a distance of 3 to 4 meters. 

 "Our farmers are well trained and highly educated on the harvesting and cultivation of cocoa beans. We on average have about 15-20 farmers, none of which are under the age of 18 subjected to child labor.

 We have 50 hectares of farm lands (with a plan to expand to 100 hectares in the next few years) between the boarder of Nigeria and Cameroon. Our family partners with other farmers in Cameron and Ghana to enhance cultivation and production of our cocoa beans."

You can take this probably as heavy or light as you want.  The huge chocolate flavor will benefit from a fast, hot roast but will still develop (to a lesser degree) with a more gentle roast.  You will get those toffee flavors and dried fruits as the EOR pushes into the 260s.  Light will just moderate those flavors.  Given how well this bean is fermented I think you could easily take it pretty light and still have a wonderful chocolate. 

In the mean time, 2.5 lbs for 20 minutes in the Behmor on P1 does a great job.

In a drum roaster that is going to correspond to a bean temperature of 265-270 F over 20 minutes or so.

In the over, follow my standard roasting profiles but add on 25 F to each of the temperatures feel free to draw out the end.  You are going to be hard pressed to over roast this in a home oven if you follow the basics.

The profile that I used for my test batch was 10:30/12:45/17:30 @ 265 F.