Cacao Sampaka Ecuador 71% 83.5/100

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This bar is made using beans from Ecuador. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Barcelona where Cacao Sampaka turn them into one of their single origin chocolate bars.

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My experience of Ecuadorian cocoa tends to be one of classic chocolate flavours that are well presented. A mixture of chocolateyness and cocoa flavours mixed with caramels and the possibility of lemon, milk and nuts. I think this experience might be more precisely of Ecuador as a country wide origin or of arriba cacao as I have tried a few bars, which break from this mould and display more individual characteristics. My expectations here are that this might be one of the more traditionally flavoured bars with refined chocolate flavours and my hope is that this bar expresses these flavours with a refined nature. Opening the bar there’s two thin but full Cacao Sampaka imprinted slabs, another of the one for now, one for later group. Breaking a piece off reveals a subtly nuanced aroma featuring sweet almond notes and aromas of sweet pine. Placing a piece in my mouth, the mouthfeel is glossy, but it’s a little slick and thin with a watery element due to a light astringency in the finish. To taste this bar represents some archetypal notes, but with a tendency towards being light, there’s a fruitiness best described as gala melon and caramel notes that remind me of caramelised nuts or chestnuts. There’s some light marzipan towards the finish and as I mentioned a light astringency that brings out a sweet watery tone. This bar is pleasant, but it lacks some of the development and refinement of some of the better Ecuadorian cocoas out there. Best enjoyed with a good vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin)

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker brown Texture: Weathered sandstone, light grain Mould: Full Cacao Sampaka inprint slab Snap: Crisp Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8 Notes: Sweet almonds, sweet pine, icing sugar Quality: Light, subtly nuanced

Melt/Mouthfeel 8/10

Length: Long Evenness: Fairly even Texture: Glossy, slick, thin Quality: Light, slick, thin

Acidity 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 2 Notes: Gala melon Quality: Light, soft

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7 Notes: Caramel, sugar syrup Quality: Light, soft

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8 Type: Sweet, bitter Notes: Caramelised chestnuts, gala melon, cocoa, light marzipan Quality: Light

Length 8.5/10

Flavours are light, cocoa’y, but not particularly bold, still there is a subtle length there, but it doesn’t round smoothly

Finish 8/10

Notes: Cocoa, light marzipan, light astringency Quality: Cocoa tones and light marzipan flavours fill the end before a slightly astringent finish, which leaves a sweet watery sensation to linger

Balance 8.5/10

Bar’s flavours are light and mostly complementary, creating and even tone to the bar, but base cocoa notes and light top notes feel a bit disconnected, lighter structure could provide more anchoring

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has some depth and some dimension, but lacks both, small amount of complexities are well managed, structure is consistent although a little weak, expression is honest but lacks some development
Cacao Sampaka’s Tasting Notes: The first bite evokes a hint of cocoa. Then the fruitiness emerges. With astringency on the sides of the tongue. The final taste lingers in the mouth.

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