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Recent Bars We Liked

Some notable bars we tried recently from makers we've tried before!



Mexico Soconusco 70%

Flavor: Lots of fruit with delicate floral notes: grapes, pear, cherimoya, peach, golden raisin, but light. Mellow roasted/dark notes: chocolate milk, brown sugar, cappuccino.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. One of those rare bars where new favors keep appearing for a long time as you taste it. Reminiscent of the fantastic Tabasco 66% bar I had from Map a few years ago. An excellent example of these beans; really well handled to bring out the nuances.




Pataxte 65% (Jaguar Cacao) (Limited Edition)

Theobroma bicolor, commonly known as pataxte or jaguar cacao among other names, is a close relative of Theobroma cacao, the tree from which we obtain cacao to make into chocolate. Like cacao, pataxte can be processed to make bars that offer a similar texture but a totally different flavor than chocolate.


Aroma: roasted soybean, hint of astringency, not at all like chocolate, a little herbal, thyme


Flavor:  super smooth texture, pleasant, peanut butter, soybean butter, not very sweet despite being 65%; tahini, roasted soy bean powder, lime zest, hint of something herbal/citrusy, wintergreen, herbal, tahini cookies, toasted oat cereal, incredibly smooth and rich.


Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. Some of us loved it, some of us did not care for the distinct flavor. I’d say it’s a must-try for any die-hard craft chocolate fans or if you particularly love roasted soy/tahini flavors. Otherwise, it’s pretty pricey (though reasonable for this unique product) at around $29.



Costa Rica Upala 85%

Flavor: Complex, intense, well-balanced, and satisfying, with notes of red wine, whole grains, brownie, toasted almond, with a savory overtone and a little bit of red fruit as it melts. There is some noticeable dryness and bitterness, but not excessive for 85%.

Recommendation: Recommended. This was a really well-done bar, produced in a way that highlighted the best of typical Costa Rica flavors. While some of my favorite cacao comes from nearby Central American countries – Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala –I don’t generally care for Costa Rican cacao, after tasting many bars by many makers. This bar from Potomac is an exception to that. Good, and definitely worth a try! I also love high percentage bars, but they’re not always done well – this one is!

Sadly, Costa Rica’s cacao industry was devastated by frosty pod rod (monilia) in the late 70’s and 80’s, drastically reducing their production, and it has still not recovered. Though it’s not my favorite origin, there are some unique varieties, and farms that produce high-quality cacao. Try this bar for yourself and see what you think! I also recommend Potomac’s Uganda, Colombia, and Oat Milk bars.



Madagascar Criollo 75%

Flavor: Pretty tangy, quite sweet. Lots of bright tropical fruit – fruit punch, passion fruit, verging on sour. Citric acid. Some very faint earthy savory notes as well – like a flavorful mushroom, not like mold – that add some interest and complexity.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Typically criollo tends to be a little bit more nutty and mellow, so this is interesting. Bertil Åkesson has his own estate in Madagascar which produces excellent cacao used by many other makers.


French Broad

India 71%

Flavor: Bold flavor. very ripe fruit, banana bread, intense acidity with a back of the throat bite, slight sweet starchiness like powdered sugar or smarties candy. With the super ripe fruit flavor, 71% actually ends up almost too sweet. A pleasant finish with notes of lemon and cream.


Recommendation: Recommended. I like how intense the flavor is – it really rushes into your mouth. The intensity extends to the acidity and very ripe fruity flavors that are almost too dominating, but ultimately make for a bold, unique bar.


Batch info: Batch no. 1153; Best by October 2022



Wild Bolivia 70%

Aroma: dried fig, dates, sorghum molasses


Flavor: Unique delicate floral flavor with notes of elderflower, pear juice, and vanilla sweetness like handmade vanilla marshmallow.

Recommendation: Highly recommended. This is a really lovely bar highlighting a hard-to-find flavor profile that I’ve only experienced in this origin and one other bar, the Rio Juruá 70% from Luisa Abrams (also wild cacao!). I absolutely recommend this bar and Stonegrindz as a whole.

Batch info: Best by March 3, 2022



Wild Forest Bolivia 74%

Aroma: grapes, raisins, wine, wood,


Flavor:  nutty, very rich, macadamia nuts, cocoa butter, heavy cream. A baked chocolate note like chocolate wafer cookies; a slight grassy note. Slight astringency, toasted walnuts,

Great mellow flavor typical of Bolivian cacao. Red wine, cream, prune, slight bitter note, slight biscuity note.


Recommendation: Highly recommended.


Batch info: Batch #1; Best by January 2023



Hawai’I Island Island Kealakekua 70%


Aroma: dusty cocoa powder and ripe fruit


Flavor: a little richer and more balanced than the Mililani; marshmallow, tropical fruit, rose – a little reminiscent of Turkish delight. A creamy, slightly starchy texture. Delicate fruit like cherimoya, banana.


Recommendation: Recommended. A flavorful, pleasant bar showcasing a uniquely specific single-estate origin. Worth a try!


