The Story of a bar:
Costa Rica 72%
HONORING STEVE DEVRIES
AMERICA'S FIRST CRAFT CHOCOLATE MAKER
Many craft chocolate makers produce unique chocolate bars. But this Costa Rican chocolate is truly special: made with beans that are 12 years old, from a plantation that no longer exists makes a chocolate that will never come around again. The intensity of the flavors will surprise you!
Finding great tasting cacao is no easy task. First of all, it depends on the genetics of the tree. Only 15% of the cacao produced in the world is considered “flavor cacao”, the ones that have the potential for a nuanced and complex flavor.
Second, good fermentation and drying practices are essential for the development of this great potential. In wooden boxes, the sweet pulp surrounding the beans begins to ferment, producing heat and chemicals that start developing the flavors of chocolate. After the beans are well fermented a careful drying process is essential for continuing to advance the complexity of flavors.
Steve DeVries was a pioneer in the world of cacao and craft chocolate. He bought his first cacao in 1999 and for the next 5 years was researching cacao and chocolate. His travels took him between European factories and libraries through producing countries in South and Central America, bringing suitcases of cacao beans (as baggage) back to his home in Denver, Colorado.
DeVries was the first craft chocolate maker in the US, and with Mott Green from Grenada one of the first 2 in the world. Steve spent 15 years refining his skills as an awarded chocolate maker at his factory in Denver.
This Costa Rican bar we are featuring is made from cacao harvested and fermented in 2009 on the Finmac farm, which produced its last harvest in 2017. Steve took these beans to Costa Rica’s high and relatively dry Central Valley, and used the abundant sunshine of San Jose to dry them. He used a centuries old drying method learned from the famous cacao village of Chuao on the north coast of Venezuela. This method is an intermittent and gentle drying, using only the heat of the morning sun and then piling up the beans for the rest of the day. In this manner the acids are efficiently released, continuing the development of the chocolate flavors.