LetterPress

Based in Los Angeles and founded in 2014, LetterPress makes a wide range of single-origin bars. If you are in the Los Angeles area, make sure you visit their factory and store at 2835 S Robertson Blvd. Shop their full range of bars, try their homemade ice cream and hot chocolate, and take a factory tour.

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Ucayali Peru 70%

 

Aroma: spices, toasted nuts, graham crackers, whole grains, a slight green note like fresh grains

 

Flavor: Very smooth. Toasted grain/slightly green fresh grain, chocolate covered cherry, chocolate-covered raisin, yogurt, maple syrup, dried apricots, crème fraîche, fudge brownie with a hint of caramel, a little bit nutty. Very little acidity , bitterness, or astringency.

 

Recommendation: Recommended. It’s a lovely delicate flavor and. Unique origin to try. However, for the price point ($16), there are other bars I would choose instead – the Peru bars from Stonegrindz or Fruition.

 

Batch info: Batch 45; Best by October 2021

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São Tomé Satoco 70%

 

Aroma: Honey, raisin, toasted nuts, roasted peanut shells

 

Flavor: Toasted nuts, butter, fudgy texture, fruity, toast, slight astringency like peanut skins or cranberries. These flavors give way to soft fruitiness – ripe banana, strawberry fresh orange juice, peach,

grape. Finishes with a creamy sweetness like cherimoya and a slight dryness.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended – this is the best São Tomé bar I have had. I’ve tried others from several different makers that had moldy, musty flavors.

 

Batch info: Batch no. 0023; Best by October 2021

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Ecuador Costa Esmeraldas 70%

 

Aroma: Very toasty, a little grassiness, slight sourness, graham crackers

 

Flavor: cooked milk, toasted peanut skins, Keebler elf cookies, roasted peanuts, fruity sweetness – grape jelly, creamy, a richness combined with a slight grassiness like good olive oil. Caramel sweetness on the finish.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended. Rich, distinct, and unique. This would be a great addition to any Ecuador tasting flight as the style is different from most other Ecuador bars – more warm toasty notes are brought out.

 

Batch info: Batch no. 0120; Best by January 2022.

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Belize Maya Mountain Cacao 70%

 

Aroma: cocoa mulch, slight earthiness, fruit leather, fig cookies

 

Flavor: peanuts, sunflower seeds, some slight grassy flavors (could be from the sugar?), little bursts of bright fruity acidity, but they don’t dominate, a slight starchiness like powdered sugar, a little bit of some delicate nutty criollo-type flavors

 

Recommendation: Recommended, a pleasant bar. However, Dick Taylor’s Belize Maya Mountain bar tends to have more intense, vibrant flavors.

Batch info: Batch no. 0127; Jul 2021

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Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 70%

Aroma: dried cherry, wood, soft earthiness, slight starchiness, hint of cinnamon, leather, coffee

 

Flavor: bright red fruit emerges in the middle and fades to a soft dusty earthiness. Some tanginess, caramel notes, raisin/port, slight bitterness. Chocolate covered cherry. Wood. Some green flavors. full flavor that develops, rich chocolate and fruitiness: Orange rind, raspberry, lemon. Really nice. Some green, very slight bite. Nice lingering flavors.

 

Recommendation: Highly recommended.

Batch info: Batch no. 0087, Best by April 2021

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Costa Rica Hacienda Azul 70%

Aroma: earth, cocoa, a slight metallic tang, prune, cedar, biscuit/waffle

 

Flavor: Some green nut and seed flavors first - sunflower seeds, unroasted peanut - then goes to raisins, cocoa powder, and slightly tangy red fruit, peach and hazelnut, then nut and seed flavors come back in at the end.

 

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. It has a lovely smooth texture with a nice melt, distinct flavor development, and some pleasant notes. There are some slightly unpleasant bitter and vegetal flavors but not excessively so. This is actually a good bar, and the only one I have tried from Costa Rica, whose chocolate industry was devastated by fungal disease in the 1970's and is still recovering. It's just not great and I would hesitate to recommend this over other excellent bars.

 

Batch info: Batch no. 0001, Best by December 2020

Second Tasting

Aroma: caramel

 

Flavor: toasted grain, flax seeds, toasted oat cereal, shredded wheat, brownie, cocoa powder, soft red fruit flavors, a little bit of walnut richness and a slight dryness like walnut skin.

 

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. This is a pleasant bar, and probably one of the best examples of Costa Rican cacao. However, Costa Rica is not currently known for producing excellent cacao, and I find the flavor a bit lacking.

 

Batch info: Batch 0005; Best by January 2022