Tea and chocolate: Ratio Cocoa Roasters
Bean-to-bar chocolate may seem an unusual bedfellow for specialty tea. And yet both are agricultural-derived products. When we examine heirloom and specialty types of these products, you can see how the flavour is teased out by attentive processing, the raw ingredient initially shaped by its terroir. The tastes are often more subtle than the mass-market equivalents, being as they are thoroughly adulterated with excessive amounts of sugar, preserved fruits and added flavouring.
Here at Endeavour Tea, we identify with the ethos of Ratio Cocoa Roasters. They have set out to preserve the true flavour of the cocoa beans that make it into their chocolate. There are no cut corners, no unnecessary additives; this is bean-to-bar chocolate produced from the world’s best single origin cacao beans, made using traditional production methods. Everything from hand-sorting the cacao beans to hand-wrapping the finished bars is done in-house.
Owner and chocolate-maker Debbie Makin, originally a zoologist, has travelled the world, sampling chocolate from 50 countries on the way. At the time of writing, her most recent travel has been to the Solomon Islands and Dominican Republic; witnessing first hand the cocoa trade, its effect on the local communities and how chocolate from each of the origins tasted. This passion for chocolate has resulted in the opening of a bean to bar chocolate company in one of the most hospitality-focused cities in the world.
When pairing chocolate and tea, you take on an experience that goes beyond tasting notes alone. Picture the melt-in-the-mouth texture of a milk chocolate; its barley-caramel aroma, the distinctive ‘snap’ it makes when broken. Being decidedly sweet and rich with fruity flavours, it rounds out a full-bodied and astringent black tea, decidedly brisk and malty tasting. For a delicious steamed Japanese green tea like sencha, milk chocolate is an effective ‘cut’ to astringency, enhances the inherent sweetness of the tea and pairs surprisingly well with vegetal flavours.Or perhaps the way a cocoa-rich dark chocolate, which is lower in sugar but richer in the aroma of fermented fruits like banana and dates. This becomes a keen complement to a freshly whisked, frothy matcha with decidedly floral notes and an umami-rich finish.
Do you enjoy specialty tea and chocolate together? We’d love for you to try our recommendations, and perhaps come up with your own.