Chocolate Tree Colombia Huila 70% 92.5/100

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From the south western inlands of Colombia, Aldemar Guzman grows a trinitario cacao in the Huila region from heritage varieties. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Haddington just east of Edinburgh to Chocolate Tree’s factory where husband and wife team Alastair & Friederike Gower turn these beans into one of Chocolate Tree’s chocolate bars.

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I’m most familiar with Huila as a coffee growing region and its responsible for producing some of my outright favourite coffees, so I’m particularly intrigued as to how this terroir will transfer to cacao. Within coffee the region is responsible for some fruity but complex flavours with a fairly wide range, so I’m left hoping and expecting that this might be the case with the cocoa. Opening the bar there’s the familiar Chocolate Tree uneven flower print blocks, breaking one off there’s an intense and complex acidic aroma filled with red malic fruits and some floral undertones, a promising start. Placing a piece in my mouth, there’s a somewhat unrefined mouthfeel, but I’m quickly distracted by the intense flavour and the wonderful acidity and sweetness. There’s a fruity red apple acidity and flavour at the fore, with some darker fruit flavours coming from blackberries, blackcurrants and cherries which alongside the bars inherent chocolateyness help to round out the flavour. The best thing about this bar, beyond the complex fruits is the dimension of flavour, the processing has taken a backseat (as with many of Chocolate Tree’s bars) to bring out the best in the beans natural flavour. The bar is well developed with a wonderful flavour and only few rough edges attributed to the processing that could be smoothed out, but it does indeed remind me of Huila’s terroir in coffee and is equal to those great coffees that I think of as some of my favourites. Here there is a great expression of terroir and flavour that’s impossible to ignore and I don’t doubt that it would go well with an aged red wine, but this might be one to save for a rainy day as it’ll be sure to cheer you up. I myself can’t wait for the next harvest.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Medium brown
Texture: Smooth fudgey
Mould:
Chocolate Tree flower print uneven blocks
Snap: Crisp, soft
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Fruity/floral, red cherries, red apples, fruit tree, buttercups
Quality: Honest, acidic, subtly complex

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long, malleable
Evenness: Fairly even
Texture: Juicy, pastey, cakey
Quality: Pleasurable, unrefined

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Red apple, blackcurrant
Quality: Bright, uplifting


Sweetness 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Ripe fruit, toffee
Quality: Developed, rounded

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet
Notes: Red apples, cocoa, blackberry, liquorice, cherry
Quality: Complex, bright, dimensioned

Length 9.5/10

Flavours are bright and long, rounding with the ebbing sweetness and acidity

Finish 9.5/10

Notes: Toffee, dark fruit
Quality: Toffee and dark fruit tones of blackberry, blackcurrant and cherry fill the finish with a chocolatey dark fruit flavour lingering on well after the finish

Balance 9/10

Bars levels are fairly even and there is plenty of complementary attributes going on here, there is balance, but a medium structure provides only so much ring fencing

Overall 9/10

Bar has depth, but even greater dimension, there is a large amount of complexity, which is fairly well balanced, structure is a little weak in places but fairly consistent, expression seems bold and honest, with processing taking a back step to allow flavour to express itself honestly


Chocolate Tree’s
Tasting Notes: Satisfyingly chocolatey with fruity notes of dark cherry and blackcurrants. Particularly good with a vintage red or a port.

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