Comparing tea and chocolate tasting

For general/other topics related to tea.

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Oct 29th 15 9:12 am
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Comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by john.b » Oct 29th 15 9:12 am

I just finished a more interesting than average blog post comparing tea and chocolate tasting:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... sting.html

The only way this would really work is to get direct input from someone that is the reviewer equivalent for chocolate as many people who might be more familiar here are for tea, which I did. As would generally be known amongst tea enthusiasts just because someone writes about tea they aren't necessarily the best reference for judging it, and the opposite is also true, just because someone doesn't write or publish that doesn't mean they're not either an expert or else quite knowledgeable. But it had to be a blogger, the chocolate "expert," to make the expertise more available.

I found the right person and the content came together. To me it's very informative related to tasting in general (palate development, etc.), the same kind of ideas one would experience after years of going overboard with tea, it just works out some issues are common. Aside from the content about chocolate being new to me (regions, types) some ideas about tasting were slightly different, about subjective preference changing over time, not just immediate preference for a type but also judgment. That reviewer, Lisabeth, is also a chocolate chef, or else she probably wouldn't have been able to dig so deep into tasting issues.

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Oct 29th 15 10:51 am
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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by kuánglóng » Oct 29th 15 10:51 am

Nice article, John. Once we're at it ... dark chocolate ages beautifully. I've got some 7-10 year old belgian, swiss and german stuff in my stash - a rare treat.

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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by debunix » Oct 29th 15 3:41 pm

I was just reading this thread and the linked blog post and happened to bump my morning cup of hot chocolate and some spilled not only over the rim, but into the Flower of Forgetfulness (crackle-glazed tea bowl from Petr Novak). My morning routine for years has included a small cup of hot chocolate, prepared by melting a mix of Scharffenberger's 99% and 70% chocolates in hot milk, as well as tea, and varying cereal, toast, etc. I love to go back and forth between the chocolate and the tea, sip of one, sip of the other, enjoying the play of the flavors against each other. I would never mix both in a formal tasting, but there can be lovely harmonies and counterpoints, especially with some greens like gyokuro, and today's Tai Ping Hou Kui.

BUT......I just want to report that a mixture of very dilute hot chocolate in splendid TPHK is not good. Sigh.

Fortunately, a rinse of the unhappy liquid, and order is restored, the rest of the chocolate and tea were each enjoyed in their proper alternating order, rather then mixed together, and peace reigns again over the tea table, although there is still a scrubbing to come of the last bits of spilled chocolate from the table.

70% SB has long been my favorite chocolate, occasionally challenged by marvelous things like Amadei's Porcelana (too hard to get and too pricey for routine nibbles), and Michel Cluizel's various single-bean tasting squares, but currently the champs are bars from Dick Taylor, a very small producer from far northern California. One bar can give a week's worth of chocolate delight.

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Oct 30th 15 10:49 am
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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by john.b » Oct 30th 15 10:49 am

Great input! I had no idea about aging chocolates. I've got a chocolate expert contact now to ask about such things but she said she was really busy making it this week earlier.

I really know next to nothing about chocolate. It's going to be a shock when I finally do cross paths with some of those. I've had interesting chocolate visiting Japan before; for some reason they sell soft versions, not sure what that's about. I kept hearing of better hot chocolate versions based on what the Aztecs make or modern Mexican interpretations, but only had a better hot chocolate version one time in a chocolate shop in Korea, of all places. It was good, but I wouldn't be the right person to say how good.

To me the amazing thing about Lisabeth's input was about tasting more than the chocolate. None of it was really new to me, not different than relating to tea, but it was great to hear ideas presented so clearly and well put in context when I'd only considered them as fragments before, and almost never see that discussed for tea. We almost tend to assume our preference for tea will change but our experience of it won't, but of course both change over time. It seems by the time people fully grasp how it works they also stop talking in places like this or in blogs.

Nov 4th 15 8:58 pm
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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by .m. » Nov 4th 15 8:58 pm

kuánglóng wrote:Nice article, John. Once we're at it ... dark chocolate ages beautifully. I've got some 7-10 year old belgian, swiss and german stuff in my stash - a rare treat.
Hi Kuánglóng, can you tell us something more about it? What is the change in taste profile of the chocolate through aging? And how do you store it? I imagine it could go rancid under wrong conditions?

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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by kuánglóng » Nov 5th 15 12:26 am

.m. wrote:
kuánglóng wrote:Nice article, John. Once we're at it ... dark chocolate ages beautifully. I've got some 7-10 year old belgian, swiss and german stuff in my stash - a rare treat.
Hi Kuánglóng, can you tell us something more about it? What is the change in taste profile of the chocolate through aging? And how do you store it? I imagine it could go rancid under wrong conditions?
The whole thing started after I found a 5 year old bar of 85% Lindt and wondered if it was still eatable. The chocolate looked OK, smelled OK and so I was pretty surprised about how good it tasted compared to a fresher sample. (Pretty meaningless since most probably the ingredients and recipe have changed in the meantime; not necessarily for the better).
Anyway, I've been aging tobaccos, especially virginias for a number of years back then and thought why not store away some good, dark chocolate and see how it turns out.
The change in taste profile is hard to describe, it's not as extreme as in virginia tobaccos or wine, but it's there. I'd say the profile is expanded in some directions, there's more 'depth' to it, think of ploughed and aerated soil. I find notes (e.g. tobacco, dry fruit, spices, ...) that I don't remember from the fresh stuff. It all depends on the material you start with and of course the time in the box (a sealed, large tin box) and the storage temperatures - I store most of my stuff in a large cellar with almost constant 15 deg. C. throughout the year and not a single bar (70-99% cocoa) has gone rancid or turned for the worse so far.

