Region: Lam Dong
It is great to have these (and more) back. In the past, many years ago, I sampled quite a few beans from Vietnam only to be disappointed by them all. It is wonderful to see that is no longer the case. All 5 (Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Dak Nong, Dak Lak and Lam Dong) this time are worlds apart from those early days. Big and bold characterize all of them
Big and juicy In so many ways that sums up this bean.
Chocolate aroma with a touch of allspice. I have to admit, I actually moaned (just a little) with my first bite. But I love fruit cake. There is the soft tang of tamarind and a big round mouth feel. There is this softness of cashews and a great inherent sweetness. But also a higher but very controlled acidity. Tons of dried fruit and a low woody bitterness, but the piquant and astringent nature of the tamarind notes keep it fully in balance. And just juicy and mouthwatering. The final lingering taste puts me in mind of a mocha. That rich blend of sweet coffee and chocolate.
Fruitcake. Spice, boldness, low plus complex bittering spices. What more can you ask?
I had the privilege to meet with the founders of Marou chocolate at Chocolate Fest 2015. Introductions lead to conversation which lead to talk of how they got started (big surprise, it was Chocolate Alchemy) and an offer by them to help me bring in some of the beans they use. In short, this is the result. Direct trade beans grown by farmers from small farms of Lam Dong province at the foot of the Central Highlands of the Annamitic range
This is a bold flavored bean and has so much going on that they can handle a wide range. Really, you are going to be hard pressed to mess these up.
If in doubt, go long. 18-21 minutes in the Behmor on p1 or p2 (2 lbs). 375-400 F for 25-35 minutes in the oven also for a couple pounds. 260-270 F final temperature in a drum roaster if you have it.
It is pretty subtle, but the only thing extra I'll mention is that the beans are a little on the smaller side so you may find they roast a little faster in the oven.
I used a profile of 10:00/12:25/16:55 @ 263 F.