Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Potomac Upala 70%

Richard's Rating: 6.5
chocolate makerPotomac
barUpala 70%
regionCosta Rica
cacao trees(unknown)
size57g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids70%
added fat(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$8.00
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth, scoring, uneven sheen, uneven form, bubbles
aromaearth, roast (coffee), sweet (molasses), fruit (berry)
tasteearth, sweet (caramel), tannin, acidic, roast (coffee, cocoa), fruit (raspberry)
meltmore smooth
finishsomewhat tannin
U.S. bean to bar chocolate maker Ben Rasmussen has been hand-crafting chocolate in Woodbridge, VA, since 2010 as Potomac Chocolate. He currently makes two unflavored chocolate bars with cacao beans from Upala, Costa Rica, (Upala 70% and Upala 82%) and one with cacao beans from Bahia, Brazil (Bahia 70%).

The ingredients of Upala 70% were simply 70% cacao beans and 30% sugar. The two ounce bar was scored into 10 pieces and came wrapped in foil-sided paper inside a paper sleeve. The bar reviewed here was identified as coming from batch #12055, with a best before date of February 2013.

The chocolate had a medium-dark brown color that was just a slight bit redder than Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015). The surface of the bar was smooth with an uneven sheen and tiny bubbles. The bottom surface was somewhat uneven with larger bubbles. The bar had a hard, almost very hard, snap.

Upala 70% had an earthy and coffee roast aroma. There were also scents of a molasses sweetness and a berry fruit.

The taste was earthy and sweet, with tannin and acidity. Roast and fruit flavors came forth as well. The sweetness tasted of caramel. The roast included coffee and cocoa. The fruit was raspberry.

The melt was more smooth, somewhat like that of fudge. The chocolate flavor lasted about 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was somewhat tannin.

This bar reminded me of Ritual Costa Rica and Dandelion Upala, Costa Rica. All three used only cacao beans and cane sugar. Ritual had nearly the same bar mold, but was scored into 9 pieces rather than 10. Dandelion had the same Upala origin within Costa Rica. Potomac Upala 70% won one of the Silvers from the Academy of Chocolate's 2011 Awards.

I'm definitely going to have to do a blind origin tasting and ranking of Costa Rica chocolate after reviewing Upala 82%.

You can purchase Upala 70% online for $8.00 directly from Potomac or, to combine it with other brands of chocolate, for $7.99 from Chocolopolis or World Wide Chocolate, or for $8.00 from Cocova.

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