I hope everyone has had a fantastic summer and welcome to the beginning of Fall.  That means new cocoa and getting ready for the busy time of the year.  And believe it or not, that means starting to think about Halloween and even the Christmas/Yule/Winter holiday of your choice.  And for that, I've got a bunch of new beans to choose from. It’s always exciting for me when I get to sample of a new crop of beans or better yet, an origin I've never had.  The first the anticipatory aroma of the raw beans, the delicate 'clack' as  I heft some in my hand, and then finally, the enveloping smells of roasting; anticipating at each step what the finished product will taste like.

These are exciting beans, picked by none other than yours truly, after looking at way too many samples from around the world over the past few months.  By now, I would hope you know where my standards are, so be assured these are the cream of the crop.  And if you are into brewing cocoa, I’ve developed a new blend, including a mysterious one that started out as Anakin but ended up much darker…read on....

First, two new beans:

Dominican Republic Riog RFA/Org 2014 Mouth watering.  Just go read about it.  There is too much to tell here! Jamaican 2014 -  RAISIN and RUM!!!!

Some returning favorites:

Belize Organic 2014.  The new crop is in and beautiful. Bolivia Organic 2014  Also the new crop and as nice as ever. Peru FT/Org 2014.  A great old friend

And a couple that are outside of my norm.  I mention the samples I go through to offer you what I do.  Some people have this romantic notion of me tasting tantalizing cocoa and chocolate, day in and day out...and sometimes it is...but sometimes it's just one of those dirty jobs you have to push through.  No really.  I'm serious.  You have no idea how bad some cocoa can be and that it is used day in day out by some large companies to make what some people consider chocolate.  And honestly, I have to give some of them credit.  I couldn't make good chocolate out of these.  Ok, so some isn't good, but it's still better than I could make these taste.   So I want to share (inflict?) a couple samples with you.  May I present two terrible beans, with really great pedigrees, really lovely origins and organic to boot!

Ugh!! Cocoa beans

Uhg #1  Fuzzy, musty and funky with hints of skunk, motor oil and musk! Uhg #2  Diesel fuel and mold with layers of astringent, sour bitterness

Go right ahead, jump on them before they are gone!  Seriously, they are for sale, but only $1/lb...with a 1 lb limit (no one deserves more than that, maybe I'll offer less)...just enough to cover my time and materials.  It really is worth seeing what's out there and what you can get if you don't have someone looking out for you.  But don't make chocolate out of them.  Please.

On an up note, I have a new batch of Testing and Evaluation beans in.  There is only a little, so please share and play nice and don't ask for a full bag.  Thanks.

Plus I have added the Riog as a Brewing cocoa (Roasted a touch darker than average)

And have the third expression in the Alchemist's Blend Series -

Shot in the Dark.  Mocha without the coffee, and a great intro to Brewing cocoa if you are a coffee lover like me.

Finally, keep an eye out for a bunch of new hobby grade molds.  Great for getting started and for gifts.