Dominican Republic Rizek FT/Organic 2017

Origin: Dominican Republic - Nazario Risek

Crop: 2017

Type: Trinatario - Hispanola

Certs: Organic and Fair Trade Certified

Flavor Notes:

There is a clean earthiness (not unlike the non-chocolate variety of truffle) and some rum like flavor that put me in mind of Carenero Superior. The roasted nib aroma make me think of dark fruits like plum and fig, and there a some nuttiness on the palette that comes through to the chocolate. There are also hints of holiday spice particularly cardamom and cinnamon.

With the earthiness comes balanced bitterness and just a hint of soft tannin astringency. And I mention again, bitterness and astringency are NOT faults or things to avoid. They fully and 100% have their place. I mention it because it makes for a balanced and complex chocolate. Chocolate to my taste is boring when it is lacking in these two components. Like a fine red wine or crisp hoppy ale. In both cases it is possible to go to far (super oaked reds or imperial IPA’s) and those I find unpalatable because they go too far in the other direct.

It's been a couple years since this was in and it is a welcome return.

I've found this cocoa has a higher than average quality of preparation. It is a solid Trinatario, with a medium break. It has a bit more body to it (compared to La Red), and a little less brightness and acidity, but also a deeper chocolate flavor.

I like this bean roasted a touch heavier than many. In general, try giving this bean an extra 2-3 minutes roasting at a slightly hotter (10-15 F) temperature than you normally would for many beans and see what you think. I often wait until I hear a few beans popping, and still give it a minute or two.

I've used this oven roasting profile to good success:

Pre-heat your oven to 360 F. Put a pound of beans into a heavy corning ware type container, about an inch deep. Put them in for 15 minutes, stirring at 5 minutes (and every 5 minutes after this). At 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 330 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 medium roasted bean. Compare the two sets and see what you think and adjust your roasting from there.

If roasting in the Behmor, roast 2 lbs and use P2 on the one pound setting, for 16 minutes or until you hear a pop or two. Don't be afraid to take it longer. 2-3 minites. It is virtually impossible to over roast in the Behmor with 2 lbs in there.

If ordering Brewing cocoa - it has been roasted and ground, with the husk, for the purposes of making a hot brewed chocolate drink, and is not suitable for making chocolate.

Brewing Cocoa

There has recently been a lot of buzz about various brewing chocolates. Choffy and Crio Bru are the two big ones that come to mind. I've received more inquires than I can count about what makes them so special, if my roasted cocoa beans will work and how one can make their own hot chocolate drink with minimum fuss.

Up until this point, I didn't have any really good answers. Now I do and am offering a selection of cocoa beans roasted and ground (with the husk) for the expressed purpose of making hot brewed chocolate.

Your tastes may vary but I recommend starting with the following proportions and times:

4 T/8 oz boiling water

Steep 5 minutes Press (assuming you are using a press pot - drip works ok too)

Enjoy straight, with milk (or cream) and/or sugar.

I have only included the cocoa beans that I found made a good brewing chocolate. Some like the Papua New Guinea for instance, where it is great as a piquant, smoky chocolate, simply comes through sharp and acidic when brewed. Finally, keep in mind this will not give you classic 'hot chocolate'. Brewed chocolate is a different, yet very enjoyable, animal - enjoy it for what it is, not for what it is not.