Learn how each part of the chocolate making process influences the unique flavour profiles of each of our single origin bars.

 

Auro Cacao Partner Farmers hold out cacao pods harvested from their farm

One of the most exciting things about single origin chocolate is discovering the unique flavour profile that each bar would be able to offer. A 70% chocolate bar from two different origins could taste entirely different and at times, bars from the same origin can also vary in flavour notes because of the different protocols followed. Both experiences are something we have always aimed to showcase especially with our Reserve Collection, most notably with our Saloy and Paquibato bars.  

But what exactly makes the flavours of each single origin bar we make unique?      

Variety is one of the important factors in the equation. Previously, we talked about how Mesoamerican Criollo was said to be the first variety to arrive in the Philippines and propagated all over the country [1]. But eventually, we were introduced to new varieties of Trinitario and Forastero, whether to help provide alternatives to combat cacao diseases, or as a gift to help improve yield of cacao pods. The diversity this offered gave way to even more interesting flavour profiles.

Today, while some varieties are more dominant than others, there is a general diversity in each cacao farm we visit - some of them offering unique and rarely found trees that makes the chocolates produced from their cacao even more interesting. To add to that, the general terroir also influences the notes we get to taste from the chocolate we make from them.

After the varieties, one of the most significant parts of the journey is the post-harvest process. In going beyond tree to bar, we wanted to closely involve ourselves  in every step of the chocolate making process which entails committing ourselves to consistency, quality, innovation and social impact.  All of our beans are directly sourced, allowing us to become partners with farming communities and work together to create and maintain good quality beans at higher prices. From this close relationship, we are able to help identify good varieties of beans from new origins in the country whose flavour potential we were excited to explore.

 

 The Auro Chocolate Team, Farmers, and Dr. Zoi Papalexandratou during a visit to Davao.

In processing our beans, we currently work with Dr. Zoi Papalexandratou of Zoto Cocoa Consultancy in Belgium on the development of bespoke post-harvest protocols that can bring out the maximum flavour potential of the beans we source. Our work with them started in 2018 with the goal to understand the cacao genetics of our partner farms and to develop unique protocols that enable us to consistently create distinct, fine quality cacao products. With the help of Dr. Zoi, we were able to bring out a wide range of flavours from different varieties and origins of cacao through the new fermentation processes. This is demonstrated from the differences in the flavours of our single estate and single variety beans.

 

Flavour Graph of Auro Chocolate Cacao

Figure 1. Flavour Graph of Auro Chocolate Cacao

   
The following are just some of the unique cacao beans that we have developed with her help:
Davao Blend

DAVAO BLEND

Estate: Davao, Philippines

No. of Farms: 3 - 5 farms

Flavour Notes: Walnut, Toast, Honey/Maple, Tamarind

Trinitario Blend

 

Our Davao Blend represents the dominant flavours of the region of Davao del Sur. The cacao beans used for Davao are varieties that are commonly found in the area evoking flavour notes of walnut, toast, honey, and maple.

 

 

Mana Blend

MANA

Estate: Saloy, Davao, Philippines

No. of Farms: 15 - 16 farms

Flavour Notes: Purple Flowers, Cherries, Rum, Caramelized Apple, Sweet Banana, Sweet Pumpkin, Cashew Apple

Forastero Trinitario Blend

 

The word “mana” in Filipino means “inheritance.” We have named our blend as such as the community we source it from, Saloy, Davao, are primarily made up of generations of cacao farmers with a rich history. The beans from their farms have rich flavours of purple flowers, cherries, rum, caramelized apple, sweet banana, sweet pumpkin, and cashew apple.

 

Paquibato Blend

PAQUIBATO

Estate: Paquibato Davao

No. of Farms: 100 - 150 farms

Flavour Notes: Forest Valley Flowers, Dark Honey, Caramelized Nuts, Peach, Citrus

Trinitario Blend 

 

Auro Chocolate and Jose Saguban of Paquibato made history by winning the first ever Top 20 best cacao beans in the world for the Philippines during the 2019 International Cocoa Awards (ICA).

Our Paquibato blend hail from a special community where more farmers are focusing on cacao farming to help break the cycle of conflict. With an abundance of coconut and other fruit trees, they grow some of the best cacao in the Philippines.  Their beans have rich flavours of forest valley flowers, dark honey, caramelized nuts, peach, and citrus.


These are just a few of the cacao beans we offer. You can check out even more information about our other cacao beans at our  website.


 The flavours we are able to share through chocolate is, essentially, showcasing the diverse varieties we have and bespoke protocols we apply. It’s not an exaggeration to say that by tasting single origin chocolate, we are given a glimpse of the history of the land, the crops and cacao it is home to, and the people who have helped shape it into the fine chocolate we know today.  


[1] Clarence-Smith, W.G.. (2000). Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765 - 1914. Oxfordshire: Routledge.