Cookaholics Bulletin Board

Cookaholics Bulletin Board

Shop, cook, eat, drink, post, repeat.
 
It is currently Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:37 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
All that talk about cocoa got me thinking about all those cocoas I have, so I decided to compare them.

I didn't realize I had this many, though I knew it was a lot. Now that I have tasted them, I already got rid of one, and will probably discard at least one of the others, or give it to somebody who drinks a lot of hot cocoa, but doesn't care if it is a strong flavor.

I did this by placing a tsp each of sugar and cocoa in each container, photographed it, so you could see the colors of the dry cocoas, then I gradually added 1 1/2 oz of water to each container, mixing until the sugar was dissolved. Then I microwaved each of them about 30 sec., or until it just foamed up to the top of the container, then removed it, stirred it, and smelled it, to see what the aroma was like. Then, I started with the first one I microwaved, and tasted each of them, and made the notes. Here are my findings.

Guittard Rouge - This and Bensdorp were almost tied for top spot, but this had a slightly better aroma, and a less bitter aftertaste. Not quite as strong tasting as Bensdorp, but only when trying them side by side several times did I come to this comclusion.

Bensdorp - The strongest tasting of the bunch, with a lightly bitter aftertaste, though not unpleasant. Probably better in baked goods, but only one way to find that out!

Bergenfield - This wasn't bad, just not strong at all. Lightest in color and flavor - like drinking a milk chocolate bar. Sort of reminds me of regular Hershey's cocoa.

Guittard full dutched 22-24% Jersey cocoa - This smelled better in the bag than it did in the cup, and was sort of a flat, one dimensional chocolate flavor. Maybe the "full dutching" destroys some of the flavor? One strange aftertaste with this, I couldn't place at first, then I realized it tasted like it had been sweetened with sorghum.

King Arthur Flour no name, dutched cocoa - This had a decent aroma, in the bag and in the cup, but it was the flavor that was lacking, and a vegetable aftertaste that I couldn't quite place - like a hint of parsnips. Sounds weird, but that's why I couldn't figure it out at first. You know how it is - I know that flavor, but... :?

Hershey's Special Dark - To borrow a term from Merstar, this cocoa was vile! It didn't smell like cocoa in the container, or in the cup after cooking, and I tasted it cautiously, and it was, if not the worst tasting cocoa I have ever had, it was close! I dumped the cocoa out w.o. tasting it again, then tossed the container in the trash. There was a black cocoa that KAF sold (actually, I think they still sell it) that this was similar to - almost no chocolate flavor, just super dark.

Here are the photos L to R top: Bensdorp, KAF, Guittard Jersey; Bottom: Guittard Cocoa Rouge, Bergenfield, Hershey's Special Dark

Dry
Image

Cooked
Image

_________________
Dave


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
Posts: 1153
Location: Chico, CA
Thanks, Dave. So you did not have any KAF natural (De Zaan), or KAF new AP baking, KAF black cocoa or any Penzeys correct?

_________________
Alina


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
Alina,

The KAF all purpose is the one I called "no name", as there is no brand given. And I no longer have the black cocoa; as I noted, that Hershey's was much like that, and neither was very good - just dark. I don't think they sell the natural any longer - I don't know why, as it was one of the better ones. No Penzey's this time - haven't had any for a while, mainly because I haven't had to order anything from them!

_________________
Dave


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:07 pm
Posts: 328
pepperhead212 wrote:
Guittard full dutched 22-24% Jersey cocoa - This smelled better in the bag than it did in the cup, and was sort of a flat, one dimensional chocolate flavor. Maybe the "full dutching" destroys some of the flavor? One strange aftertaste with this, I couldn't place at first, then I realized it tasted like it had been sweetened with sorghum.

Hershey's Special Dark - To borrow a term from Merstar, this cocoa was vile! It didn't smell like cocoa in the container, or in the cup after cooking, and I tasted it cautiously, and it was, if not the worst tasting cocoa I have ever had, it was close! I dumped the cocoa out w.o. tasting it again, then tossed the container in the trash. There was a black cocoa that KAF sold (actually, I think they still sell it) that this was similar to - almost no chocolate flavor, just super dark.


You're right on about cocoa losing flavor after being overdutched, as you tasted in the Guittard Full Dutched, Hershey's Special Dark and the KA Black. Dutched cocoa is great until it's overdutched - then it loses flavor and has a weird odor and/or taste. Many people think the darker it is, the more taste it will have - not true! There's a definite limit and when it goes over the limit - Voila!

It sounds like in the "vile" category, Hershey's Dark and Valrhona rate side by side!

Thanks for the reviews!

_________________
Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California
I wonder where Scharffenberger natural falls in the ranking. CI liked Callebaut a lot. I always liked Valrhona. I don't use cocoa as much as I do 70%-ish solid chocolate.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
Phoenix,

I don't have any Scharffenberger, but I did get some years ago, and I wasn't very impressed with it. IMO, it was another one of those cocoas that was very dark, but too bitter and not balanced enough to stand on its own. I used almost all of it in combo with chocolate, in recipes where the cocoa was not the main chocolate flavor, in which it was ok, but I never bought it again.

