This summer I gave a chocolate tasting seminar to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Roasters Group (MARRG), a group of engaged coffee roasting professionals interested in perfecting their craft. The retreat lasted several days and seminars covered different aspects of roasting coffee and serving specialty beverages, including cupping coffee and measuring water quality as water plays an important part in every cup of coffee.
I sought to illustrate the differences between chocolates and to let the roasters taste for themselves how different chocolates result in very different mochas. In front of each participant I placed a plate that had six pieces of dark chocolate. All had approximately the same cocoa content, between 60 percent and 70 percent.
Starting with the first piece, I asked everyone to smell the aroma. The tasters commented on detecting aromas of red fruits, such as cherry. The next test was the snap test. Did the piece break cleanly? A clean snap means that the chocolate has a high cocoa butter content and has been properly tempered. The chocolate broke in half with a sharp crack, so we moved on to taste. What were the taste characteristics when placed on the tongue? Flavors of vanilla, leather and smoke were added to those of red fruit. Did it melt in the mouth? Was the finish smooth or grainy? We analyzed each of the six pieces in turn.
The first four were single-origin...