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.
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
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
9th & Larkin
Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 72%
Aroma: dusty, dried red fruit
Flavor: Classic Tanzanian flavors of red fruit with a light earthiness. Rich chocolate, chocolate covered cherry, slightly sandy texture, earthy, slight grassiness, malted and roasted flavors like dark beer. Nice tanginess with some creamy flavors that come in near the end. Little bitterness or astringency. Overall very satisfying.
Recommendation: Recommended. Good but more expensive than similar quality bars.