Certifications: Ethically and Sustainably Traded
I'm pleased to have this of this Venezuelan origin back again. The last time was 2013. The work on the ground is showing in an improved preparation and fermentation.
There is a lovely chocolate backbone here. Not huge, but present. Often people are disappointed when they first taste Criollo stock. They have their expectations so high that the subtle, delicate flavors are a let down. So keep that in mind.
There is a delicate scent of gardenia in the chocolate's aroma. The flavor is certainly chocolate and has a delightedly clean bitterness. Not off putting in the least to my tastes. It reminds me of a nice floral hop in a crisp pale ale. The lack of astringency makes a significantly more approachable the might otherwise be the case. It also has lightly toasted brazil nut, a touch of strawberry and malic acid highlights. All in all, a great refreshing summer chocolate.
Ethically and Sustainably traded. I am planning on using that phrase a bit more. 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.
These are from a former Slave village - the slaves ran away from the surrounding haciendas and hid in the mountains and started a little town called 'Pas Tenemos' - We have Peace, which over time turned to Patanemo. A great Criollo pale white beans with specks of pink. Tisano is working with the co-op there doing centralized collections, fermentation and drying.
"Patanemo" is the older name for the coastal region of Puerto Cabello, which from what I gather is a real hot spot for surfing. How that relates to cocoa I'm not really sure, but it seemed like a nice piece of information. These beans are actually from a set of valleys a little inland and this isolation is what I suspect contributes significantly to the special nature of this bean. Namely, it's very strong Criollo character and lineage. It has the very classic light break associate with many Criollo stocks.
If this is new to you, I can tell you is that if you compare the 'break' of the nib you will see it is reasonably 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. This lot of has a light break, paper thin husk, and the delicate notes one should associate with Criollo.
Aside from that, if that were not enough, the preparation is near perfect. A full, but not over full fermentation. Very nice flavor development. A paper thin husk that separates easily. A real joy to work with.
Patanemo Criollo really does not require a deep roasting to bring out the flavor, and you may lose some of the delicate highlight if roasted too far. But you do want to make sure to give it enough time in the development phase to bring out the chocolate that is ithere.
In a drum roaster, I found 10/3/4 @ 250 F a fine profile.
On the Behmor, P2 for 20 minutes does an admirable job.
The oven roasting profile I have found to work is about 25 F cooler than most.
Pre-heat your oven to 325 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.