It is rare to have a floral component in chocolate and this one does. The chocolate opens with floral notes, namely delicate cherry blossom. Mixed in there is something that makes me think warm summer day, some vibrancy of sun and life. The flavor continues that vibrancy with a sharp but controlled tang like the bite of a ripe nectarine. The fruit continues with a restrained brightness of melon and passion fruit.
There is virtually non-existent astringency and bitterness showing no signs of incomplete fermentation. And you should not forget or think this delicateness doesn’t include a clarity of chocolate flavors. Although not huge, there is an unmistakable fudge like quality and sweetness to temper the fruity tart.
Ucayali River Cacao is located near Pucallpa, Ucayali, Peru. Until recently this area has not been known for fine cacao, but due to the efforts of USAID and Alianza Cacao of Peru there are farmers that are abandoning coca production for Cacao, Coffee and Oil Palm. URC is working together with USAID and Alianza Cacao of Peru to purchase raw material from these farmers at a price that is above market. There goal is to produce a high quality fine cacao while helping these farmers earn a legitimate income rather than returning to coca production.
URC is working with close to 400 small farmers. Many of them are located within a 30 minute drive of the central processing facility.
While most of the farmers in our area have lots of CCN-51, we work only with ICS, TCH, IMC, CMP and local varieties that are known as “comun”. This mixture of varieties combined with frequent collaboration with Daniel O’Doherty of Cacao Services, enables us to produce a unique cacao for our customers.
Dan's influence in the fermentation is quite clear with a very even, beautiful and full fermentation. You can taste another bean collaboration with Ecuador Esmeralda.
Roasting. Just do it. Really. Whatever you do, as long as you actually roast it, is going to give you something memorable. Very light? Very tangy strawberry but soft. Medium? Melon and chocolate.
And should you do what I did on one roast, and just go so far beyond what you think you should, what you will find is that too is still, somehow, inexplicably, in balance. And don't be concerned about the floral notes going away in the roast. Floral notes don't act that way. They just are.
The roast profile for my evaluation was 14/2:40/4.50 @ 257 F. The EOR was just a little lower than some taking into account its moderate fruit and chocolate.
If you are using a Behmor, P1 for 18-19 minutes with 2 lb will be just fine. Go by the aroma. 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 waiting for the turn of aroma.