Peru Piura Blanco 2022 Organic

Origin: Peru
Region:  Norandino
Type: National and local white varieties
Certifications:  Organic,
Year: 2022

I'll be blunt. I'm not a fan of this chocolate at 80%.  The flavors I found disjointed.  Oh, but at 67% it really turns around.  About all I'm going to say about it at 80% is that you should compare the two spider charts.  It is really clear how it changes.

Now let's talk about the 65%

This is an outlier that is either going to have you loving it or passing it by.  If you love acidity, then this is the droid you are looking for.  Aside from being rather delicate, noting its heirloom Criollo roots, the chocolate flavor is not high here but instead delicate and refined.   Knowing and trusting my source for these beans I took their advice and made this into a 67% chocolate and this is both where I found it to shine and where the tasting notes are from.

The aroma is an interesting mix of persimmon and apricot.  The immediate impression I get is one that is so very juicy and lively.  The chocolate is not very high but there is a bright, clean tartness that puts me in mind of certain lambic style beers.   The bitterness present is that of lime pith and couples well with a Persimmon astringency.   Due to being lively and dynamic  the extra sweetness of this recipe is not cloying as you might expect due to the punch of lime.  There is a very light but noticeably low nuttiness that rounds out the flavor.

The preparation is perfect on this lot. Very even and no debris to speak of.

Piura Blanco is an outlier origin because it’s literally grown in the Sechura desert and is one of the very few of a handful of legit heirloom cacao cultivars. These communities have been growing this cacao for somewhere around 1000-1300 years since the time that the Moche or their predecessors carried seeds over the Andes from an area that is the present-day border of Amazonian Ecuador and Peru. There are very narrow river/stream valleys cutting through the desert as they come down from the Andes and that’s where the communities cultivate cacao, rice, and a few other crops including mango and lime. As the European market and price sensitivity has gotten worse, they’ve been cutting down more and more cacao to plant mango and lime which have higher values in the domestic market.

These particular communities are some of the only cacao producers where no other varieties (e.g., run of the mill Trinitarios/hybrids, CCN-51) have worked their way into the mix.  By supporting this bean, you are helping the community of Puerta Pulache, to improve harvest and post-harvest process,

The color is like a dark milk chocolate from the ~30% white beans plus a portion of lavender/pink, which is the natural color mix from this cacao population - there hasn’t been a deliberate selection for white seeds. 

Roasting something that is pretty light seems to always give people trouble.  The thought (except it is wrong) is that light tasting beans should be roasted lightly.  In short, I couldn't disagree more.  It is light because that is all it has to give, not because it needs light treatment.  If you roast a bean like this too lightly or gently, you are apt to simply not develop the flavor that is there.  And the same goes for floral notes.  Don't be concerned about the floral notes going away in the roast.  Floral notes don't act that way.  So what should you do?  Well, you should roast it as aggressively as you can, with this one caveat.  Don't damage the bean.  Roast it with a sure, strong hand, but keep an nose out for sharp aromas (initial acidity of vinegar aside) and only dial back the power if you note those sharp aromas.  So, yes, you should treat this a little more gentle but that is not the same as roasting it gently.  Get the difference?  That all said, it does tend to like a moderately low end of roast temperature, in the upper 240s or lower 250s.  The main thing to keep in mind is the lower you go, the longer you need to go to rid the bean of raw astringency.

Drum Roasting

The roast profile for my evaluation was 12.5/2.75/3;45 @ 252 F.  The EOR was just a little lower than some taking into account its moderate fruit and lower chocolate levels.  Also, I kept the EOR and ramps a little lower so that peanut does not go bitter.  If you want to really lean into the bright and vibrant flavors try X/3.0/6.0 @ 242 F.

Behmor 2000AB

If you are using a Behmor, P1 to start with 2 lb will be just fine.  Be ready though to turn the power down as you start to note sharp aromas, probably pretty early on, say 12-14 minutes.   When it turns sharper near the end of the count down, you are done.  If it isn't there yet, add a bit more time (the C button for Continue, will reset your timer to 3:10) waiting for the turn of aroma.

Oven Roasting

I've been experimenting a lot recently with a less fussy way to oven roast and I find this procedure works pretty well.  It is moderately predictable, repeatable and although not as dynamic and controllable as a drum roaster, does a good job. You will need an IR thermometer.  Roast 2 lb of beans.  Preheat your oven to 350 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.  If you do find your roast is progressing too fast, adjust accordingly, starting at 325 F and/or changing your target to 260 F.  Overall you may well roast 30-40 minutes.  The important part here is to get good momentum going in a hot oven and then basically coasting to finish.