Damson Café Brasil 70% Brazilian Chocolate with Notes Brazilian Coffee 90/100

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This bar marks a collaboration between Damson Chocolate and Notes Coffee Roastery using both cocoa beans and coffee beans grown and harvested in Brazil. The cocoa beans are grown by Arthur and Eduardo Carvalho at the Fazenda Camboa, the largest organic cocoa farm in the Brazilian state of Bahia, while the Cachoeirinha pulped natural red catuai coffee is grown further south in Caconde, by the Borges family. Together they’re combined to represent both the flavours of Brazilian cocoa and Brazilian coffee. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Damson’s chocolate workshop in Islington and Note’s coffee roastery in Blackwall respectively before being processed and combined to make this chocolate bar. Run by Don Ramsey of Chocablog fame, Damson chocolate represents the transition from chocolate blogger, to chocolate judge, to chocolate bar seller, to chocolate bar maker, the only thing left now will be for Damson to start growing their own cocoa beans.

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I’ve tried very little chocolate from Brazil so far, but the chocolate that I have tried is a bit like the coffee I’ve tried, it tends to stick to archetypal chocolate flavours, cocoa, nuts, caramels with some bars more refined than others. I have experienced flavours other than this from Brazilien origin, but they’re few and far between with most sticking to simple flavours. Or that was until I tried Chocolat Bonnat’s M. Libanio, which had fruity flavours reminiscent of some naturally processed Brazilian coffees in this case though I’ve tried Note’s Cachoeirinha coffee already and the takeaway flavours for me were chocolatey nuts with some caramel, which leads me to suspect that this might be the profile for the bar as a whole. Opening the bar I’m presented with some nice unevenly sized cocoa pod crazy paving and a crisp snap reveals distinctive aromas of cocoa, caramel, coffee and nuts, all archetypal so far. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s a noticeable smoothness that’s usually not present in inclusion bars, but this isn’t coffee nibs, just coffee flavour. The refined mouthfeel leads to flavours that are more developed than the archetypal profile I was expecting, here the bar becomes fruitier, with dark developed sugars taking the centre stage. There’s dates and some nutty roast coffee that’s reminiscent of Turkish coffee, notes of bourbon biscuits and this raw and bright sweetness that creates an uplifting bar. A decent length and finish are only bettered by the balance, which is impressive given that this is an inclusion bar, balanced chocolate plays well with balanced coffee to provide a bar with a stable base and complementary top notes. This bar is a pleasure to eat, it’s not exactly remarkable, but it provides a vehicle for a coffee inclusion bar that is better in style than any I’ve tried, the delivery of a smooth and refined chocolate with flavours of coffee is unlike most of the coffee inclusions and at the same time offers archetypal Brazilian flavours alongside something more original and inviting. This bar in the end does justice to both Brazilian chocolate and Brazilian coffee and its lack of imperfections are admirable. Best enjoyed paired with a cup of complementary coffee or for a smooth weekend morning pick me up.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, unrefined cane sugar, cocoa butter, coffee beans

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker milky brown
Texture: Dry smooth, some flake
Mould: Crazy pave cocoa pod relief blocks
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Cocoa, caramel, coffee, sweet almond, hazelnut
Quality: Distinctive, sweet, lightly acidic

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, syrup, juicy
Quality: Refined, firm

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Lime
Quality: Rounded, uplifting

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Cane sugar, date syrup
Quality: Bright, raw, uplifting

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Date syrup, lime, nutty roast coffee, Turkish coffee, bourbon biscuit, sweet almond
Quality: Deep, honest

Length 9/10

Flavours are long delivering over the course of the melt, rounds develop sporadically with the acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Coffee, bourbon biscuit, lime, cane sugar
Quality: Notes of coffee fill the finish before a bourbon biscuit tone lingers around a sweet wet finish of distant lime and cane sugar

Balance 9.5/10

Bar balances out really well and balances well with the inclusion too, medium structure provides some anchoring for flavour, with high notes managing to balance themselves

Overall 9/10

Bar has depth and also a decent degree of dimension, small amounts of complexity are well balanced and structure is consistent, expression seems honest of the combination of cacao and inclusion, processing provides smooth delivery of open flavours


Damson’s Tasting Notes:

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