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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by BioHorn » Nov 5th 15 1:47 am

kuánglóng wrote:
.m. wrote:
kuánglóng wrote:Nice article, John. Once we're at it ... dark chocolate ages beautifully. I've got some 7-10 year old belgian, swiss and german stuff in my stash - a rare treat.
Hi Kuánglóng, can you tell us something more about it? What is the change in taste profile of the chocolate through aging? And how do you store it? I imagine it could go rancid under wrong conditions?
The whole thing started after I found a 5 year old bar of 85% Lindt and wondered if it was still eatable. The chocolate looked OK, smelled OK and so I was pretty surprised about how good it tasted compared to a fresher sample. (Pretty meaningless since most probably the ingredients and recipe have changed in the meantime; not necessarily for the better).
Anyway, I've been aging tobaccos, especially virginias for a number of years back then and thought why not store away some good, dark chocolate and see how it turns out.
The change in taste profile is hard to describe, it's not as extreme as in virginia tobaccos or wine, but it's there. I'd say the profile is expanded in some directions, there's more 'depth' to it, think of ploughed and aerated soil. I find notes (e.g. tobacco, dry fruit, spices, ...) that I don't remember from the fresh stuff. It all depends on the material you start with and of course the time in the box (a sealed, large tin box) and the storage temperatures - I store most of my stuff in a large cellar with almost constant 15 deg. C. throughout the year and not a single bar (70-99% cocoa) has gone rancid or turned for the worse so far.
How interesting is that!
I had a couple of Lindt 99% bars (50 grams) that were left over from travels in Europe. They went in to the fridge in ziplocks and began to come out more than 10 years later. It really tasted much better! It was less bitter and more palatable. I can see it going in directions of some yancha.

Check out White Chocolate from Oaxaca. They bury cacao in the ground and sprinkle water on it for months. After they dig up the smelly mess and clean it, it dries white. Then it is used for high occasions like weddings. The chocolate makes a huge ginormous foam that never settles.

Nov 6th 15 9:26 am
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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by .m. » Nov 6th 15 9:26 am

kuánglóng wrote: The whole thing started after I found a 5 year old bar of 85% Lindt and wondered if it was still eatable. The chocolate looked OK, smelled OK and so I was pretty surprised about how good it tasted compared to a fresher sample. (Pretty meaningless since most probably the ingredients and recipe have changed in the meantime; not necessarily for the better).
Anyway, I've been aging tobaccos, especially virginias for a number of years back then and thought why not store away some good, dark chocolate and see how it turns out.
The change in taste profile is hard to describe, it's not as extreme as in virginia tobaccos or wine, but it's there. I'd say the profile is expanded in some directions, there's more 'depth' to it, think of ploughed and aerated soil. I find notes (e.g. tobacco, dry fruit, spices, ...) that I don't remember from the fresh stuff. It all depends on the material you start with and of course the time in the box (a sealed, large tin box) and the storage temperatures - I store most of my stuff in a large cellar with almost constant 15 deg. C. throughout the year and not a single bar (70-99% cocoa) has gone rancid or turned for the worse so far.
Thanks for that. Its very interesting.
Now i'm waiting for a sale on some quality bars to stash and forget a couple of years.
BioHorn wrote: Check out White Chocolate from Oaxaca. They bury cacao in the ground and sprinkle water on it for months. After they dig up the smelly mess and clean it, it dries white. Then it is used for high occasions like weddings. The chocolate makes a huge ginormous foam that never settles.
Are you talking about a particular chocolate producer, or just a local mexican tradition? I'd definitely like to try that chocolate.

A quick search on the internet revealed raaka chocolates age some raw beans in bourbon casks. But thats again a different kind of thing.

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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by kuánglóng » Nov 6th 15 10:46 am

.m. wrote: Thanks for that. Its very interesting.
Now i'm waiting for a sale on some quality bars to stash and forget a couple of years.
I used to be a fan of the old 70% Lindt, there are better chocolates out there but that stuff aged just beatifully - their new 70% Excellence doesn't cut it for me. Anyway, over here you can get all sorts of dark 'expired' chocolate for next to nothing; a good starting point.
All you need is something you like, a tin box (or some more :lol: ), a cool place, some years of patience and someone to share it with.
BTW, I still have some 15+ year old dried, spiced yak meat that I got from a tibetan guy in Gangtok/Sikkim - that stuff is out of this world.

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Re: comparing tea and chocolate tasting

by BioHorn » Nov 6th 15 6:16 pm

BioHorn wrote: Check out White Chocolate from Oaxaca. They bury cacao in the ground and sprinkle water on it for months. After they dig up the smelly mess and clean it, it dries white. Then it is used for high occasions like weddings. The chocolate makes a huge ginormous foam that never settles.
Are you talking about a particular chocolate producer, or just a local mexican tradition? I'd definitely like to try that chocolate.

A quick search on the internet revealed raaka chocolates age some raw beans in bourbon casks. But thats again a different kind of thing.[/quote]
The white chocolate was just individual producers from Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca. These appear to be very very old traditions.

I had good luck aging Lindt 99-100. Maybe above 90% is best? 70% seems to get plume pretty bad.