Cacao Flavor Profiles
We are cacao farmers, not chocolate makers. But the longer we dedicate our lives to our cacao trees, the more we are convinced about a few very important things: the natural circumstances, the fermentation and the care for our trees maybe do have stronger influences on the flavor of the final product, the chocolate than the process of chocolate making itself.
Describing the flavor of cacao is constantly evolving. Special terminology is used to fill in the range of perceived flavors, aromas and general characteristics of our beloved beans. If you read a flavor profile, it almost looks like alchemy.
The first decisive influence on the flavor of cacao is coming from mother nature. We notice that the special volcanic, red soil in our province must be the reason for the profound taste of our beans. It is so different from the beans we tested in both Thailand and Vietnam. Other elements like the altitude (we are 550 meters above sea level) and the humidity are playing a role too.
But despite the natural circumstances we could still screw it up. However, we refuse to seek salvation in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These products might have a short-term positive influence on the growth of the trees and the pods but we are convinced that it has an opposite effect on the flavor of the cacao bean.
Fermentation is perhaps the most crucial element in the subtle development of the flavor. We know now for instance that the temperature in the ferment boxes should not go higher than 48 degrees Celsius. The color could become nicer, redder. But the taste becomes slightly sourer.
We were very happy with the flavor profile that the company Daarnhouwer , one of the oldest traders in cacao, spices, and coffee put together for us. ‘Nutty’, ‘Fresh Fruit’ and ‘Cocoa’ are the main attributes to the flavor of our Cambodian cacao. ‘
ARETE FINE CHOCOLATE
We also received a flavor profile by Arete Chocolate makers in Tenessee, USA. They took it a step further and tested our cacao beans by roasting it on three different temperatures. They described the result as follows:
Low Roast: Mildest in flavor, the most complex. Mild astringency, but not unpleasant. Nutty. Deep fudge.
Medium Roast: Brighter in flavor than the low roast. Fruit notes begin to emerge. Fruity, raisin, tobacco. Less nutty.
High Roast: Least complex of the roasts. Deeper fudge flavor. Mild bitterness, nuttier than the medium roast. Fruit notes similar to the medium roast but milder, less intense.
COCOA OF EXCELLENCE
We also sent our beans to the Cocoa of Excellence Programme in Paris. It is the first time that cacao beans from Cambodia compete with beans from the 66 other countries and regions where cocoa is grown. One of these months we will hear if our beans are selected for the event in October this year.
Who is Kamkav Farm?
Kamkav Farm produces the very first cocoa in the history of Cambodia. They are located in the ‘wild east,’ in the remote, hilly province Mondulkiri, with huge waterfalls and wild elephants roaming the deep forests. Almost half of the employees of Kamkav Farm are Phnong tribal members. At the end of 2019, Kamkav Farm will receive an organic NOP and EOS certification.
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