Batch info: Best by December 10, 2022



O'ahu Island Mililani Estate 70%

Flavor: Bubbly fruity flavors and delicate dark sugars: honey, lychee, guanabana, concord grape juice, orange zest, some dried fruit but as a lighter note: cranberry, dried cherry. Fermentation also brings out a lot of ripe fruit flavors: ripe banana, raisin, funky fruity that goes almost too far. Very slight detectable starch. Very slight dryness on the finish - tannins but not excessive. Well- balanced acidity.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. If you like a ripe fruit-heavy flavor profile, you’ll love this.


Batch info: Best by December 17, 2022



Fiji, Vanua Levu Island, Mataswalevu Cocoa Farm 70%

Aroma: earthy soil, cocoa powder


Flavor:  Kind of a weird one! Not unpleasant, but unusual. Creamy fruity notes, including banana bread, ripe fruit, banana pudding, strawberry ice cream. Also cocoa powder and Tootsie roll type chocolate flavors with a faint dry soil quality. Little bitterness or astringency; low acid. Also some slight starchiness like corn starch.


Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. An interesting bar with some pleasant flavors; the package notes that the farms grows Amelonado cacao with newer plantings of Trinidad select hybrids and the Amelonado-type flavors are evident.


Batch info: Batch 3954-VanD201105; Best by November 5, 2022


Dick Taylor

Mexico Soconusco 72% - Limited Release

Aroma: rich, inviting chocolate aroma


Flavor: Bright and tangy, like a burst of apricot jam - a Madagascar like tanginess; fresh and dried red fruit (cranberry), but crisp and clear – not weighed down by oxidized-type flavors sometimes found in dried fruit. A rich nutty undertone with fudgy creaminess throughout. After the initial acidity it mellows a little to cocoa powder, softer apricot, peaches and cream, Nutella. Suggests some Criollo genetics, but with more bright acidity. They say persimmon, fudge, prune, and molasses – the first three are right one, but I it’s even a little more delicate in flavor than molasses would suggest. It also has their signature dense, fudgy, almost chewy and ultra-smooth texture.


Recommendation: Highly recommended.


Batch info: Batch no. 21154; December 3, 2022


Dick Taylor

Jamaica 75% - Limited Release


Aroma: Toast, bread crust, sourdough bread


Flavor: Mellow and beautifully balanced. Caramel, milky, soft blond fruit acidity - apricot, toast, coffee grounds, red wine, dark bread/crust, some pleasant bitterness.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Yet another lovely bar from Dick Taylor. I had this a few months ago when it first came out and it was well worth tasting again!


Batch info: Batch no. 20240; Best before February 28, 2022



Guara 70%

Aroma: Damp wood, leaves, walnut skin, slightly savory


Flavor: Nice complexity with rich undertones of heavy cream, macadamia, and nut butter. Gianduja, caramel pudding, marshmallow crème, hint of herbal flavor – like lavender. Some dried fruit acidity and a little lemon, pleasant light astringency – wood. Smooth, fudgy, texture with the slightest bit of crumbliness and very slight chalkiness.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. A little bolder than Berau 70% from Metiisto


Batch info: Best by March 16, 2022



Berau 73%

Aroma: toasty, warm, dry hay


Flavor:  Overall mild, well-rounded with great complexity. Nutella, caramel, milk chocolate flavors, toasted marshmallow a dairy fat type richness. A little dry woody flavor but faint. A little bit of pleasant bitterness that adds complexity – like grapefruit rind or hops. Seems like a light roast with some slight green notes still coming through. A little acidity, super smooth texture.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Yet again, a delicious, complex, perfectly balanced bar from Metiisto. I can recommend everything I have tried from them so far.


Batch info: Batch info: Best by March 26, 2022


Violet Sky

Colombia Arhuacos 77%

Aroma: mild, nutty, chocolate cookies


Flavor: Lots of deep chocolate notes and an almost custard-like richness: Brownie, coffee, espresso with cream, satisfying richness like avocado or heavy cream. Light acidity and fruitiness emerge with melting – raspberry, lemon ice cream, and a little floral - leading to chocolate cookie and marzipan flavors. Roast level is nice – good complexity. A hint of astringency – slight walnut skin dryness – not excessive, and similar to several other good Colombia bars I’ve had.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. This is an excellent example of this origin and offers a super satisfying combination of deep flavor and heavy cream-like richness.


Luisa Abram + Caputo's Collaboration

Wild Juruá 70%

I let this sit for a while, and I liked this bar best after it aged for a few months. The flavors softened and mellowed out a bit.


1st tasting Flavor: Brownie. Similar flavor profile to bulk cacao used in chocolate chips, but not as harsh and without unpleasant notes. Not very distinctive. Hints of fruit? Golden raisin? Apricot?


2nd tasting: Very mellow, but pleasant. Delicate floral and fruit tones: notes of elderflower, ripe pear, apple, and rice pudding (slightly creamy and starchy).


