Peru Chuncho Organic - Direct Trade - 2024 - Archive

Origin: Peru

Region: Cuzco

Type: Chuncho

Certification: Organic

Year: 2024

Tasting Notes

Oh the power of these tiny beans.  Check out the photo for a comparison to standard beans.  For whatever reason, tiny beans have a tendency to be strong and boldly flavored and this Chuncho isn't an exception....except often that boldness is in the form of chocolate and here it is showcased in acidity, fruit and sweetness.

The aroma starts is clear, bright orange blossom floral. The flavor continues on with a bright clarity of flavor of light grapefruit and sweetness along with a mouthwatering juicy acidity.  The chart really paints the picture.  There isn't much chocolate flavor here and the bitterness and astringency are basically non-existant.  That clarify of flavor is because nothing else is in there mucking about.  No nuts, earth or leather.  Just vibrant, straight forward tropical fruits in an elegant chocolate package. 

We don't have a lot of this so if you want to try something unique, don't waste a moment or you may blink and it will be gone.

Chuncho is native to the Cuzco department (and some to the VRAE region) and has been classified as its own genetic variety… however please note that there are many Chunchos. As of right now there seems to be 18 classifications for Chuncho, but many more suspected of falling under the “Chuncho umbrella”

From an academic perspective Chuncho is very sought after, mainly because of the genetic isolation it has had in this region. University of Urubamba is doing these studies. As well, Bioversity international with funding from the USDA is undertaking the largest genetic diversity study in the cacao, with a large concentration of their samples coming
from Peru.

It typically has a high diverse fruit flavor profile, higher % of fat than usual (~56-58%), and almost no astringency and tannins and tend to be a smaller pod and smaller bean, however there are Chunchos that are bigger.

The cacao undergoes a very well controlled box fermentation, usually 4-5 days in length with rotation of the beans done every day after the first 2 days. The cacao then gets transferred to mounds – stirring the mounds for 2-4 days depending on how much sun exposure there is, then the mounds get dispersed over the tarped floor or drying shelves to finish drying. Total drying is typically 7 days… but may be longer or shorter depending on the weather. (If there are rains it gets covered).

Historically (going back hundreds of years to pre colonizing times), Cuzco has been the region that has had the highest production of cacao in Peru. After colonization and commercialization of cacao in the Jungle departments (north of Peru: Amazonas, San Martin, Huánuco), Cuzco has fallen in the production scale compared to the other departments (mainly because the other departments have scaled up dramatically their productions [as an alternative to coca plant harvesting])

 The zone in Cuzco where cacao was traditionally from is the Urubamba valley… a very special valley. This is the main valley where the Incas would come from the Andes to reach the jungle... this was their route into the jungle. It was also one of the places where they would meet the natives of the jungle for trade purposes. (This is also the Valley where the last Incan emperor (Manco Inca) fled to and hid when the conquistadors invaded Peru in the early 1500’s.

Drum Roasting

The roast profile for my evaluation was 14:15/16:45/19:00 @ 252 F.  I found you don't really want this roast too terribly fast.  Less than 2 minutes in the development phase is too much.  Likewise, it does not love a higher EOR temperature, tasting nicer in the mid 250s.  Due to the size of this bean (tiny) your times might seem a little compressed since heat penetration happens faster.  This doesn't show up too much with the development phase but is apparent in the Finishing phase where.  You'll notice it is not even at the 3 minute minimum I usually suggest.  That suggestion is based on a standard sized bean.  I found this one advertises nicely when you are pushing it too hard with a sharp aroma.  If you get that, slow down a little.

Behmor 2000AB

If you are using a Behmor, P1 to start with 2 - 2.5 lb will be just fine.  Be ready though to turn the power down as you start to note sharp aromas, probably pretty early on, say 10-12 minutes.   When it turns sharper near the end of the count down, you are done.  If it isn't there yet, add a bit more time (the C button for Continue, will reset your timer to 3:10) waiting for the turn of aroma.

Oven Roasting

This method is moderately predictable, repeatable and although not as dynamic and controllable as a drum roaster, does a good enough job.

You will need an IR thermometer and should roast 2 lb of beans. If you roast less, reduce your preheat to 325 F.  Don't roast more.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 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 = 270 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.  If you do find your roast is progressing too fast, adjust accordingly, starting at 325 F and/or changing your target to 250 F.  Overall you may well roast 30-40 minutes.  The important part here is to get good momentum going in a hot oven and then basically coasting to finish.