_________________
Dave


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:07 pm
Posts: 328
phoenix wrote:
I wonder where Scharffenberger natural falls in the ranking. CI liked Callebaut a lot. I always liked Valrhona.


I like ScharffenBerger for natural cocoa and I like Callebaut a lot for Dutched. (In general, I prefer Dutch processed over natural cocoa powder). I've done several cocoa (and chocolate) taste tests, and my favorites so far are El Rey (and you know the sad story)!, Saco (my new favorite), Callebaut and Droste. (I preferred Droste over Callebaut in hot chocolate, but they were very close in chocolate cookies, with Callebaut a little deeper/stronger).

I found Cacao Barry, which is the French Division of Callebaut, to be inferior/weaker than Callebaut (darker in color than Callebaut, and maybe another case of overalkalizing, hence, resulting in a weaker flavor).

I found Pernigotti to have a great aroma and nice dark color, but it left me disappointed, tastewise. It wasn't as deep chocolatey as I expected, given the high ratings it usually receives.

Both Penzey's natural and Dutched were very disappointing - I found them to be bland. Ditto on Ghirardelli.

And lastly, of course, is Valrhona, which was the worst cocoa powder I've ever tasted in my life.

I'm sure there are others I've tried (other than Hershey's and Nestle), but I can't remember them at the moment.

phoenix wrote:
I don't use cocoa as much as I do 70%-ish solid chocolate.


I also use bar/bulk chocolate more often than cocoa, and generally use 60% (less if I need semi-sweet), since it yields a moister result, as opposed to the higher percentages.

_________________
Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
Merstar,

Surprisingly, I haven't. tried Callebaut cocoa. Surprisingly, because much of the chocolate I use is Callebaut 60%. The Scharffenberger I got years ago was a dutched cocoa; I never saw the Scharffenberger natural. And in my early days of cooking, Droste was THE Dutch cocoa, but slowly other brands started appearing in some of those NY stores I made trips to. Bensdorp I found in Dean and Deluca in its original location, in '84, and has been one of my favorites since then, remaining almost identical, which some don't seem to be able to manage. I think that's why some of us have such different opinoins of some of these brands - they change more than wines do from year to year!

_________________
Dave


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:07 pm
Posts: 328
pepperhead212 wrote:
Merstar,

Surprisingly, I haven't. tried Callebaut cocoa. Surprisingly, because much of the chocolate I use is Callebaut 60%. The Scharffenberger I got years ago was a dutched cocoa; I never saw the Scharffenberger natural. And in my early days of cooking, Droste was THE Dutch cocoa, but slowly other brands started appearing in some of those NY stores I made trips to. Bensdorp I found in Dean and Deluca in its original location, in '84, and has been one of my favorites since then, remaining almost identical, which some don't seem to be able to manage. I think that's why some of us have such different opinoins of some of these brands - they change more than wines do from year to year!


Hey Dave,

As far as I know, ScharffenBerger has never made a Dutched cocoa powder.

I would love to try Bensdorp, but unfortunately, can't find it around here.

Good point about certain cocoa powders changing from year to year. But, it's also a matter of individual tastebuds - Just look at how people taste cilantro - some love it and others just taste it as soap! I know that I lean towards a deep, dark, almost espresso taste in my chocolate, and prefer the lower/deep notes over the higher/fruity notes, (although, I do like a combination, depending on the balance), whereas some people are just the opposite, and the espresso notes may taste too bitter to them.

_________________
Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
merstar wrote:
Hey Dave,

As far as I know, ScharffenBerger has never made a Dutched cocoa powder.

I would love to try Bensdorp, but unfortunately, can't find it around here.

Good point about certain cocoa powders changing from year to year. But, it's also a matter of individual tastebuds - Just look at how people taste cilantro - some love it and others just taste it as soap! I know that I lean towards a deep, dark, almost espresso taste in my chocolate, and prefer the lower/deep notes over the higher/fruity notes, (although, I do like a combination, depending on the balance), whereas some people are just the opposite, and the espresso notes may taste too bitter to them.


I guess I was assuming that ScharffenBerger was dutched, simply because it was so dark, and all natural ones I have had were much lighter.

I can't get Bensdorp around here, either, though a lot of places online have it now. Beats going up to NYC, like in the old days!

I agree with everyone's tastes being different, and many people simply not liking certain flavors, like bitter chocolates. But this doesn't explain why some brands change in my taste from batch to batch, while other brands remain remarkably uniform. This indicates to me that they just dump that year's harvest into the containers, and don't try to make the flavor the same year to year, like producers of liquors do. Yet you would think that commercial establishments would demand uniformity, more than you or I would, so this makes no sense. Unless the retail gets the "dregs", so to speak.

_________________
Dave


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum