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Info Details
Country USA   
Type Nibs   
Strain Amazon   
Source Ghana   
Flavor Earthen   
Style Retro-American      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
The countryside around Ghana’s capital of Accra sports innumerable anthills, indeed the city derives its name from Nkran or "ants" in the r-Akan language.

Streethawkers could probably sell these nibs alongside with ants. Huh?

People the world over eat insects (entomophagists) – raw, fried, marinated or, just like cocoa, dry-roasted – from grasshoppers to lobsters. Bugs provide a good source of protein, are easy to find, & take up less space than cattle. They can be raised in a tiny apartment &, unlike house pets, there’s no manure forking or veterinary emergencies!

Fact: bugs often infest stockpiles of cocoa beans (on average 80 microscopic insect fragments per 100g;)... might even be the secret key ingredient to chocolate flavor.

‘Amano Ants’ – c’mon, get yummy. Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations fame would.
Appearance   4.8 / 5
Color: ranges from true choc-brown to dark tree bark
Surface: good sized chunks / wood chips
Temper: flat w/ fuzz
Snap: n/a
Aroma   8.9 / 10
big banana dipped in cocoa dust -> kola nuts rubbed in shea butter lotion verging on cream -> baobab fruit pulp (think apple / lemon spritz over bauxite & manganese)
Mouthfeel   10.3 / 15
Texture: drier ‘n dustier than a harmattan wind blowing in from the Sahara Desert
Melt: irritable w/ macro-crunch (shell fragments)
Flavor   36.1 / 50
Nut ‘n Honey Cereal™ -> brief almond passes to banana-pistachio -> bitter brings nut shells -> slight acidity / minerality -> humus groundswell -> gets a little buggy / exoskeleton -> corrects to green walnut -> bitter returns (water pepper containing rutin) w/ camphor & the cycle repeats until all turns wooden -> trace baobab pulp at the very back recesses
Quality   15.8 / 20
A superb beginning that ends on barely tolerable. Only residual, & then again only latent, cocoa flavor throughout. A nib that misses to get the full handle on their beans.

Ghana cacáo, ever more a mixed-blood crop with increased hybrids, still retains the predominantly Amelonado-type which can contain some of the highest cacáo-butter content in the species – upwards of 60%. And that fat goes some distance in controlling an otherwise dirty, angry, bitter tannin.

Overall aromatics however point to a bean that could produce classic ‘Earth-cocoa’ in a bar. Why Amano refrains from introducing a Ghana in chocolate form is befuddling since it would provide one of the few bars in its line-up that shows greater ‘chocolarity’ or straighforward chocolate-flavor free of the many overtones that characterize this label.

ING: cocoa nibs

Reviewed Autumn 2010

  

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