Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Theo Costa Rica

Lindy's Rating: 5.0 (previously **)
Richard's Rating: 5.0 (previously **)

chocolate makerTheo
barCosta Rica
regionCosta Rica
cacao trees(unknown)
size84g ~ 3oz
cocoa solids91%
added fatcocoa butter
other ingredients(none)
list price$5.00

colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1518 Puce
texturesmooth with scoring, shiny
aromaearthy (soil), berry (cranberry, raspberry), roast (coffee)
tasteburnt, citrus (lime), bitter
Theo is a small bean to bar chocolate maker in Seattle. It is certified as both organic and fair trade, the latter of which means they follows socially responsible practices in every aspect of their business. Theo is the only organic, fair trade, bean to bar chocolate factory in the United States. In the chocolate making industry, many businesses take advantage of the lower bean prices available by buying from cacao farms using child labor and poor working conditions. Fair trade chocolate businesses pay above-market prices in order to provide additional funds for improving the the lives and sustainability of cacao and sugar farmers.

At their factory in the Fremont district of Seattle, Theo gives daily public tours that include include a good overview of chocolate production, their company philosophy, and lots of chocolate tasting. By the way, the name Theo comes from the Greek name of the tree, Theobroma Cacao, meaning food of the gods.

Theo makes several interesting fantasy infusion bars, such as Bread & Chocolate and Fig, Fennel, & Almond, more traditional infusion bars, plus two "Good For All" bars in partnership with Jane Goodall and three single origin chocolates. One of those single origin bars is the Theo Costa Rica that we tried at our recent blind chocolate tasting. The other two are from the Dominican Republic and Madagascar, and we'll review them in the future.

At the blind tasting, everyone noticed the shiny surface of the Theo Costa Rica bar. The aromas included earthy, clarified as soil by two people, berry, clarified as cranberry by two and raspberry by two others, and roast, clarified as coffee by three people. The taste was burnt with a citrus flavor that both Lindy and I identified as lime. This chocolate had the highest cocoa content of the bars in the blind tasting, and everyone found it bitter.

Unfortunately, we did not take an opportunity to photograph the opened chocolate bars at the tasting, so I only have a picture of the wrapper.

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