Original Beans Cru Virunga

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on September 25 2009 | Leave A Comment
Original Beans Cru Virunga

Note: Our sample arrived damaged due to no fault of Original Beans. Please see our updated review of the Original Beans range for a more balanced opinion.


I have to say, I love the packaging design of this bar. Though the box got a little smashed when it was sent out to me, I love the color palette: a soft and dark gray, eggplant purple with a splash of pink, and silver. Then all the flowering vines with the leafy tree standing above the earth. Very nicely done. The Original Beans designer, at least, has my praise.

Original Beans is based out of the Netherlands and San Francisco, standing for nature conservation as well as fine chocolate.

Their CEO, Lesal Ruskey, puts it as “a way for the consumer to become engaged in the world around them and assume a leadership role in conservation through a super premium chocolate.” That’s why when you open up the triangular flap on the back, there’s a green print-out inside that explains the work Original Beans (named for the pre-chocolate industry beans that grew in rainforests) does preventing deforestation and the like.

There’s also a lot number to put into their site to see the benefits your specific lot is causing. Like another time I came across one of these lot numbers, it didn’t work. Not even the same company, so I have no idea why this is. So much for finding out about the trees my chocolate (origin, the Congo) saved. Each bar is supposed to plant one tree.

Original Beans Cru Virunga

Unfortunately, the PR company forgot that Arizona is hot. Overnight shipping doesn’t cut it without insulation/cool packs when you’re in the 90′s and 100′s all but a couple of hours in the wee time of the night. So my poor chocolate arrived in liquid form. It was very good liquid, though. Quite tempting in itself with such gentle richness, but I had to stop myself and send it to the refrigerator to coax out a normal state. Its picture, then, only serves to show its medium dark brown color.

I think this is my new most expensive bar of chocolate. At 100 grams, I’m only finding it for $15 online, though a couple of places call it a $13 bar. I’m not sure I’d guess it from the taste. It’s full-bodied, if something sweeter than I’d expected. Tasting notes are mulberry, cara cara orange, and honeysuckle. In that order. At least, I can only assume the orange is in the middle: I’m not picking it up at all. Mulberry and honeysuckle, definitely, though. Whereas most of my pricier ventures have been extremely slow-melting, this one is the opposite. It liquifies so quickly in your mouth. Maybe that added to its hard time in the mail. It certainly has a unique delivery. In fact, it tastes just like the box design looks. Fashionably sophisticated, while still pretty.

It seems to me that you’re paying for a cause just as much as a chocolate. As long as you take that in stride, I can see this bar fitting in with many people’s favorites. After all, it is good to be thinking about kindness to people and the earth.

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