Batch 9 — Time to Roast!

Started batch 9 today, which will be a mix of 4 parts Panamanian Trinitario to 1 part Dominican Republic cacao from the “Conacado” cooperative. (All beans sourced from John Nanci at Chocolate Alchemy. Thanks, John!) The goal here is to work with a larger batch, and work on the parameters for making a chocolate with a more relaxed flavor profile than the stronger tastes from the Ocumare beans I had been using previously. The Panamanian beans are very mellow, but have a very strong acid aroma in the unroasted state. The Conacado beans have a beautiful aroma even unroasted, smelling like a batch of baking brownies. The roast plan is to continue to go low and slow, taking the beans slowly up to about 130C for 5 minutes or so, using a tabletop convection oven and manual shaking every few minutes. The total roast time with the time to get the beans to temperature is about 30 minutes in the oven, which includes time to reheat after the door is opened to shake the beans. I’m doing the roast in 1/4 lb batches, so that it’s easier to get even heat over the beans.


Dominican Republic and Panamanian CacaoThe two beans, when roasted, have nicely complimentary flavors. The Panamanian retains a little acid, but has some nice fruit. It’s not too aggressive in flavor. The Conacado is a straight hit of classic chocolate flavors, with very little acid note. The photo of the two bean types shows the difference in bean size, and (to the limit of the camera), the difference in color of the roasted nib. The Conacado is a much ligher nib than the dark brown Panama bean. In most texts, Criollo content is denoted by lighter nib shading, almost to the point of a light blond colored nib. It’s unclear that’s what’s going on here, but it’s interesting to see how pronounced the physical difference in beans can be.

I’m going to take these beans to a 65% cacao dark two-ingredient chocolate. I’m still not to the point that I want to be adding vanilla, and with the current process, I don’t see much point in adding cocoa butter, being that I’m not yet worried about viscosity or correcting for differences in bean batches. More data as the batch progresses…

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