The journey of flavors that you experience every time in craft chocolate is no accident. From the seed to the finished bar, there are many steps that contribute to the resulting tasting notes that we so enjoy in every bite.
Here are just some of the factors that influence the final flavor of your chocolate:
GENETICS. Cacao growers accurately select their favorite cacao varieties depending on their potential aromatic profile. They have a lot of different choices, as many cacao varieties are now often combined in hybrids. It’s not only Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario, but many, many more!
TERROIR. Also the place where the cacao grows has its own impact depending on the type of soil, weather conditions, altitude, intensity of the sun, rainfall and all the other natural elements. This is also what makes cacao from different farms/areas/regions/countries so particularly unique.
FARM PRACTICES. Pruning, fertilizing, monitoring, harvesting. No matter how unrelated these actions seem to the final flavors of the chocolate, even these choices at origin have big consequences. When farm practices are done right, they preserve the natural flavors in the cacao.
FERMENTATION & DRYING METHODS. These are often appointed as the steps that impact the flavors of the chocolate the most. Many cocoa producers have also demonstrated that by tweaking fermentation and drying methods even the same cacao can taste completely different.
THE BEAN-TO-BAR PROCESS. From roasting to conching, from winnowing to ageing, chocolate makers accurately select specific machines, times, temperatures and protocols to get the best flavors out of their raw material. It’s fascinating to see how different chocolate makers working with the same cacao can come up with chocolate bars with extremely different flavor profiles.
This is why we highly suggest you try different origins from different chocolate brands. Depending on genetics, terroir, farm practices, fermentation and drying techniques, and the bean-to-bar process, every chocolate has something extremely unique to offer to your palate!