Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review: Taza Stone Ground 60%

Lindy's Rating: 6.5
Richard's Rating: 6.5
chocolate makerTaza
barStone Ground 60%
regionDominican Republic
cacao treesTrinitario,
size85g ~ 3.0oz
cocoa solids60%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
other ingredients(none)
list price$6.50
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth with scoring and lines, surface bubbles
aromaearth (must), fruit (berry, tropical fruit), roast (cocoa, hint of coffee), sweet
snapmedium hard
tastesweet (caramel), fruit (tropical fruit, berry), roast
finishslightly sweet
Stone Ground 60% is another single origin bar from the Dominican Republic made by Taza. The cacao beans, from La Red cooperative, were a mix of Trinitario and Criollo.

The chocolate was made with 60% cocoa solids (cacao beans plus some cocoa butter made from the same beans), Wholesome Sweeteners cane sugar from Sertãozinho, Brazil, and Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation vanilla beans from Villanueva, Costa Rica. Taza ground the beans using granite stone mills and did not conch the chocolate. The bar was certified organic by the USDA. Taza has a direct trade relationship with La Red.

The three ounce bar was scored into 16 pieces, each imprinted with three parallel lines, in the same form as the rest of Taza's Stone Ground line. It came wrapped in silver foil-sided paper inside a textured paper sleeve. The sleeve of the bar we reviewed had a large orange sticker labeled with batch number 475. There was no best before date, but by entering batch number 475 on their home page, you can see information about how that batch of chocolate was made. For example, the beans were roasted within two months after they were received, for a total of 46 minutes at a maximum temperature of 239°F. The bars of this batch of chocolate were wrapped on 30 August 2011.

The color of Stone Ground 60% was a medium brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015). Its surface was mostly smooth, with several bubbles. The bar had a medium hard snap.

Stone Ground 60% had aromas of a dry earthy must, fruit in the forms of berry and tropical fruit, and a cocoa roast. I also smelled a bit of coffee in the roast.

In addition to the obvious sweet flavor that Lindy identified as caramel, we tasted strong tropical fruit and berry flavors. I also experienced some roast.

The melt was grainy, as you would expect from a stone grind. The flavor lasted between 20 and 30 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving it a medium length. The final aftertaste was slightly sweet.

You can purchase Taza Stone Ground 60% online for $6.50 directly from Taza.

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