Taylor & Bennett 70% Dark Chocolate Coffee & Cacao Nibs 87.5/100

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A collaboration between Leeds chocolate makers Taylor and Bennett and North Star Coffee Roasters, this bar is a combination of 70% couverture and North Star’s Columbia Augustino forest coffee topped with cacao nibs. Made by Dan Bennett and James Taylor, this bar features packaging from GF Smith Papers made up of 50% cup fibres from reclaimed single-use coffee cups.

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I’ve drunk North Star’s Columbia Agustino Forest before, but I’ve never tried it as part of a chocolate bar, my recollection was of some green flavour notes like green apples, but I’m not sure how much this will come to play in a 70% bar that also features cacao nibs. The couverture is no doubt selected to complement the coffee and so I would generally expect something chocolatey and balancing, rather than acidic and flavourful. Opening the packaging I’m presented with six branded fingers on one side and a topped slab on the other. Breaking a piece off reveals aromas of nuts and sweet notes of dates, placing a piece in mouth there’s smooth and silky textures from the chocolate before the inevitable crunch of the cocoa nibs. Full and expressive the mouthfeel reveals flavours of dates and dry green grapes, before proceeding with complexity into some darker notes of bourbon biscuits, coffee, rye and mushrooms. There’s good flavour here and a good mix between dry fruity chocolate, dark sugar notes and complex darker flavours, which gives the bar an interesting and distinctive profile. The complexity comes as somewhat of a double edged sword, while it provides all the best attributes of the bar and its interesting profile, it also struggles for balance, with all the varied elements of the bar fighting for the limelight, the chocolate attempts to provide balance, but between its own flavours, that of the coffee and the additional cocoa nibs it struggles to keep everything anchored. This is an interesting bar and it goes beyond the simple flavours of chocolate and dark roasted coffee, although it could do with some additional work to bring it together as a whole.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla extract, coffee beans, cacao nibs

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Darker brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth, light flake
Mould: 6 finger T&B embossed slab
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Freshly peeled nuts, fresh dates
Quality: Simple, dark

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Medium to long
Evenness: Speeds up a little
Texture: Silky, smooth, crunch
Quality: Full, expressive

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Dry white grape, sweet citrus
Quality: Uplifting, rounded

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Caramel, molasses, honey
Quality: Complex, developed

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet, bitter, salt
Notes: Date, dry green grapes, bourbon biscuit, complex fruity roast coffee, savoury salted rye, woodland mushroom
Quality: Complex, distinctive

Length 9/10

Length of these flavours starts to extend as melt proceeds, before a long complex flavour finished, rounds struggle under the weight of dark sugars and roasted notes

Finish 9/10

Notes: Roast coffee, savoury salted rye, woodland mushroom
Quality: Finish is long with complex notes arising from the inclusions that linger with almost savoury tones

Balance 8.5/10

There is a lot of complexity and flavours fighting for position, which requires a lot of balancing, something the chocolate tries to do, but doesn’t quite achieve, medium structure is suitable and provides some stability

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has some depth, but a lot more dimension, there is a tonne of complexity which struggles to be balanced, structure is consistent and expression is confused, its honest, but contains flavours from the chocolate, the cocoa nibs and the coffee beans all expressing different things, processing has encouraged balance and amalgamation, but inclusions feel somewhat separate


Taylor & Bennett’s Tasting Notes: When chocolate meets coffee wonderful things happen! We use single origin Colombian coffee beans from our friends at North Star Coffee which we mix with a gorgeous 70% couverture and top with crunchy cacao nibs. This bar is the ultimate pick-me-up.

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One thought on “Taylor & Bennett 70% Dark Chocolate Coffee & Cacao Nibs 87.5/100

  1. Pingback: London Coffee Festival 2017 Part 2 |

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