Manufaktura Czekolady Colombia 85% 85.5/100

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This bar is made from Santander and trinitario beans from Colombia. Once harvested the beans are shipped to Warsaw where Christopher Stypułkowski and Thomas Sienkiewicz turn them into one of Manufaktura’s chocolate bars.

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I’ve only recently begun trying a varied selection of Colombian chocolate bars and I’ve found that much like the coffee from this country there are some clear regional differences. North coastal Colombian cocoa tends to exhibit caramel and nut flavours with a generally delicate profile, while cocoa from the south west seems to exhibit complex fruit flavours, much like its coffee counterparts. Which leaves me wondering quite what this bar will be, at 85% I’d be expecting this bar to be a little darker or more intense, featuring a tendency towards bitterness, but otherwise I’m open to the flavour the bar presents. Opening the packaging, again the bar itself is a little unrefined, there’s rough edges and a slightly unfinished look. Breaking off a piece reveals a fine, but rough grain to the chocolate, which on close inspection reveals aromas of smoke with some red apple fruit and some sweet white floral top notes. Placing a piece in my mouth, I’m again hit by the unrefined element, like Manufaktura’s Ghanaian bar, the mouthfeel is fairly unrefined, grainy in this particular case, but at the same time it’s not particularly unpleasant. To taste the bar is bittersweet, like the burnt ends of cake or the crust on a baked brownie, it’s full of earthy cocoa tones and dark sugars and spice. The flavours here feel developed and the bittersweetness is interesting rather than offputting, it comes with this undercurrent that runs throughout the bar of a low intensity but slightly sharp Braeburn apple that helps to lighten the bar and provide some balance. I’d be interested to see how this cocoa presents itself under a lighter roast, around the 75% mark because there’s plenty of potential here, there’s nothing inherently bad here, the bar just needs further refining and a more open expression. An interesting dark that offers possibilities, best enjoyed in a rustic mood when you’ve got the time to seek out the bar’s finer qualities.

Ingredients: Cocoa, sugar

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium dusky brown
Texture: Fine rough grain
Mould: Unrefined 5×3 blocks
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Smoked hay, fermented red apples, sweet white florals
Quality: Distinctive, subtly complex

Melt/Mouthfeel 8/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Thick, grainy, dry
Quality: Unrefined, consistent

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: Braeburn apple, pear
Quality: Lightening, sharp

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Caramelised demerara, light muscovado, cake ends
Quality: Developed, roasted, balancing

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Bittersweet cocoa, brownie crust, earthy, cinnamon, nutmeg, Braeburn apple
Quality: Earthy, cakey, dark

Length 8.5/10

Flavours are long and firm, impressing with a weight, rounds do come subtly on the edges of an acidic undercurrent

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Bittersweet cocoa, Braeburn apple, smooth dry cocoa
Quality: Bittersweet cocoa variations and an undercurrent of Braeburn apple run the end up until the finish, leaving a smooth dry cocoa to linger subtly

Balance 8.5/10

Bar leans heavily towards the dark and bittersweet in terms of profile, but slightly overwhelmed sweetness and acidity do their best to impart balance, strong structure provides ample stability

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth and some dimension in the background top notes, subtle complexities seek towards balance, structure is consistent and expression seems roughly honest with processing providing structure and stability


Manufaktura Czekolady’s Tasting Notes: Intense, tobacco, Matcha green tea, smoky

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