Tag Archives: Cocoa Puro

Product Review: Kaka’Wa Cocoa Beans, Round II

4 Sep
Here are the Cocoa Puro Kaka'Wa Cocoa Beans in all their glory.

Here are the Cocoa Puro Kaka'Wa Cocoa Beans in all their glory.

Please read my inital review here.  Let me tell you about the customer service and commitment to product integrity over at Cocoa Puro.  After I posted my review, Tom Pedersen from Cocoa Puro emailed, saying he was extremely embarrassed that my sample of Kaka’Wa Cocoa Beans were melted.  I emailed back and basically said, “No worries.”  After all, they were very tasty, and they were Free.  In the next email, he said he was sending another sample, because he wanted me to taste the product as they are meant to be tasted:  whole and unmelted.  He shipped them with a large cold pack, and they arrived in perfect shape.  So, I am adding this codicil, along with some pictures of the new shipment, to let you know more about Kaka’Wa Cocoa Beans and the folks over at Cocoa Puro.

Before I add to my description of the candy itself, I must tell you how impressed I am with Tom and the gang over at Cocoa Puro.  Of course Tom wants his product to be reviewed in the best light possible, but more than that, he wanted to be sure that I was able to taste his chocolate covered cocoa beans at their best.  He absolutely did not have to send me another sample.  After all, I had loved them and my review was positive.  Regardless, he wanted to send them, and he took this little melting episode as a learning opportunity.  Now, he knows that he needs to use a large cold pack to ship samples.  So, thank you Tom, both for your commitment to your product and for sending out a second shipment.

kakawa2And now, on to the Tasting.  Although the melted and re-cooled beans were good, the texture was off on the chocolate since it was out of temper.  In the new shipment, the chocolate was firm and creamy.  I was also able to enjoy the bitter dusting of cocoa powder on the outside of each bean–a nice contrast that was lacking in the melted shipment.  I tasted the new batch of beans in several different ways.  Because I love you.  First, I just put one in my mouth and chewed it up.  Then, I ate half of one.  Then, I let the layers of chocolate melt in my mouth before chewing.  I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on these little guys now.

Chocolate to the 5th power.

Chocolate to the 5th power.

I don’t know what brand of couverture Tom uses to dip the cocoa beans, but it is of high quality.  As I let the candy melt, I was able to distinguish all three chocolates, like Violet Beauregard was able to in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Except I didn’t turn into a blueberry at the end.  First up was the dusting of bitter cocoa powder.  The dark chocolate is smooth and well-rounded.  I didn’t detect any serious fruitiness or deep coffee or tobacco flavors–just rich chocolate.  The milk chocolate is incredibly creamy.  While I generally don’t choose milk chocolate for eating out of hand, this particular one was also well-rounded, milky and rich.  The white chocolate lives closest to the bean, which is lovely, since its sweetness contrasts nicely with the unsweetened bean.  The white chocolate tastes like milk and cocoa butter, without that artificial flavor that many white candy coatings have.  The bean itself tastes of coffee tinged chocolate, but is in no way bitter, at least not to my palate.  And speaking of the bean, I paid special attention (for Marc) to the way it crunched.  I would say that the crunch is the sharp crunch of an almond as opposed to the creamy crunch of a walnut.  The bean does crumble when you chew, but it’s not gritty, especially if you start chewing before all the chocolates have melted away.

Try the melting method once, but these candies are meant to be eaten all at once, so all the chocolates can blend together into one incredibly complex and satisfying chocolate bite.

These snacks are pricey–$28 for 12 ounces, not including shipping.  They are also pure chocolate indulgence.  I suggest you find a reason to treat yourself and then make your stash last as long as you can.

To recap, highest marks go to Kaka’Wa Cocoa Beans and to Cocoa Puro for great customer service.

Product Review: Kaka’Wa Cocoa Beans by Cocoa Puro

28 Aug
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, to wonderful effect.

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, to wonderful effect.

Please read my updated review here.

