El Buen Cacao

Based in Idyllwild, California, El Buen Cacao is the creation of a husband-and-wife team of archeaologists-turned chocolate makers. They source beans from all over the world including highly sought-after origins such as Belize's Maya Mountain Co-op, Madagascar's Sambirano Valley, and Tabasco, Mexico.

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Madagascar Sambirano Valley 70%

 

Flavor: Classic Madagascar flavors: bright acidity - Meyer lemon, dried cherries, with a lovely buttery richness as well. A creamy tanginess that reminds me of cacao pulp or cherimoya. Hard snap and a smooth melt.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended. A wonderful mix of creamy and tangy flavors.

 

Batch info: None given. Received and tasted May 2020

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Belize Maya Mountain 70%

 

Flavor: Sweet, juicy red fruit flavors dominate this bar. It has a great tanginess - almost like SweeTarts candy or fruit snacks! While the fruit flavors dominate, it is satisfyingly complex and rich, with a slight creaminess. Lovely texture - very thick, almost chewy with just a slight sandiness.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended. An absolutely lovely expression of Maya Mountain’s fabulous beans.

 

Batch info: None given. Received and tasted May 2020

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Brazil Catongo 70%

 

Flavor: Starts off with earthy, slight dusty notes. Some smoked/dried mushroom notes emerge as it melts, along with some fruity tanginess: cherries, raspberry, and green apple. There is some astringency and a slight starchiness. Soft snap and slightly crumbly texture. Striking reddish color, characteristic of the unique lighter-colored cacao from this region.

 

Recommendation: Recommended. This is a great "wild card" addition to the tasting line-up: it's distinct and unusual, and gives you a sense of the range of possible flavors in cacao!

 

Batch info: None given. Received and tasted May 2020

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Mexico Tabasco 100%

 

Flavor: Very mellow and approachable for a 100% - excellent! Toasted almonds, caramel, wood, dried cherry.  

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended. I think one of the key signs of a good chocolate maker is their ability to create a good 100%, a feat that requires excellent beans, roasting, and refining because there is no way to disguise any defects. El Buen Cacao has certainly accomplished this!

 

Batch info: None given. Received and tasted May 2020