Ecuador - Palo Santo - Organic 2023

Origin: Ecuador - Palo Santo

Type: Nacional

Certs: Organic

Crop: 2023

Flavor Notes:

The aroma starts off with higher notes of lively lemon and citrus peel.  There is chocolate and sweet nut aromas in a subtle way too. Going around the chart, there is a very soft malic acidity.  Given the citrus aroma and flavor you might expect a higher acidity but it isn't there.  There is the slightest bitter edge of citrus rind and a classic lemon zest astringency.  It rounds off with a creamy mouth feel, light resinous wood and a soft sweet fresh date in the aftertaste.

I would recommend keeping the chocolate you make with this on the slighter sweeter side.  Where I evaluate it, at 80%, can be a bit much for some and it is missing some balance.  In the 65-70% range I find it really shines.

Hacienda Palo Santo, is a cocoa and derivatives farm located on the Cerecita Valley near the Ecuadorian coast, one hour away from Guayaquil.   Palo Santo is owned and daily managed by a family of agronomist who has been involved in the cocoa production since the past three generations, developing innovative production techniques to protect resources and increase.

Due to how the beans responded to heat, i.e. it got bitter when it was not turned down when it smelled sharp, I recommend keeping the EOR temperature pretty low so it does not go extra bitter.  To assure there is not a raw astringency taste you want to draw the Finishing phase out past the minimum 3 minute mark to make sure there is full heat penetration and a development of the inherent sweetness, not less than 4 minutes and 6 is ok.

Profile Drum Roasting:   Pay attention to the aroma here.  It will signal you by smelling sharp if you are giving it too much heat. As I mentioned above, make sure you give it a nice long finish, 5-6 minutes and keep the EOR under 255 F.  The profile I used for this is 12:30/15:15/21:25 @ 252 F

You can certainly roast this to a lower temperature but you want to keep the Finishing phase around 5 minutes for full, deep heat penetration and astringency mitigation.

Behmor:  Due to the cold start of the the Behmor, you can just set it on the 1 lb setting with 2.5 lb of cocoa and go.  When you begin getting aromatic notes, somewhere around 4 minutes left (14 minutes elapsed of the 18 minute start) drop the power to P3 (50% power) and continue roasting for about another 6-8 minutes, waiting for the aroma to either decrease or get sharp.  This is all of course if you don't have a thermocouple in the beans (Modifying your Behmor) If you have that you can follow the profiles above.

Oven Roasting: You will need an IR thermometer.  Roast 2 lb of beans.  Preheat your over to 325 F.  Place your cocoa beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and into the oven. Stir the beans at 5 minutes and check the temperature.  Continue roasting until the surface temperature reads 205-215 F (it may well vary across the beans).  At that point, turn your oven down 10-15 F above your target EOR, in this case 250 + ~15 = 265 and continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes until approximately 250 F.  Again, there will be variation but the beauty of this method is having turned the oven down it is difficult to over roast.  The important part here is to get good momentum going in a hot oven and then basically coasting to finish.  You may not get much chocolate or brownie aroma with this one.