We are back with more fine chocolate made with Indonesian cacao beans. I had ordered chocolate by Indonesian chocolate makers who use Indonesian cacao beans, but either they’re having delays in reaching me (my chocolate mules had a change of travel plans from Indonesia and U.S to Berlin) or I’m waiting for the “chocolate expert” to get to Berlin so we can do a tasting together.
In the meantime, back in Berlin, I found more fine chocolate made with Indonesian cacao beans at one of the local delis here. We have to keep eating chocolate, so here’s another tasting! Usual suspects: me, Phil, Astrid and Ash.
The bars we tried, in order of tasting:
- Beschle Java Criollo 64%
- Original Beans Papua Kerafat 68%
- Willie’s Javan Dark 69%
- Domori’s Javablond 70%
Below are our notes from the tasting discussions.
Beschle 64% Java Criollo
A lovely bar that I’d buy again. I especially liked the flavours of the dried figs and the smooth creamy melt, almost like a milk chocolate. The acidity at the end makes this bar taste especially chocolatey. After the Bonnat Java and Surabaya, I was expecting more of the smoky roasted flavour to come through but here they were really subtle and balanced the fruity, coffee notes. All in all a pleasant surprise!
Original Beans Papua Kerafat 68%
I like this bar a lot! It was like apples dipped in warm, dark chocolate; the packaging said soft pear flavours, but it was definitely more apple-y to us. Really yummy, and would buy again. I think if a caramel undertone was present, it’d enhance this bar even more.
Original Beans has a short story on the Kerafat cacao bean on their site, go read it! As a dual Indonesian-English native speaker, I always associate “Papua” with Papua New Guinea, not the western Indonesian half of the island (which is high on my diving destinations list btw).
Willie’s Cacao Javan Dark Breaking 69%
OMG. Awful, just awful for all of us. None of us liked this bar and a few seconds after putting the chocolate squares in our mouths, we just stared at each other in silent shock. Everyone agreed about the bitterness and the very strange “soy sauce” flavour. The packaging said “soft caramel notes” but none of us tasted it. It’s shocking to me personally because I’ve had other Willie’s Cacao bars and had liked them, whereas this is nearly inedible. It was velvety and had a smooth melt but flavour-wise it was all bitter and soy-sauce-y.
I couldn’t believe it, and ate another piece of the bar the next day, and yep, slightly better but still the same impression of the soy sauce flavour. Google’d for reviews by other people; a normal post-tasting/post-blogging thing for me to do. I usually only read reviews if I’ve eaten the chocolate/done the tasting. It was rated positively by Beantobar.be, by chocolatereviews.co.uk and by mostlyaboutchocolate.com. It was less favourably rated by chocablog.com and by German chocolate blog chclt.net. So, either we got a bad batch or the previous bar affected our tastebuds (and mine for a few days).
Domori Javablond 70%
Domori wins in the texture and melt smoothness category, just superb. Colour-wise it was the palest compared to the others, despite being highest in cacao content. If the caramel flavours in this were stronger and balanced the earthy flavours more, I’d rate this bar higher. It’s similar to the Bonnat Surabaya but more dominant if that makes sense. Definitely a good bar, and worth trying for sure.
Rankings and ratings
We were definitely favouring the Beschle and the Original Beans bars. Personally I liked the bars in the first tasting better than this batch.
Yasmina, Phil, Ash’s ranking: 1. Beschle 64%, 2. Original Beans 68%, 3. Domori 70%, 4. Willie’s 69%.
Astrid’s ranking: 1. Original Beans 68%, 2. Beschle 64%, 3. Domori 70%, 4. Willie’s 69%.
I have several more fine chocolate by non-Indonesian chocolate makers using Indonesian cacao beans: Pralus Djakarta (when will someone tell them that’s the old colonial-style spelling?), Pralus Indonesie, Manufaktura Czekolady Java and Akesson’s 45% Bali Sukrama Fleur de Sel with Coconut Blossom Sugar, which is a staple item in our pantry and something we had in the salted chocolate session. A blog post on these will come soon!
Fingers crossed that the tasting next week with the Belyzium guys happen; their owner/founder will be in town and kindly offered to host us for the evening tasting. If that’s the case, I’ll be publishing Part 5 on Pipiltin Cocoa and Part 6 on Kakoa Chocolate simultaneously, for a better longer read.