What makes Costa Rican chocolate so good?
Making chocolate is a labor of love. From farm to table, there are nine steps in getting a delicious chocolate bar to you—andeach one is critical. A delicious chocolate depends on great cacao beans, but also how those beans are processed and how the chocolate is made.
The first step can be the hardest growing the cacao. Most of Costa Rica’s cacao is of the Trinitario variety, which represents only about 12% of the cacao produced in the world. This type of cacao typically delivers more complex and less bitter flavors, and some of it can be classified as “fine flavor.” Whether it makes the grade as fine flavor depends heavily on the next three steps.
The cacao pods, which mature at different rates, have to be harvested by hand at just the right time. And the beans have to be scooped out and placed in fermentation boxes with care. For the fermentation process to yield the best results, the right temperatures and time for aerobic and anaerobic phases are required. Drying the beans is also an essential step—too slow could lead to moldy beans, too fast could seal in some moisture.
Assuming all this has been done right, the roasting process critical. Reaching just the right temperature for just the right time will enhance all those great flavors in the bean without masking them behind a high roast. Winnowing follows, which requires removing as much of the shell as possible without losing pieces of the bean (cocoa nibs). This is an imperfect process.
Grinding and conching the beans in specialized equipment are next, which is a big moment for defining the overall quality of the chocolate. The goal is to refine the cacao pieces and sugar until the paste feels smooth and silky on the tongue, all while reducing bitterness and astringency. But that can be hard to accomplish without also losing some of the pleasant acidity. Too much conching and the chocolate will fall flat.
Finally, the tempering process is crucial to giving the chocolate all the characteristics that we love: the shine, the snap and the perfect melt in your mouth.
Every bar of Sibö Chocolate uses only the best Trinitario cacao from Costa Rica and is made with the highest standards of quality in order to deliver excellent chocolate every time. While we celebrate the unique flavors developed in each micro batch we make, we take care in monitoring all steps in the chocolate making process, in order to guarantee outstanding flavor that gets better every year.
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