Mexico Almendra Blanca - Direct Trade - 2022 - Archive

Origin: Mexico

Region: Tabasco, Chontalpa

Type:  Almendra Blanca (White Almond)

Certifications: Direct Trade

Harvest Year: 2022

Flavor notes:

I'm so glad we have been able to bring this in again, the last time being 2018.  It is reasonably delicate in nature and oddly, can be rather polarizing with it being right up your alley or not.  The chocolate turns out a light brown, hence the White Almond description.  I guess saying this bean is unique would be on point.

The aroma starts off with lovely light chocolate, nut, and blossom notes. They put me in mind of various yellow fruits like plum (Japanese style) and gooseberry.  The chocolate is tangy and sweet yet again like a fresh berry.  It is a very soft flavor, and lingers but there is very much a tart, bright note that either calls to you or doesn't.  I've yet to find someone that is on the fence about it.  The bitterness present (combined with the acidity) rather puts me in mind of a lightly roasted 3rd wave cup of unsweetened coffee. I describe it that way as it really isn't mocha which I think of as heavier with more body.

I was going to say the nut flavor is cashew but upon contemplation the flavor that remains in my mouth (don't laugh now) is that of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  There is a little malty sweetness that you even get from certain white breads.  Again, that round, soft mouth feel plays over and over.   I personally find it devilishly approachable and also refreshingly satiating.


Almendra Blanca  is a Mexican variety of cocoa, coming from the Chontalpa region in Tabasco Mexico.  They come from around 30 farmers supported by Maxiterra’s Cocoa Program, based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Sustainability and Fairtrade thru FAO’s Farmers Field Schools model (FFS).


Cocoa beans are fermented during 3-4 days (1+1+2) in wooden and slowly sun dried to obtain 6.5%-7.5% moisture content.


Every production batch or lot number is set on the daily income of raw cocoa coming from plantations, which contains details on farmer’s name and location, volume purchased and price paid, and general data on technical assistance, training and agricultural practices executed on every farm.


With the really light bitterness and astringency, plus the nut component, you are not going to want to take this to a really high end of roast temperature or you are likely to make the nut bitter.  Low to Mid 250s are fine and high 240s are ok.  That does NOT mean you have to roast it super delicate though.  2.25-3.0 minutes in the development phase will do great.  Just pull the roast when it starts to get sharp and expect it a little earlier than some beans.

In the Behmor 1600 2-2.5 lbs for 18-19 minutes is fine.  Just watch for the sharp ending.

Profile Drum Roasting:  You should approach this roast in the same way I describe the flavor.  Quiet but assured.  There is a finesse here and you should not quite take that to mean delicate.  Really, words are not the best medium for conveying how to roast.  The profile I used for this is 10/12.5/16.5 @ 250 F.

What you should pull out of this is that you should not come in hot and heavy but steady.  2.5 minutes in the development phase to bring out the chocolate without turn the nut notes bitter.  After that, you want to turn the roast down quite a bit.  Much beyond that mid 250s and you court bitter nut notes  But I want to caution about just doing 'long and low' as seems to be a thing.  If you do that you run the pretty high risk of not developing the flavors that are there and in that case you could well be left with the dreaded boring chocolate.

Behmor:  Due to the cold start of the the Behmor, you can just set it on the 1 lb setting with 2.5 lb of cocoa and go.  When you begin getting aromatic notes, somewhere around 4 minutes left (14 minutes elapsed of the 18 minute start) drop the power to P3 (50% power) and continue roasting for about another 6-8 minutes, waiting for the aroma to either decrease or get sharp.  This is all of course if you don't have a thermocouple in the beans (Modifying your Behmor) If you have that you can follow the profiles above.

Oven Roasting: You will need an IR thermometer.  Roast 2 lb of beans.  Preheat your over to 325 F.  Place your cocoa beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and into the oven. Stir the beans at 5 minutes and check the temperature.  Continue roasting until the surface temperature reads 205-215 F (it may well vary across the beans).  At that point, turn your oven down 10-15 F above your target EOR, in this case 250 + ~15 = 265 and continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes until approximately 250 F.  Again, there will be variation but the beauty of this method is having turned the oven down it is difficult to over roast.  The important part here is to get good momentum going in a hot oven and then basically coasting to finish.  You may not get much chocolate or brownie aroma with this one.