Monday, July 13, 2015

Pump Street Bakery - 100% Ecuador bar - July 13, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pump Street Bakery
Ecuador 100% - Guantupi 2013 Havest (bar)
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) for 1 oz. (28.3 g.) piece of bar
Cost: $13.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: ZombieRunner, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #9 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

One of the best ways to learn about chocolate is to sample a few 100% cacao dark chocolate bars. Experience chocolate without the sugar; this is cacao in its pure, dark state.

Today's Ecuador 100% - Guantupi 2013 Harvest (bar) (Batch #4712) was made from scratch by The Pump Street Bakery, a small family owned bakery and cafe in the U.K. They buy beans from the farmer, and after cleaning the beans, roast them in their bread oven(s), then grind beans and conch chocolate at their bakery location.

Yesterday, I tried Pump Street Bakery's Ecuador 75% - Guantupi 2014 Harvest (bar). The beans in today's 100% Guantupi 2013 bar came from the same plantation/farm in Ecuador as the beans used to make the 75% bar, but the harvests were one year apart. There are many potential variations between craft batches (e.g. roasting and conching times might have been slightly different), making this both vexing and delightful to consumers and makers alike. So even if the same beans were used, there may be variations possible between single region bars.*

The 100% bar had a faint aroma, and very uniformly dark bitter coffee flavor, whereas the 75% bar seemed to have more complex smell (slight fruit, even a tiny bit of spice?) and flavor. Could that really be just because of the sugar? It's hard to tell without a direct, side-by-side comparison (same batch -- one with sugar, and one without).

Both bars broke with a nice clean, hard snap (a sign of a good temper), and were quite smooth in texture. Both had uniform dark flavor -- with a somewhat bitter, dark roasted coffee flavor in both. Both had good, almost creamy (but not overly so) balanced texture.

Today's 100% bar was very well executed (no small feat) and interesting to taste, but was a bit too bitter for me.

*Additional Notes:

This would be a great 100% bar to add to a plate of other 100% bars for comparison taste testing. Also interesting, if possible, would be a side-by-side tasting with a bar made with cocoa beans from the same harvest (year, farm and batch #) and roasting and conch times, but with some added sugar, i.e. not 100% but same origin conditions.

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