Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Taza Stone Ground 87%

Lindy's Rating: 5.5
Richard's Rating: 5.0

chocolate makerTaza
barStone Ground 87%
regionBolivia
plantation(blend)
cacao treesCriollo,
Forastero
year2011
size85g ~ 3.0oz
cocoa solids87%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifier(none)
flavoringvanilla
other ingredients(none)
list price$6.50

colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
Bracken
texturesmooth with scoring and lines, surface bubbles
aromaroast (cocoa), earth, spice, sweet, hint of floral
snapmedium hard
tasteroast (cocoa), sour, bitter, nut, hint of butter, hint of sweet
meltgrainy
lengthshort
finishslightly sour
Taza introduced their Stone Ground 87% chocolate bar this year. It is a single origin bar with a combination of Criollo and Forastero cacao from Bolivia. The chocolate was made with 87% cacao beans, cane sugar from Sert√£ozinho, Brazil, and vanilla beans from Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation in Villanueva, Costa Rica. No cocoa butter was added. Taza ground the beans using granite stone mills and did not conch the chocolate.

As they have done with all of their suppliers, Taza established a direct trade relationship with Central Integral Agroecologica de Alto Beni cooperative in Bolivia, from whom they sourced the cacao beans for this chocolate. The bar was USDA certified organic.

The three ounce bar was scored into 16 pieces, each topped with three imprinted parallel lines. Stone Ground 87% came wrapped in silver foil-sided paper inside a textured paper sleeve. The wrapper was stamped with batch code 473 and a best before date of 22 August 2012.

By entering the batch number on their home page, you can see information about how that particular chocolate was made. For example, the beans for the bar we reviewed were roasted within two months after they were received, for 45 minutes at 276°F. The bars of this batch of chocolate were wrapped on 23 August 2011 (revealing that Taza recommends eating their chocolate within one year after production).

The color of the chocolate was a medium-dark brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015). The surface was mostly smooth, but had several bubbles, including a few substantial ones. The bar had a medium hard snap.

Stone Ground 87% had an aroma that included a rich cocoa roast, with earth, spice and sweetness. I also smelled a suggestion of something floral.

The taste of this chocolate was primarily that of a sour roast. Both of us found it slightly bitter. I tasted additional flavors of nut as well as a hints of butter and sweetness.

As desired for a stone ground chocolate, Stone Ground 87% had a grainy melt. The length was short, with the flavor lasting 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The finish was slightly to somewhat sour.

You can purchase Taza Stone Ground 87% online for $6.50 directly from Taza.

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