Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Raaka Ecuador 85% Dark

Richard's Rating: 5.5
chocolate makerRaaka
barEcuador 85% Dark
cacao trees(unknown)
size34g ~ 1.2oz
cocoa solids85%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
other ingredients(none)
list price$5.00
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1314
Seal Brown
textureuneven shape, smooth, uneven sheen, scuffing, bubble, adhered bits
aromafloral, earth (must), fruit, spice, hint of mint
tasteearth, sour, fruit (melon, berry), wine, floral, nut (almond)
finishtannin, somewhat sour, somewhat acidic, slightly chalky
U.S. chocolate makers Ryan Cheney and Nate Hodge established Raaka Virgin Chocolate and released their first bars in 2010. Their concept of virgin chocolate is not quite the same as raw, as they allow slightly higher temperatures. Raaka does not roast their cacao beans and processes all of their chocolate below 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57°C). They currently make two single origin bars (Ecuador and Madagascar) and five flavored bars.

Raaka buys beans from cooperatives, always paying above fair trade prices. They use only organic ingredients and make their chocolate in a nut-free environment. They purchased the cacao beans for their Ecuador 85% Dark bar from APROCA. The other ingredients were cane sugar and cocoa butter.

The bar was double-wrapped with silver foil sided wax paper and craft paper. It was sealed closed by a large product sticker on the back. There was no best before date. The batch number was 20.

Ecuador 85% had a medium-dark brown Seal Brown (PANTONE 19-1314) color. The unscored bar was uneven, with one side thicker than the other. The surface was smooth, with an uneven sheen, some scuffing, one bubble, and a some adhered bits of chocolate. The snap was hard.

The aroma of the chocolate contained floral, earth, fruit and spice scents. The earth was musty. I also smelled just a hint of mint.

The initial taste was earthy and sour before the fruit was revealed. I tasted mostly melon with a little berry. I also experienced flavors of wine, floral, and nut in form of almond. The back label listed tasting notes of "almond, melon, molasses", but I didn't taste the molasses.

The chocolate had a smooth melt. The chocolate flavor lasted 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was tannin, somewhat sour, somewhat acidic, and slightly chalky.

You can purchase Ecuador 85% Dark directly from Raaka for $8.00 for a 2.5 ounce bar (or $5.00 for 1.2 ounce bar).

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