Info Details
Country USA   
Type Nibs   
Strain Amazon   
Source Ghana   
Flavor Earthen   
Style Retro-American      
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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