Origin: India, Idukki Hills
Type: Forastero and Trinatario
Harvest Year: 2021
This is the second time I’ve offered a bean from India and interestingly, mostly as I don’t like to stereotype entire diverse countries, it is remarkably similar to that first bean....except better.
The aroma starts off with clean loam, distinct cocoa (dutched cocoa?), round cashew and pretty bold raisin. There is a slightly tangy note that is not at all sharp or harsh and really, is downright mouthwatering. It beautifully offsets notes of creamy butterscotch and sweet caramel. The nut flavor is more hazelnut than the cashew aroma and has hints of allspice, cinnamon and clove.
I’m left with an interesting seeming contradiction of sweetness and refreshing effervescence. As I talk about in the roasting section, this bean has a very remarkable lack of inherent astringency that allows the roasts to be kept very light as there is no raw astringency to roast out.And here I'm going to hopefully not scare people away. Unlike many beans I offer, this one is not suited really well to unexpereinced roaster. Frankly it is a bit touchy and if you don't get it right (I'll off course tell you how to get it right) you might be a bit disappointed. Check out the Roasting tab for more on that.
This bean is missing the classic green banana astringency present in most cocoa beans when raw. Because of this you are both able and want to keep the roast light....but you also need to make sure it is roasted fully or you run the risk of not developing flavors. On the flip side, if you take it too deep you run the risk of turning the nut flavors excessively bitter and making the whole profile harsh and unbalanced.
I mentioned this is not for novice roasters. You really need to roast by smell and back off the heat whenever you find it getting sharp. You need to treat this beans with kid gloves. What that means is at least a 3 minute development phase and 3:15-3:30 is better. You then need to slow the roast down even more and eek out at least 4 minutes in the finishing phase and 5 minutes would not be amiss. And through all of that, you really don't want to get much above 246-248 F EOR.
The profile I ended up with was 16:30/3:20/4:10 @ 248 F. You can also write that as 16:30/19:50/24:00 @ 248 F
Compare that to my first roast that I thought I was taking it easy that was 14:50/3:00/3:10@ 248 F. The shorter development phase was just too aggressive and the whole flavor profile feel apart and not having at least 4 minutes in the finishing phase just left everything....unsatisfying.
That all said, and I'll admit I have not experimented here yet, this would make a great candidate for 'long and low' in an oven. A technique I've been experimenting with is to per-heat to 325 F and put the beans in. Still stir every 5 minutes and when the beans are reading between 200-210 reduce the oven temperature to 250 F and just let it go until the bean temperature stops going up. This can be 30-40 minutes and hopefully they will come to rest around 245 F.
So where this does not make for the most dynamic of chocolates, it is makes an absolutely wonderful brewing cocoa. It has a deep chocolate aroma and flavor, a huge (for brewing cocoa) mouth feel and balance.
Standard Brewing cocoa information.
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.
Your tastes may vary but I recommend starting with the following proportions and times:
4 T per 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.