You guys might remember my friend Chef Keem.  He is one in a million, and also makes a Darn Fine Candy.  So, when he contacted me a couple of weeks ago, wanting me to try some chocolate covered cocoa beans that a friend of his makes, well, who am I to say No?  Friends, I am not one to say No when it comes to candies, and especially not chocolate candies.  So, after a few emails back and forth to Tom Pedersen, father of Cocoa Puro, my little gems came to me in the mail.

First, let me describe said gems.  They are whole roasted cocoa beans of the rare and delightful Criollo and Trinitario varieties (as opposed to the widely available and somewhat feral-tasting Forestoro variety) that have been Triple Dunked.  Once in white chocolate.  Once in milk chocolate.  Once in dark chocolate.  Oh, and then they’re dusted with cocoa powder.  Just for good measure.  This gives you Five Levels of pure chocolate flavor.  Each dunk is maybe 1-2 mm thick, with the white chocolate closest to the bean, followed by milk, dark and cocoa powder.  Here’s what your tongue gets to taste, in order of appearance:  bitter; bittersweet smooth, sweeter creamy, sweetest creamy and back to bitter crunchy.  All the flavors and textures combine to make a wee candy of incredible chocolate depth and well rounded flavor.  Happy, happy tongue.

Five levels of Chocolate Joy

Five levels of Chocolate Joy

Now, I must say that Mother Nature was not kind.  She had the nerve to make it Be a Billion degrees over the last couple of days, especially on the route between Austin, TX y mi casa.  Although the beans came wrapped Extremely well, with wee ice packs and insulated bubble wrap (!), they were a bit on the melty side.

I wish we could have tried them in perfect condition.  Even so, they were Damn Tasty.

I wish we could have tried them in perfect condition. Even so, they were Damn Tasty.

That meant that a)I had to throw them in the fridge to firm them up, b)the chocolate fell out of temper.  When The Beloved and I tried them cold, the crunchy in the middle seemed to overwhelm all the Sweet Creamy on the outside.  I emailed Tom and told him What Had Happened, and he wrote back saying that they don’t generally ship wee packs, so it was difficult to figure out how much wrapping they would need.* Also, he recommended that they be eaten at room temperature.  So, I set them Out this morning to come to temp.  Since the chocolate was out of temper, it was much softer than it would normally be.  It got all over my fingers and was generally Melty.  Again, I blame Mother Nature.  Even with MN’s meddling, these guys are Really, Really Good.  At room temp, the crunch in the middle is a little less crunchy while the sweet creamy is more so.  The end result is a perfectly balanced confection that is nothing but pure unadulterated chocolate.  Since all the flavors are similar, the magic is in the different textures and the nuances of flavor among the layers.

They, whoever they are, say “Do only one thing, but do it better than anyone else,” and the folks at Cocoa Puro have really taken it to heart.  This might be the only thing they do, but they do it right.  They’ve found a way to make “chocolate,” which can sometimes be a little one-note, into a bite-sized symphony.

You can find Kaka’Wa (and no, I don’t know what it means) Cocoa Beans at the Cocoa Pura website.  They come in 12 oz. bags for $28/bag, not including shipping.  It is a pretty Steep Price, especially in this economy.  But remember what you’re getting, if you need to Justify the Expense:  five chocolate flavors in one bite, the middle bite being pure, unadulterated, unsweetened-and-yet-not-the-least-bit-bitter cocoa bean.  These guys really are a rare treat.  So, thank you Tom for sending some my way, and thanks again to Chef Keem for making the connection initially.

Full disclosure:  I got my wee bag gratis, but since I am not Swayed by Free Treats, my review is as unbiased as I can make it.  Also, the link to the Cocoa Pura website is not an affiliate link–it’s just there because I care about you.  I will say that, since I think these little guys are so great, I am putting a link over there in the Prepared Food Treats section of my blog roll.  That’s not an affiliate link either.

*If the folks at Cocoa Pura intend to ship wee tasting bags to folks for feedback, I hope they work out the proper freezer-pack-to-wee-bag ratio or only ship in cool weather so we lucky tasters can taste them at their best.

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