Cocoa Nuts

by Kokoa Kamili
Info Details
Country Tanzania   
Type Beans   
Strain Blend   
Source Tanzania   (Morogoro; Kilombero Valley)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   
Style Old School      
What must Customs be thinking?

Almost daily the C-spot® receives a parcel, including some from all over the world, even from the most far-flung places. Far more than can be reported to, you, loyal C-spotters (sorry). The goods can experience delays coming into the USA thanks to 9-11 security measures.

Take this shipment from a remote corner of Tanzania in East Africa, a neighboring country to Kenya where the mall massacre drew a response by U.S. Navy Seals in nearby Somalia up the coast.

Sooner or later one of these would be bound to prompt a call from the CBP -- the Customs & Border Protection of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security... show more »
Appearance   4.5 / 5
a motley mix of smalls & jumbos with midsize in between
flats & rounds
fairly thick / papery husks; easy-to-peel save for the mid-flats
moisture content varies according to size (from dry to slightly damp along the small-to-large continuum)
Color: copper / russet skins; nuts uniformly dark with a variant at chocolate brown to midnight black; no slats observed
Surface: clean
Temper: parched skins; antique buffed nuts
Snap: n/a
Aroma   7.3 / 10
burly ale
just fills the hallways leading to the nasal passages
intoxication follows

calms down into more traditional acetic acid (vinegar)... yep, this might make a good salad dressing indeed
Mouthfeel   12.6 / 15
Texture: quite pliable
Melt: spongey
Flavor   45.1 / 50
coffee warmed by clove leads onto a wooden-balsamic scent (of clove's myrtle / myrtaceae relative eucalyptus + muhuhu wood with its intrinsic sweetness similar to vetiver) -> brief purple fruit (huckleberry) -> banana -> green things -- vines & fronds & edible leaves -- beautifully measured -> white vinegar over savory umami points -> greased bitter, very little bite, just a vapor of it, in a radicchio guise -> supple banana cashew-cream -> draft beer at the back -> lite cocoa linger
Quality   17.3 / 20
In early Autum 2012, the C-spot® received a letter from a researcher working on a cocoa project in Tanzania (TZ) with the Ministry of Agriculture. Part of its mission involved a great deal of research on the history of cocoa in TZ. He kindly wrote that the C-spot's® Tanzania section of The Chocolate Atlas is "impressively accurate", doubly so given the dearth of information on the subject.

Better yet, he generously offered some helpful & much appreciated edits.

So when this same person called about sampling some fruits of their labor, well, there was no reason to pass this up & every reason to expect good produce.

Greetings... in the form of assiduously-harvested cocoa from East Africa's first commercial fermentary / premium export company (as opposed to the large non-profit co-ops to the southwest) founded by Simran Bindra & Brian LoBue: Kokoa Kamili.

Kamili in Kiswahili means "Exact / Perfect". They chose the name to reflect their focus on quality, as well as a commitment to transparency & honesty with growers often exploited by middlemen.

Fair-Trade & other organizations that sell stamps: where are you?

The duo behind Kamili converted an old bar / dancehall in the Kilombero Valley of Morogoro for their processing center. Judging by Color & Taste, they ferment thoroughly during a 6-day cycle.

Drying could perhaps stand a slight augmentation as both the peeling of the husks & the Texture indicate, at least for some of the nuts (particularly the flat mid-sized ones which dry slower than smaller seeds & have a different surface area ratio than the rounded jumbos). A few of those seem more moist than the 7% target.

The overall flavor is quite easy & appetizing for an unadorned cocoa nut. So mild in fact it might translate only meekly into finished chocolate. It should however allow for a high-percentage bar -- upper 70s to 80%.

Simran & Brian labor very much in the experimental stage at this point with various buying, fermentation, & drying systems. Already they've come upon protocols that give them every reason to be justifiably proud. And, moreover, hopeful for the future.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa nuts

Reviewed October 23, 2013


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