Venezuelan Cuyagua - 2016

Origin: Venezuela

Region: Cuyaqua

Year: 2016

Type: Criollo

There is fabulous Criollo from the Cuyagua region (near and like Ocumare) in Venezuela. This is what Criollo is all about and what everyone claims to have (but rarely do). It is fruity, delicate, chocolatey.  Quite often it iis without a touch of bitterness or astringency.  In this case there is a bit, but it is walnut and plum skin.  The aroma is plum and vanilla, with both coming through in the taste along with a nice back drop of current, vanilla and cream.

Being Criollo, the 'break' of the nib you will see it is very light. The lighter that break, the GENERAL trend there is to more Criollo. Forastero is rather dark, often purple or deep brown. A good solid, middle of the road Trinatario (think Dominican Republic or Panama) are a mid to dark brown. A cocoa bean with heavier Criollo in its breeding will be a lighter brown, and real Criollo (especially Porcelano) can be down right pale brown with the finished chocolate looking almost like milk chocolate.

 

The oven roasting profile I have given for Ocumare works well here.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Put a pound of beans into a heavy corning ware type container, about an inch deep. Put them in for 10 minutes, stirring at 5 minutes (and every 5 minutes after this). At 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 and roast another 10 minutes. Pull out a handful of beans for comparison. Turn off the oven and let the remaining beans set/roast for a final 10 minutes in the cooling oven. Remove them and let them cool. This should give you a nice light roasted bean. Compare the two sets and see what you think and adjust your roasting from there.

If using a Behmor, P2 for 19-21 minutes suits most tastes.

I like it to a slightly lower than average bean temperatue with drum roasting - a surface around 255 F works nicely over 16-18 minutes.