Peru Sisa Direct Trade 2024

Origin: Peru

Region: North Peru – San Martin, El Dorado

Type: Local natives mixed with Criollos and Trinitarios

Year: 2024

Tasting Notes

The crowd seems to be split here in groups that either love it and can't get enough or those that find it disjointed and unbalanced.  How can that be?  Just have a look at the hophead lovers of the PNW IPA lovers club.  I personally don't care for IPA's.  The citrusy bitterness and astringency just isn't for me but local tap houses have 50% IPA's for a reason.

The chocolate aroma is solid chocolate and a hint of lime.  Straight out of the gate you are going to have lime in both acidity and astringency.  As that wave passes I get sassafras root and lime pith.  At the level of sweetness of our evaluation chocolate I don't find as much sweetness as I like.  Not unlike lemonade, I think this sings as a 60-65% chocolate where the sugar can help round everything out.

The linger flavors are both the lime astringency and some leather like earthiness.  It is certainly not a common combination and you won't be forgetting it any time soon.

These beans come from the San Martin department, specifically within the province of El Dorado, furthermore within the district of ‘San Jose de Sisa’ which is roughly 300 square km. San Jose De Sisa is home to roughly 14000 people. This area is prominently mountains, that are about 300-600 meters above sea level, with various native communities. The native communities in this area are the ‘Quechua Lamista’ (they like to call themselves ‘Llacuash’).

The co-operatives are paid above market farmgate price. Harvesting is always very important, only ripe pods are harvested. The quality is consistent, reliable, and always improving. The cooperative we work with in Sisa buys cacao from more than 250 producers.

The fermentation is done in wooden boxes over a span of 6-7 days, with rotation of the beans done every day after the first 2 days. After a very well controlled box fermentation the cacao then gets transferred to mounds- stirring the mounds for 2-4 days depending on how much sun exposure there is, then dispersing the mounds over the tarped floor or drying shelf to finish drying. Total drying is typically 7 days… ~2 in direct sunlight and the rest under cover.

Drum Roasting

The roast profile for my evaluation was 12:20/14:45/18;45 @ 253 F.  I found you don't really want this roast too terribly fast.  2 minutes in the development phase is too much.  Likewise, it does not love a higher EOR temperature, tasting nicer in the mid 250s.  If you want to really lean into the bright and vibrant flavors try X/3.0/6.0 @ 248 F.

Behmor 2000AB

If you are using a Behmor, P1 to start with 2 - 2.5 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 finish.