There are just two British bean-to-bar chocolate makers at the moment, and both Willie Harcourt-Cooze and Duffy Sheardown seem to be branching out into flavoured chocolate. Back in September, Simon reviewed Duffy’s first flavoured bar, an Ecuadorian chocolate with oak smoked sea salt and nibs. This bar uses the same beans in a dark chocolate, with real ground coffee rather than salt.
As you can see from the ingredients list, that’s pretty much all there is to this bar. Even with two added flavours, there’s still just five ingredients listed – that’s always a good sign. The other interesting thing to note is the use of sunflower lecithin rather than soya lecithin, something which means that those with soya allergies can also enjoy it.
Obviously, coffee is a much stronger flavour than smoked sea salt, and that’s apparent from the moment the chocolate hits your tongue. There’s probably not very much coffee at all in the chocolate, but the fact that it’s made with real ground coffee beans means the flavour bursts through right away.
After the initial burst of flavour, the sweetness of the chocolate comes through, along with the crunch of the cocoa nibs.
Although the coffee flavour overwhelms any of the subtle flavour notes in the chocolate, you still get all the sweet chocolateyness you’d expect. The coffee is strong and natural, but it’s never too strong or overpowering (unlike some coffee chocolate bars I could mention).
It may be hand made bean-to-bar chocolate made with the finest ingredients, but it’s uncomplicated, tasty and very easy to eat. It’s one of those chocolate bars I have to hide from myself, or I’ll end up devouring it all within a few minutes. It’s very different from the amazing flavours of Duffy’s award winning Honduras Indio Rojo bar, and obviously a coffee flavoured chocolate won’t appeal to everyone. But I really enjoyed it.
For me, what makes Duffy so great is his completely unpretentious approach to chocolate making. He’s not one to talk at length about flavour profiles and tasting notes, he’ll just try something and if he likes it, he’ll sell it. He makes fine chocolate accessible to everyone simply by using quality ingredients and doing what feels right.
I love the fact that this totally down to earth approach won him the Academy of Chocolate prize for the best chocolate in the world last year, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with in the year ahead. In fact, why not treat yourself to a bar or two right now. If you need any further convincing, check out this video interview we did with him for World Chocolate Guide.