by Mānoa
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Brut   (72%; Batch 51-12/13)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Hawai'i USA   (Hamakua; Menezes' Estate)
Flavor Twang   
Style Industrial      
REDUX REVIEW: In the wake of this review, originally posted in 2012, Dylan Butterbaugh of Mānoa kindly sent an updated bar that features seeds from 5 lonely trees, randomly scattered in separate backyards, on the windward side of O’ahu. Consider his bounty hunting a new category for the field: chocolate trespassing (no worries, he knows the owners).

Treated to mini micro-ferments under the guidance of Dan O’Doherty, they produced a limited edition that sport improved technique all the way around. Better for sure. And better still, no doubt, to come.

Here now the original review with periodic updates noted. The rating & metrics (upper right) apply to the 2014 release:

Over the centuries, the root/route of chocolate in the USA started with the Boston barsmiths (most notably Walter Baker & Co; indeed the earliest record of cocoa beans imported in to Colonial America occurred August 23, 1686 when the ship Adventure sailed into Boston harbor from the Caribbean island of Nevis) & moved out West to follow the fortunes of the 49er gold miners (Ghirardelli & Guittard), then zig-zagged back East to Hershey’s, PA + McLean, VA (Mars HQ), with a stop in Chicago along the way (candy companies from Brach’s to Wrigley set up operations there).

Craftswo/men like Dylan Butterbaugh & Tamara Armstrong of Mānoa producing bars alongside Madre, Seneca Klassen, Original Hawaiian, Kona Shark & others in their wake that form an industry cluster signals that the center of chocolate gravity may be shifting again… to Hawai’i.

Appearance   3.7 / 5

Color: sepia
Surface: 2012: brushed; chips; flakes
2014: clean molding
Temper: uneven (plastic wrapper transfer)
Snap: heavy-lightweight division, with enough pinholes on the edge wall to burble
Aroma   9.2 / 10
September 2012:
The Cheesecake Factory (no lie)... wafers & buttermilk biscuit underneath Philly-style cream cheese (lactic acid buildup + some LAB too -- Lactic Acid Bacteria) -> petrol fumes (drying technique or roasting?) -> once the stench blows off, a lovely perfume replaces it (the rosy longan & crips apple) atop a solid cocoa plank

December 2012:
a seeping beer-hall replete with steins of pale ale & sawdust.

multifaceted & super inviting…
cinnamon Rice Crispie®
garland perfumes & holiday pudding
ginger bread-molasses studded with cherry licorice -> chocolate mud cake
smoked spruce
Mouthfeel   11.6 / 15
Texture: 2012: gum
2014: noticeable grain
Melt: 2012: disjointed
20124 longer staying power than expected for its friable consistency
Flavor   43.4 / 50
September 2012: girding cocoa woods smoothed over by vanilla -> decidedly shifts to a resinous polymer of some plastic dimension inexorably rising to a bitter compound, then astringency, & the bar collapses to... a sour & sorry disintegration -> sinks into a molasses tar pit -> vulcanized cocoa

December 2012: from the jump Flavor copies that Aroma… the pub now lathered with butter & little spice FXs in the foam head… significantly stringent (construed as a mite rum-raisin), + a raw cocoa edge at the back, & dry Zinfandel finish.

2014: sweet dragon fruit -> mangosteen -> fine bitter finger (bitter melon aka bitter gourd fruit) -> mudpie -> sits down into a sinkhole of subsoil elements (roots / minerals) -> fiddleheads -> smoky softwoods around mushrooms / mulch -> clear / clean nut (kukul) -> stringent wipe out
Quality   15 / 20
Everything that could go wrong does.... the flaws too numerous to enumerate.

This now the 2nd bar made from Menezes' Hawaiian Crown cacáo, esteemed by local barsmiths for the best post-harvest methods on the islands. Yet neither produce good chocolate from them. Which raises questions about their quality &/or choices in the processing of them.

A complete botch, total waste, & utter miss.... the sort of hard-earned experience that cannot fail but to benefit the crew at Mānoa Chocolate going forward.

Dramatic turnabout. Pipes the acidity & bitterness way down compared to earlier batches.

A real carrier of Hawaiian essences.

Still some dirty / incomplete fermentation (that too reflects Hawai'i) & Texture leaves some to be desired but Mānoa clearly is arriving & starting to hit its stride.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed September 13, 2012
Revised December 18, 2012
Revisited September 30, 2014


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