• Our rating: 78.5% (1 review)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 70%
  • Guide Price:
  • Description by: Alex Rast
  • Production: Maker sourced beans, chocolate made elsewhere
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin

The gentle acidity of the white criollo bean is followed by notes of raisin and prune. As the intensity lessens, note the aftertaste of tobacco and liquorice.

Cacao Sampaka – La Joya—Chocolate Review Rating: 78.5% out of 100 based on 1 reviews.

Cacao Sampaka – La Joya

An interesting origin claiming to be “white Criollo”. Is this another name for Porcelana? Probably the question of bean label is best left aside, for certainly the “Porcelana” designation has been overstretched in recent years, and Sampaka are certainly not making any claims in that regard (which, it must be said, is refreshing) Made presumably by Chocovic, it appears, nonetheless, to be exclusive to Sampaka (at least in this formulation) and features a distinctive packaging that clearly marks it as higher-end than Sampaka’s “regular” offerings. On this basis it must surely be the most exciting of the Sampaka range.


Alex Rast: 9-Oct-2010

Posted: October 9, 2010 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
Best before:
Batch num:
Supplied by:

A fairly strong hype factor in the packaging, perhaps, inevitably disappoints with a chocolate that is certainly solidly within the boundaries of fine chocolate but is nothing exceptional. Interesting flavours, just not well-balanced or modulated, so that the effect is more of a random sampling of potential chocolate flavour components than a coherent interpretation. The baffling “sensory profile” radar chart printed on the box does nothing to clarify matters – e.g. what does “surprising” mean? – and hints at perhaps what’s going on here: a chocolate-maker struggling to find a consistent interpretative system in which to place and then produce chocolate from interesting, quality sources.

One doesn’t need to open the package to see what the chocolate looks like: the window in the box and internal plastic wrapper reveal all to the buyer beforehand. The use of the plastic wrapper being perhaps a questionable choice, nonetheless the appearance justifies it, perhaps: this is chocolate finished to near-perfection. A light red-tan colour and almost complete absence of moulding defects eloquently testify to good beans well-handled.

The aroma is also promising, reminiscent in some ways of Domori with a powerful spicy pungency of cinnamon and that beefy note Domoris often have. Hints of pepper and raisin suggest almost daunting power, although there is an alarming but detectable rubbery trace. The flavour starts out well, with raspberries and cream, suggesting a Porcelana-type if nothing else, but then rather loses its way. Alternating strands of citrus and woody fight each other, then an even more bizarre combination of raisin and cayenne takes over. Winey hints in the finish add to the puzzlement, but this along with a consistent sourness suggest the issues: overzealous ferment, followed by overly timid roasting and conching. It’s as if they found a great source and were so afraid of losing any flavours in processing that they became timid. This could be the hesitancy of inexperience, yet assuming Chocovic is behind the actual processing, it’s a bit of a surprise unless they were blindly following orders from Sampaka.

Melt is not as good as the finish might suggest, although certainly adequate: it’s very smooth and reasonably creamy, but has something of an austere quality about it, a hint of resistance. In truth, a coarser finish might have seemed better in any case, because the very experimental character of the flavour would pair better with a more primitive texture. Still, the truth here is that this chocolate needs more processing, not less. As is, it’s just a bit too challenging, too much for the senses to absorb without becoming lost. Not a bad product, but for a top-of-the-line bar, Sampaka ought to be presenting something a little more sophisticated.

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