Not Recommended

We hate giving anything other than glowing reviews for craft chocolate, since it represents the hard work of many people. However, not being honest about the quality of the chocolate does a disservice to potential customers, and ultimately, to everyone, since buying poor quality chocolate will make many people hesitate to spend money on it again. This list is not intended to offend or hurt anyone, just to provide clear information on bars that could be improved and for consumers, may not be worth purchasing.

Colombia 70%

Aroma: Faint


Flavor: Flat and astringent


Recommendation: Don’t buy. Virtually no depth or complexity and some unpleasant astringency. The one caveat is that there was some bloom, which effects flavor. However, I doubt it would be sufficient to alter the flavor of an excellent chocolate to this extent, so the recommendation still stands.


Batch info: Lot 54421, sell by February 8, 2020

Venezuela Sur del Lago 80%


Aroma: roasted dried fruit, a little burnt


Flavor: Little complexity, dusty, starchy, brownie, faint dried fruit but hidden by some burnt flavors


Recommendation: Don’t buy. The quality is on par with mass market dark chocolate, which you can buy for a third of the price. If you are going to spend $9 on a bar, buy a better one.


Batch info: Best before April 30, 2020

Venezuela Amazonas 75%


Aroma: flat


Flavor: some rich classic chocolate notes like Ghana, very faint raspberry, a lot of bitterness, some starchiness.


Recommendation: Don’t buy. The quality is on par with mass market dark chocolate, which you can buy for a third of the price. If you are going to spend $9 on a bar, buy a better one.

Batch info: April 30, 2020

24 Blackbirds
Palos Blancos Bolivia 75%


Aroma: graham flour, spelt


Flavor: Smarties candy, powdered sugar, starch, raisins.


Recommendation: Not Recommended. No flavor defects, but very little intensity, complexity, or richness. Overall, flat. This is a little outside of the best by date, so I hesitated to say that, but I was not impressed with the Madagascar bar either, which was well within the best by date.


Batch info: Lot 522, Best by May 2020

24 Blackbirds
Madagascar 75%


Aroma: sweet


Flavor: smarties candy, powdered sugar - a slight grassy mineral flavor, molasses, graham crackers, spelt, tamarind, a slight fruitiness.


Recommendation: Not recommended. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s a poor example of the intense tangy, fruity flavors of Madagascar cacao. This bar is a bit flat, with more grain notes and grassy/mineral flavors probably contributed by the sugar.


Batch info: Lot #564; Best by October 2020

Claudio Corallo
Terreiro Velho Planation, São Tomé and Príncipe 75%

After everything we’d read about Claudio Corallo, we were super excited to taste his chocolate.  Unfortunately, the experience was pretty disappointing. The aroma is reminiscent of tire rubber and erasers, with flavors like erasers and stale chocolate cookies and is essentially inedible. Definitely do not recommend.

Batch info: Lot no. 167; Best before September 2021

Calinan, Davao, Philippines 72%


Aroma: dusty, crackers, flour


Flavor: Bland with a slight mold/mushroom flavor that permeate the bar.


Recommendation: Not recommended. The mold defect pretty much ruins it, and there was little flavor to begin with.

Batch info: 19P205P64; Best by November 13, 2020

Venezuela 100%


Aroma: a little sour, like a hoppy beer


Flavor: a nearly burned flavor that tastes like mass market dark chocolate - homogenized and lacking in distictive flavors and complexity.


Recommendation: Not recommended. Not terrible – it actually made a nice drinking chocolate - but there is little distinctiveness compared to some other 100% bars, and the flavor is homogenized and burned. I would recommend Goodnow Farms, Cacao Hunters, Pralus, or Akesson’s over this.

20/20 Chocolate
Venezuela Trincheras 70%


Aroma: Mushrooms, earthy, mold


Flavor: mold defect, some creaminess, some delicate nutty flavors overshadowed by mold and slight astringency


Recommendation: Not recommended. Unfortunately, the mold defect dominates the flavor profile and renders this bar inedible. You can tell that the beans probably had potential – there is a mellow nuttiness that peeks through. I’d like to try another batch to see if this was a one-off, but frankly I’m surprised they would sell something with such a major defect.


Batch info: None listed.

Amazing Cacao

St. Petersburg, Russia

Peru Tocache 75%


Aroma: tannic, dusty, minerals


Flavor: A bit astringent. Underdeveloped, little complexity. Soft cinnamon notes and some slight acidity and fruitiness but the astringency detracts significantly.


Recommendation: Not recommended. While it is somewhat typical of the cinnamon/green astringent flavors that you sometimes find in Peruvian cacao this is not a good example. There was maybe potential to bring out tangy and fruity notes in these beans, but the overall taste experience is unpleasant and there are much better Peru bars available.


Batch info: Produced January 10, 2019; expires January 10, 2020

Tasted: November 2019