Peru Marañón Direct Trade 2024 - Archive

Origin: Peru

Region: Marañón

Type: Nacional

Year: 2024

At this point it is pretty old news about this  "rarest bean in the world". It is notable as it contains a bit pure white National from Peru? Just like much of the mystique around Criollo, this bean too has tons of mystique around it. Some people say it’s the best thing ever. Others are totally underwhelmed. Some talk about whether or how it is ‘Pure Nacional’ or whether it matters. Others call it the Peruvian Porcelano. It’s said to contain 40-60% white cacao and at a cursory look, I'd call that about right.  The nibs as a whole show a marked lightness from even Criollo I've seen. 

The  first thing we need you to do is set your mind and taste filters to ‘mild’. I’ve read some reviews from people, who once again equated rare and special and pure with overpoweringly amazing came away underwhelmed if not actively disappointed.

This year I have a new source of Maranon and it came with a bolder chocolate flavor and inherent sweetness.

The roasted bean aroma is nutty and biscuit like. The chocolate aroma is herbaceous and nutty with a light chocolate note. The chocolate is basically without bitterness or astringency  and delightfully creamy. The fruit flavor gives me the impression of creamy, tropical cherimoya.  I love the mouth feel. Very buttery and mellow. Although many Nacional are floral, I can’t say I note any in this chocolate. The lasting impression I am left with is milk chocolate covered cashews with just a touch of clean, earthy loam.


This is the cacao that motivated Antony Bourdain and Erick Ruppert to come search in Peru.

These beans come from the valleys of the Marañon river, accepted by many as one of the earliest varieties from which many of the modern varieties are derived from. This valley is in the North Amazonian mountains, between the Cajamarca and Amazonas departments.

The Marañon bean, also known to include under its umbrella Fortunato No. 4, is cultivated around 900 to 1300 masl. This unique name’s origin is attributed to when genetic tests where being conducted by the USDA on the leaves of one of the cacao trees that were taken from the Fortunato family farm. From various different cacao tree leaf samples the USDA had; the Fortunato sample was the 4th tested… hence “Fortunato No. 4”

The Marañon cacao is very unique because it has survived the test of time…because of the steep valley walls of the Marañon canyon, the cacao in its valley has been isolated from other genetic influences for many centuries.

The cacao undergoes a very well controlled box fermentation, usually 7 days in length. The cacao then gets transferred to mounds – stirring the mounds for 2-4 days depending on how much sun exposure there is, then the mounds get dispersed over the tarped floor to finish drying. Total drying is typically 7 days… but may be longer or shorter depending on the weather. (If there are rains it gets covered).

Drum Roasting

The roast profile for my evaluation was 10:45/13:10/16;55 @ 254 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 nut does not go bitter.  If you want to really lean into the bright and vibrant flavors try X/3.0/6.0 @ 248 F but you will probably sacrifice some chocolate and balance.

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 10-12 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

This method is moderately predictable, repeatable and although not as dynamic and controllable as a drum roaster, does a good enough job.

You will need an IR thermometer and should roast 2 lb of beans. If you roast less, reduce your preheat to 325 F.  Don't roast more.

  • 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 255 + ~15 = 270 and continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes until approximately 255 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 250 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 fini