Review: Feitoria Do Cacao – 76% – Costa Rica Maleku (****1/2)

The Creator:

Feitoria do Cacao is a bean to bar chocolate maker based in Aveiro Portugal. Tomoko Suga (general manager) and Sue Tavares (Chocolate maker), bundled forces after visiting cocoa plantations in Sao Tomé en Principe. Experiencing first hand how big the difference is between the daily reality of the cocoa farmers lives and the luxurious aura of chocolate in the hands of the end client, the ladies committed to starting a chocolate company. Feitoria Do Cacao would not only bring bean to bar chocolate to the public, but also change the lives of the people providing the cocoa.

Today, Feitoria Do Cacao works directly with the farmers who provided them with their most important raw product, fine cocoa beans. By paying a price higher than the standard market price, they have a direct impact on the situation of their suppliers. In the mean time, the ladies strive to change the view of their Portuguese customers, that chocolate is more than a simple sweet aimed at children.

I had the chance to try their chocolate bars before, but a long time has passed since then. So I was more than happy to discover their bars at my local fine chocolate retailer in Ghent.

In front of us, lays their Costa Rica Maleku bar. An origin I don’t seem to find that often in stores near me. Historically, Costa Rica was an important part of the trade routes of the Mayan civilization – who knew the importance of cocoa. Over time, cocoa never became an important economic product for the country. Until cocoa trees were introduced in the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the cocoa production of Costa Rica is still humble compared to many neighboring Latin American countries. Yet the beans are used by several bean to bar chocolate producers around the world.

The cocoa used in this bar, grows in northern part of the country, near the border of Nicaragua.

Let’s discover the flavors the beans can offer.

The Bar:

Gone are the days of simpler looking sleeves and a generic chocolate bar design. These days the Feitoria Do Cacao package is a square box with a blue decorative design. Portugal comes to mind instantly, as it reminds me of the tiles I saw on buildings while strolling through the old center of Lisbon city. The box shows the origin and percentage – 76% in this case. Flipped over, the ingredients appear. Cocoa beans, cane sugar and cocoa butter. And of course also the nutritional facts. Inside the box, more info on the origin of the cocoa beans, both in Portuguese and English.

The chocolate bar itself is a beauty and clearly follows the Portuguese atmosphere. Four big square pieces, decorated as Portuguese tiles again, with the Feitoria Do Cacao logo in one of them. Looking very luxurious and specific to the company, this design is quiet a few steps above what I knew from them. The chocolate bar is executed perfectly with clear lines without air bubbles and a nice shiny surface.


Bean: Not mentioned

Origin: Costa Rica – Maleku

Maker: Susana Tavares & Tomoko Suga Lda – Aveiro – Portugal

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar and cocoa butter

Price: € 7,0 – 50g (Webshop Feitoria Do Cacao)

Batch: L070422 – best before 10/2023

Harvest: Not mentioned

Color: Dark brown

Aroma: Earthy, walnut, roasted cocoa beans, intense

Taste: A instant deep chocolaty start, focusing on earthy. Fluently a sweetness trickles in underneath combined with a surprising floral note – reminding me of Hibiscus. Caramel and espresso coffee come to mind, followed by walnut. Flavors of roasted cocoa with a flowery note keep things moving in your mouth. Surprisingly no tannins at the end of the melt, but a rather smooth transition to the after flavor, showing off more caramel, nuts and coffee.

Starts very intense with earthy noted and coffee flavors, but gradually twirls into a a elegant finale of caramel en nuts. An unexpected turn in the flavor profile, make this an intriguing piece of chocolate.

I wasn’t expecting this intensity in a 76% bar, but it is very reminiscent of roasted cocoa beans. It contains the powerful flavor note the unprocessed beans can offer, although in a somewhat subdued manner. The cane sugar used, highlights the flavors of the cocoa, while strengthening the caramel note.

This chocolate has a clear South-American feel to it, flavor wise. It will appeal to people who love intense flavors as in espresso coffee. It isn’t bitter in any way, but hones in on the more earthy side of cocoa flavors. I can imagine this might shock those accustomed to industrial chocolate, but in reality Feitoria Do Cacao’s Costa Rica bar offers a view on a range of specific flavor notes fine flavor cocoa can bring.

Well done ladies!

General final evaluation:

Visual appeal: 5/5

Aroma: 4/5

Melt and mouth feel: 4/5

Flavor profile : 4/5

Complexity: 4/5

Overall: 21/25 (****1/2)


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