In a previous blog I mentioned trying different cacao beans specifically for brewing. However, over the past few months I have been enjoying eating the beans by themselves. I liken the experience to eating all the goodness of chocolate in a compact form, the bean. Hence, it makes it easy to travel (no concerns about it melting or taking up too much space in your bag), and they are bitesize and ready to snack on.
Once again, I have no idea how to purchase beans online since I have no way to smell or look at the beans beforehand. I had to “trust” that the claims made on Amazon were accurate. We all know that can be like playing the game “Russian Roulette”; it could be really good or it could be really bad. But for the sake of scientific experimentation, this seemed like a worthy cause.
As you can see from the pictures, the Yupik and Creo beans that I discussed in a previous blog post were included in this sampling. Since I shared information on them in a previous blog post, I won’t cover them here. [Click here to read that blog post.] Instead, I decided I would focus on the best of the new batch of beans.
So, let’s start with Chocovivo’s 16 oz bag of cacao beans from Mexico. Information on the beans from the Amazon posting state:
Raw organic cacao beans minimally fermented to allow for less acidic and less bitter beans.
Perfect! I thought this would be a great place to start.
These beans were incredibly light in color in comparison to beans I have had in the past. The color and shape of these beans look like a cross between toasted corn nuts and blanched almonds because of their flat sides. The scent that emanated from the bag upon opening was that of barn hay. Texture wise, they were soft and a little juicy and tasted a bit like almonds and hazelnuts with an earthy base. It was nearly impossible to separate the shell from the bean. Fortunately the shell is very soft and practically melts in your mouth, making it very easy to eat the whole bean. These beans were not what I expected, yet I really enjoyed them. I could see this being eaten as a snack just as you would with nuts, and with its flavor profile I can imagine it being a good compliment to mole or some kind of savory dish.
[Caution: As always, be careful with raw beans (a.k.a., unroasted beans) as they may contain Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and other potentially harmful bacteria as there may not have been any form of sterilization to kill the bacteria.]
The other beans I that were tasty were the popular Terrasoul Superfoods Raw Organic Criollo Cacao beans. I was curious about these beans as I’ve seen these at the natural foods grocery store and online.
The Terrasoul website provided the following description:
Our certified organic cacao beans are grown and harvested from the fertile soils of Peru, where they are washed, fermented, and sun-dried at low temperatures to preserve all of their natural enzymes. They are perfectly crunchy with a slightly earthy and nutty flavor, making them delicious to eat straight from the bag, or added to your favorite sweet or savory dish. 'Food of the Gods' indeed!
On Amazon it stated that this 1 pound bag came with a:
100% Money-Back Satisfation Guarantee - We stand behind our products and offer a 30-day money back guarantee, backed by an outstanding customer service team.
I figured I can’t go wrong with a guarantee like that. Fortunately, I didn’t have to exercise that option.
These beans had a sweet, fruity, nutty, vinegar scent with a bit of spiciness that reminded me of spiced fruit cake. The fruity aroma was enticing as it was like a tropical fruit basket comprised of banana, mango, and papaya. The beans were fairly consistent looking, however the shell was a bit of a challenge to remove. Nevertheless, that did not determine me from eating them whole, shell and all. The beans had a tinge of astringency, like raw almonds. Overall, they tasted a little tangy, nutty, and earthy.
I am on the lookout for more cacao beans to try. Some beans that I have recently come across that have piqued my interest are from Fiji Rakiraki that claim to taste like cashew butter, raspberry jam and vanilla, as well as some beans from Vietnam Ben Tre Fermentary with tasting notes of dried fig, nutmeg, and molasses.
Do you have any suggestions? Please connect with me if you do, as I am eager to travel the world through tasting cacao beans!