Recommendation: I’d recommend trying it, especially because it helps support the work Luisa Abram is doing to conserve wild cacao varieties in Brazil! Caputo’s has a huge selection of other great craft chocolate as well.



Philippines Paquibato 70%


Flavor: Very creamy, chocolate mousse, pleasantly bitter dark chocolate mellowed by a heavy cream richness, meringue, marshmallow, freeze-dried ice cream, strawberry milkshake


Recommendation: Highly recommended. A great example of this origin, with rich, pleasant flavor.




Vietnam 70%


Flavor: Good, a pleasant warm flavor with notes of gingerbread, cinnamon, ginger, golden raisin, and chocolate-covered cherry. Slightly grainy texture and some slight chalkiness, but an interesting flavor with spice notes similar to other Vietnam bars.


Recommendation: Recommended!



Dominican Republic #224 - 72% Medium Roast Medium Conche


Aroma: lime zest, wood, dried figs


Flavor: Slightly biscuity, cocoa butter base with dark sugar notes: raisin, brown sugar, honey, licorice, anise cookies. A little bit of fruity tartness – Smarties candy, starfruit. Very little bitterness or astringency. 


Recommendation: Recommended. Mellow and pleasant, among the better Dominican Republic bars I’ve had.


Batch info: 20-393; Best by January 2023


Dominican Republic Los Bejucos 77%


Aroma: vanilla, raisin, caramel, flan


Flavor: wood, vanilla, rich chocolate, well-rounded, a little floral, slightly dry finish like black tea


Recommendation: Recommended. One of my favorite bars from the Dominican Republic, which is generally not my favorite origin


Batch info: Batch no. 1; Best by August 2022



Belize Maya Mountain 70%


Aroma: licorice, anise, fennel, dusty, faint


Flavor: Some darker flavors - brownie, coffee, dark honey, dark caramel, molasses/grassy, some earthiness. Also a little red/dried fruit: prune, blackberry jam, sour cherry. If allowed to melt fully, a nice delicate acidity emerges. A lingering bitterness. Slight starchiness.


Recommendation: Recommended. The flavor is nice but comes off a bit restrained, and there are slightly problematic grassy notes (maybe from the sugar) and a lingering bitterness possibly due to a slight over-roast. Overall, worth a try, as the beans are clearly very good.


Batch info: Batch 20177; 2019 Harvest; Enjoy by June 2021


Goodnow Farms

Bahia Brazil 77%

Flavor: Lots of dark flavors: raisin, molasses, Bourbon, dark caramel, fig, coffee, whole grain type of nutty flavor; along with some red fruit tanginess (cranberry sauce) and great buttery/heavy cream richness. A bit dry: black tea, walnut skin. Somewhat similar to other Brazil bars I’ve tried. Pleasant texture.


This was an exciting bar because it reflects a new wave of fine cacao from Brazil! Unfortunately this one is no longer available as it was a limited release, but check out other delicious Brazil bars from Baianí, Dandelion and Zotter as well as Goodnow Farms’ other excellent bars!


Goodnow Farms

Madagascar Bejofo Estate 77%

Aroma: dried figs, brown sugar


Flavor: Darks sugars and nutty richness: sorghum molasses, prune, raw sugar, butterscotch, walnuts, macadamia, buttery, graham crackers, crème fraiche, almond skin. A little dry; superb texture. Excellent.


Unfortunately this one is no longer available as it was a limited release, but check out other delicious Madagascar bars from Dick Taylor, Solstice, and Standout as well as Goodnow Farms’ other excellent bars!



Nicaragua Matagalpa 72%

This is a collaboration bar with the Atlanta Audubon Society! The wrapper notes that “Shaded farms, like the ones that produce the cacao for this bar, provide critical wintering grounds for migratory warblers, tanagers, and other bird species. By purchasing this bar, you are helping conserve critical habitats where birds and people thrive.”

Aroma: vanilla extract, dried fruit, rich cocoa, slightly funky fermented aroma – like very ripe fruit, not unpleasant, dried cherry, a hint of savoriness and leather


Flavor: Graham crackers, rye bread, vanilla, dried fruit, molasses, raisin, some slight starchiness like powdered sugar, some sourness.


Recommendation: Recommended. This is a well-made bar; the fermentation style gives it a flavor profile rich in dried fruit, rye, and molasses notes. If you tend to like those flavors, you’ll enjoy this bar.


Batch info: Batch 55; best by September 9, 2021



Kilimamwenza, D.R. Congo, Mambasa, Itari Province 70%

Aroma: Rich chocolate, cured meat


Flavor: Long-lasting, full flavors; especially as it melts - lots of  butter, brown sugar, milky caramel, raisin, Brazil nuts. A little floral – honeysuckle. Also some wood and muddy flavors (wet earth – slightly grainy texture and minerally flavor). Very little bitterness or astringency; not acidic. A slightly odd starchy/powdered sugar note. Soft texture.


Recommendation: Recommended. This one may not be available any more. Naïve makes nano-lots fairly often, but I find them to be highly variable in cacao quality.


Batch info: Best by October 16, 2021

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