Pump Street Bakery Ecuador Hacienda Limon 75% 87/100

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From central Ecuador inland from the coast in Los Rios, Hacienda Limon grows Nacional Arriba cacao beans and uses traditional harvesting techniques to process their beans after harvest. You can read more about the farm on Pump Street Bakery’s website http://www.pumpstreetbakery.com/chocolate/ecuador. Once processed these beans are shipped to the small Suffolk coastal town of Orford for turning into one of Pump Street’s single origin chocolate bars. A bakery may seem like a strange place to be producing chocolate bars, but if you’ve ever tasted their single origin Ecuadorian milk pain au chocolat, you’ll appreciate that Pump Street’s passion for and dedication to baking transfers just as well to chocolate making, as it does to producing wonderful baked goods.

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I’ve tried this cocoa in Pump Street’s baking, in their inclusion bars and as a dark milk, but this is my first attempt to try it all on its own as a dark chocolate bar. My previous experiences were of a refined chocolate that was smooth and very accessible, with some noticeable hints of citrus in the inclusion bars. In general, though it reminded me a lot of a really great mars bar with refined chocolate notes, caramels and a balanced creaminess. This was a cocoa for me that set a sort of yardstick for chocolate, it was simple in flavour and profile, but it did the simple things particularly well, I’m hoping that this character continues through to their dark and extra dark versions of this cocoa and that it’s present in this 75% bar. Opening the bar, I’m greeted by the familiar 4×4 Pump Street Bakery mould and a simple cocoa aroma with is part sweet and part floral. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s a long and even melt that’s incredibly smooth with a slightly viscous edge. To taste this bar exhibits a simple profile, with roasted flavours creating the main backbone surrounded by middle notes of cream and dark sugars and some top notes of lemon appearing towards the end. There’s an atypical and archetypal display of chocolate flavours that stay smooth, stable and balanced, even having some refinement, but this isn’t an overtly individual or unique expression. In a way and I’m surprised to find myself saying this, but I both prefer and observe that the dark milk version of this bar to be the better of the two. What displays itself as a simple thing done well in the dark milk, presents itself as decent, but slightly lacking as a purely dark bar. I can see why this chocolate lends itself to dark milk and to inclusion bars with its refined and archetypal flavours that are perfect for blending with more expressive ingredients and I think that is where it’s at its best. If you’re looking for chocolate that tastes like chocolate and you’re a fan of roasted flavours then this is the bar for you, again best enjoyed with French and Austrian crème patisserie.


Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, organic cocoa butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker Roasted Brown
Texture: Consistent light grain
Mould:
4 x 4 simple squares
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Sweet slightly floral cocoa, hint of leather
Quality: Sweet, simple, honest

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Smooth, slick, syrupy
Quality: Refined, firm, viscous

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 2
Notes: Lemon
Quality: Fruity, light, background

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Coconut sugar, molasses, sherbet lemons
Quality: Nutty, balanced

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Roasted cocoa, toasted hazelnut, cream, coconut sugar, lemon
Quality: Simple, balanced, roasted

Length 8.5/10

Long flavours stretch out over the melt, but round finishes a little short, missing its peak

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Lemon, cream, roasted
Quality: Top notes of lemon make their way to the end for a finish filled with cream and roasted notes that linger on after the finish

Balance 9/10

Bar has a simple balance with complementary flavours of a complementary attitude and a strong structure that provides plenty of stability

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth, but lacks some dimension, simplicity is easily managed, structure is consistent, expression feels honest, but is in part an expression of the roast with processing providing additional smoothness and balance


Pump Street Bakery’s Tasting Notes: A smooth dark chocolate with notes of caramel and cream finishing with roasted coffee and honey

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