Tasting our Hawai‘ian bean-to-bar chocolate at home? Here are some chocolate tasting tips that will make your experience feel almost like you are right here with us in Honoka‘a town.
Temperature: Chocolate should be consumed at room temperature, but never expose it to temperatures greater than about 85F or it risks losing its temper. Not to be confused with state of mind, temper is what gives chocolate it’s desirable smooth, shiny finish, the snap when you break a piece from a bar, and what keeps it from melting in your hand.
Fragrance: Before tasting, smell the chocolate. Some bars are very fragrant, with scents of bright fruits, and others have very little fragrance.
Melt, Don’t Munch: Similar to wine tasting, you want to expose all parts of your palate to the sample in order to experience all of the flavors. Different parts of your palate are responsible for sensing different flavors.
Mouthfeel: Some words that we use to describe how chocolate feels in our mouth include smooth, chalky, grainy, and gummy. These are all related to the particle size of the cocoa solids. Perfectly smooth chocolate has a particle size range of 20 to 30 microns, just slightly smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Larger than this and the mouthfeel becomes chalky and grainy. When particles are refined to less than 10 microns, they start to stick to your palate and the chocolate becomes gummy.
Flavor: Remember that there are three main flavors in the chocolate tasting experience - opening, middle and finish. We all experience flavors differently due to variables such as age, culture and lifestyle, so there are no wrong answers.
Aroma: Breathe in through your mouth and exhale through your nose. This is a combination of flavor and fragrance.
Palate cleansing: Have a glass of room temperature water ready to cleanse palate between chocolates, or use our suggested pairings if you’re feeling adventurous!