Fiji Rakiraki- Direct Trade - 2021

Origin: Nunokoloa, Rakiraki Provence

Type:  Forestero Amelonado, Trinatario

Certifications: Direct Trade

Harvest Year: 2021

Flavor notes:

I need to mention the amount we were able to secure is VERY limited and the price is higher due to weather and COVID issues last year. 

The first aroma is intense toffee and butterscotch. Like our other Fiji offering (Dreketi), this one too has a deep sweet impression of dried fruits. These are the deep low toned fruits, not the bright acidic ones. There is also a crème brule caramelization that is a sharp tangy shot to the senses. 

The flavor has that same crème brule depth of flavor. The acidity is that of fresh blackberry and counterpointed by a clean but controlled hop bitterness.  Medjool dates are in the taste along with the huge lingering mouth feel of leather and intense chocolate overlaid with a subtle allspice.

There is a great bitterness that perfectly offsets the inherent sweetness of the bean. And also a gentle tang of malic acidity to keep the balance fun and lively - that blackberry flavor.  There is further a balancing earthy loam in the finish.

There is a natural sweetness coming from multiple directions. It is pretty common in coffee descriptions. This or that cup has this or that kind of sweetness. But those are all in black coffee. But I evaluate with sugar. In this case, the description comes from the fact that at 80%, the impression is of a chocolate that is much sweeter. And probably due to the real dynamic abundance of pleasant intense flavors that are present. It pushes all of the right buttons of what a great solid chocolate should taste like without any of the negative ones. What would be negative? Harsh bitterness without supporting sweetness. Balance to the point of boring. Lack of acidity or astringency that makes it flabby.

Centralized fermentary and drying facility. Fresh cacao is loaded into 4-tier hardwood fermentation boxes and closely monitored for 5-6 days with daily bean rotation. Fully fermented cacao is dried on decks for approximately 1 week. Each batch is raked regularly each day and hand sorted into GrainPro sealed bags for export.

Rakiraki is a district in Fiji Ra Province. It is located about halfway between Suva and Nadi when travelling along the Kings Road, on the northern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. Prominent landmarks include Navatu Rock in Vitawa village, believed to be one of Fiji's oldest human settlements.

Pottery excavated at the base of the rock has been dated to around 1000BC. The tomb of Ratu Udre Udre,a famous 19th century cannibal chiefwho reportedly consumed more than 800 of his victims, is close to the township of Vaileka. Ra. The Ra province has several hundred small holder cocoa farmers interplanting with coconut.

I'm a fan of roasting this on the longer and heavier side. You will get those caramel flavors and dried fruits. Light will just moderate those flavors. Given how well this bean is fermented I think you could easily take it pretty light and still have a wonderful chocolate. Those tasting notes may follow. Check back.

In the mean time, 2-2.5 lbs for 20-22 minutes in the Behmor on P1 does a great job.

In a drum roaster that is going to correspond to a bean temperature of 260 F over 16 minutes or so. The specific profile I used on to evaluate this is 10/12.3/16 @ 259 F.

In the oven, follow my standard roasting profiles but add on 25 F to each of the temperatures feel free to draw out the end. You are going to be hard pressed to over roast this in a home oven if you follow the basics.