Willie’s Cacao Cuban Baracoa 65 Luscious Orange 88/100


From the south eastern tip of Cuba facing the Bahamas, these single estate beans are grown in Baracoa. Once harvested the beans are shipped to Uffculme, a small town in Devon to Willie’s factory, where using antique machinery Willie begins the process of turning them into one of his delectable single estate cacao bars. Using only raw cane sugar and adding only a small amount of additional cacao butter Willie likes to keep things fairly simple, intending to bring out the subtle and individual flavours of each of his beans.


I’ll admit it’s been a long time now, but my previous experience with orange chocolate has always been Terry’s chocolate orange, something I remember enjoying when I was younger, but not something I’ve sought out recently. With regards to the Cuban aspect of this bar, this will be the first cocoa from Cuba that I’ve tried and so I have little to go on. Cuba’s neighbours in Haiti and the Dominican Republic seem to have distinctive cacao, rich, earthy and smokey, but with a noted chocolateyness from Haiti and some red fruits from the Dominican. Jamaica on the other hand is rich and spicy with dried fruit notes, but these are all generalisations and so I feel it best to leave the bar to speak for itself. Opening the packaging there’s an unmistakable aroma of orange, but slightly more dominant is a tone of leather that is clearly from the chocolate rather than the inclusion. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s good full mouthfeel of smooth, malty and creamy textures that sings of sweet oranges from the outset, it’s strongly flavoured with a bright acidity and sweetness. It’s not intense exactly with the flavours being sweet and light but the flavour’s particularly strong although surprising well balanced, which helps to make this bar enjoyable rather than overpowering. Some pleasant honey sweetness helps to carry the bar through, giving a good length and finish, although the flavour could do with some additional dimension to help give it more substance. This bar is a nice way to relive some chocolate nostalgia with some dominantly orange flavoured chocolate and while there’s plenty of balance here this is a combination of flavours meant to complement each other rather than a seamless inclusion or master pairing. Best enjoyed near Christmas, on train journeys staring out the window or at days out in ye olde museums.  

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, essential orange oil

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium brown, medium purpling
Texture: Smooth, light sandstone, light fudge
Mould: Willies cocoa pod relief slab
Snap: Fairly crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Leather, orange, hint of spice and smoke
Quality: Complementary, distinctive, sweet

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, soft
Evenness: Fairly even
Texture: Smooth, malty, creamy
Quality: Full, rounded

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Sweet orange
Quality: Bright, slightly synthetic

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9.5
Notes: Sweet orange, light honey
Quality: Bright, rounded

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet
Notes: Sweet orange, honey, malt, orange blossom
Quality: Bold, simple

Length 9/10

Flavours are big, bold and long, malting over time before rounding on the acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Sweet orange, malt, chocolate cream
Quality: Peaks of sweet orange fill the end, before an elongated malted finish that leaves creamy chocolate notes to linger

Balance 9/10

For a bar with such strong flavours and sweetness, it’s surprisingly well balanced, attributes complement and work well with each other and medium structure is enough to keep the bar in place

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth of flavour, but lack a little dimension, small amount of complexity is well balanced and medium structure is consistent, expression seems true of inclusion with origin taking second row, processing produces some good malted creamy notes

Willie’s Tasting Notes: It only took one visit to the eastern tip of Cuba to fall in love with these exquisite single estate beans from Baracoa. Their delicate honey flavour is simply born to be with orange. Crafted from the bean in my chocolate factory in England, this is one deliciously desirable square of chocolate.


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