A cocoa bean quite like this is what started me down the path to Chocolate Alchemy. In particular, the first fresh real chocolate that I ever had (and describe in my first entry almost 4 years ago) was some Mexican Tabasco. I have often talked about that almost indescribable flavor of fresh chocolate. This shows that off so well. Umami is it. In my tasting notes I have these strange (when applied to cocoa) flavors listed of savory, meaty, mouthwatering and the like. They are all true, but also don’t convey what I am really tasting. In the raw state (yes, I taste all the beans raw, even if I prefer them roasted – it’s hard to hide must and mildew in a raw bean) there is a very pleasant earthy aroma, with very little astringency. They are a bit tangy, but not overwhelming, and completely expected as it is raw. I was surprised that there are actually some hints of chocolate in the raw bean, and that same Umami.
The bean is quite dry and upon first inspection you might think it is roasted. It isn’t. They are just very dry. Because of that, you might be tempted to roast them a little light. They are ok that way, but the flavor doesn’t develop quite as well without a full roasting. On the same note though, I would not recommend roasting this one until it snaps. You start to lose some of the more delicate notes. The roasted flavor again is rich and savory, but more so. There are also some tanginess (like a tart fruit) that I can’t place, but not overpowering like the Madagascar. I really like eating this one as a snack, and think it would go well even raw for those inclined. The astringency goes away upon roasting and there is no bitterness to speak of. The husk on this one is quite light and even before roasting I found that a large portion of the beans could be peeled by hand. The beans are a little smaller than average (110-120 beans/100 grams) but coupled with the thin husk and the quite light appearance of the nibs (called light break), I would guess there is a goodly amount of Criollo in this ones history (and as always, I don’t like throwing that term around – no claims of pure Criollo are going on here – I just want to give a point of reference).