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República del Cacao Taste Test: How to Taste Dark Chocolate in 11 Steps

Posted in: Ecuador Food, Ecuador Travel

Imagine our excitement when República del Cacao invited us to taste test their premium chocolate! All of their product is 100% harvested and produced in Ecuador.

ecuador chocolate

In this post, we’ll also share the specifics about how to taste chocolate. Needless to say, it wasn’t a hard job. Here’s our video taste test of República del Cacao’s flavored chocolates.

República del Cacao Taste Test (Video)

For more about República del Cacao, please visit their site.

Watch on YouTube

republica del cacao

Note: We were given a gift pack at no charge. We were not paid, or even asked, to give a positive review. We genuinely loved the product and recommend that visitors try this at least once while in the country.

República del Cacao Taste Test: Varieties

For this taste test, we tried 6 types of chocolate bars and two tins of chocolate coated goodies. The varieties we tasted were:

  1. Rose Petals & Dark Milk Chocolate: 51% Cacao Solids
  2. Dark Milk Chocolate: 52% Cacao Solids
  3. Dark Galapagos Chocolate with Coffee Nibs: 75% Cacao Solids
  4. Banana Chips & Dark Milk Chocolate: 47% Cacao Solids
  5. Hot Peppers & Dark Milk Chocolate: 51% Cacao Solids
  6. Golden Berry (Uvilla) & Dark Milk Chocolate: 48% Cacao Solids
republica del cacao taste test

In the two tins, we have some chocolate covered treats:

  1. Coffee Nibs covered in Dark Milk Chocolate
  2. Wild Pineapples covered in Dark Milk Chocolate

ecuador chocolate coffee pineapple

Our Favorite Chocolates

Needless to say, we liked them all. They are, after all, premium Ecuadorian chocolate. 🙂 Here are our favorites from our taste test:

  • Dena’s favorite: Rose Petals & Dark Milk Chocolate
  • My favorite: Dark Galapagos Chocolate with Coffee Nibs
  • My Biggest Surprise: Banana Chips & Dark Milk Chocolate. I honestly didn’t think I would like this one. But the contrast of the banana chips (crunchy and crispy) with the smooth, rich chocolate made this a real surprise. Now please excuse me while I get some more…
taste dark chocolate

How to Taste Dark Chocolate: 11 Steps

How do you eat dark chocolate?

Do you eat it slow, savoring each bite? Or maybe you like to gobble it down in a few bites (like me)?

Learning to Savor Dark Chocolate

In this post, we learn how to actually taste chocolate. This is a new experience for me. (It’s so hard not to chew it!) 

For this test we have some of the best chocolate from Ecuador: República del Cacao and we taste test six of their premium dark chocolates.

Tasting Dark Chocolate in 11 Steps (Video)

Watch on YouTube

Note: We were given a gift pack at no charge. We were not paid, or even asked, to give a positive review. We genuinely loved the product and recommend that visitors try this at least once while in the country.

Now for all the details.

Learn How to Taste Dark Chocolate: 11 Steps

As recommended, we started with the lighter chocolate and then moved to the darker (higher cacao solids) bar. This way, the darker chocolate flavors won’t overpower the lighter flavors.

Here are the steps to get the full dark chocolate experience:

  1. Be free of distractions: This allows you to focus on the flavors. Avoid things like music, television or other distracting elements.
  2. Start with a clean palate: Your mouth should be free of residue from a previous meal. You might use bread, an apple, or even a glass of water to clean your palate. You should also do this between tasting different chocolate.
  3. Take a large enough piece: You must taste a large enough piece of chocolate to detect the nuances. Approximately 10 grams is a good starting point.
  4. Taste at room temperature. Never taste cold chocolate. It won’t melt as quickly and the flavors aren’t released the same.
  5. Look at the chocolate: Look for blemishes and white marks (called bloom). You are looking for problems with air bubbles, swirling and uneven surfaces. While the defects won’t likely affect the flavor it does show the quality of production. Watch for a radiant sheen. Chocolate comes in a brown rainbow. The tints range from pinks, purples, reds, and oranges.
  6. Smell it: Smell plays an important part in the flavor. By inhaling the fragrance, you prime the tongue for the chocolate. And it just smells amazing.
  7. Break it: Listen for a “snap” sound. The snap will vary, depending on the temperature of the chocolate.
  8. Put the chocolate in your mouth. Place the piece on your tongue and allow it to arrive at body temperature. (Don’t chew it yet!) The cocoa butter needs to melt and distribute through your mouth gradually and naturally.
  9. Study the taste and texture. Concentrate on the flavors that unfold on the tongue. Notice how the flavor evolves during the melting process.
  10. Chewing is optional. If you must, chew a maximum of three times. Chewing may release too many flavors all at 0nce.
  11. Understand chocolate basics: Just what is chocolate liquor? And what about cocoa butter? Understanding the basics about chocolate will help you be a more discerning chocolate taster.
how to taste dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate Tasting Results

So how did it go?

For me, it was a great experience. I noticed subtle differences in texture and flavors – something I never took the time to do before.

Here are our favorites:

  • Dena’s Favorite: El Oro Province Bar Dena noticed delicate, sweet and smooth flavor.
  • Bryan’s Favorite: Manabi Province Bar Bryan noticed a fruitiness to this dark chocolate.

These are the different chocolates we tasted:

  1. El Oro Province (67% Cacao Solids): natural sweetness with a hint of flowers and fruit
  2. Los Rios Province (75% Cacao Solids): from Ecuador’s inland coastal region, has a slight blossom fragrance
  3. Galapagos Islands with Coffee Nibs (75% Cacao Solids): Enough said 🙂
  4. Manabi Province (75%): a subtle fruitiness and a hint of spice
  5. Vinces Community Bar (75% Cacao Solids): This bar from La Comunidad Vinces is certified USDA organic and is produced with a focus on sustainability, traceability and tradition.
  6. Antigua Hacienda La Concepcion (85% Cacao Solids): At 85%, this is their highest cacao solids bar – meaning it is the darkest chocolate that they produce. Like Vinces Community Bar, this is also certified USDA organic.
taste dark chocolate

What is “Single-Origin” Chocolate?

All of these bars by República del Cacao are 100% produced here in Ecuador. Single-origin chocolate is chocolate produced within a single geographical origin. This can refer to a single farm or a single region within the country or province.

The bars we tasted are named based on the provinces of Ecuador where the cacao beans were grown.

Why “Arriba” Chocolate?

The origin of the word “arriba” has been traced back to the XIX century. While traveling on the Guayas River, a Swiss Chocolatier asked “where does the aroma come from?” The workman unloading the sacks of cacao answered “del rio arriba” or “from up the river.”

These are one of the most popular Ecuador souvenirs for visitors.

Your Turn

What is your favorite chocolate? How do you eat / taste chocolate? Did we miss a chocolate-tasting step? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Have you tried República del Cacao chocolate? What’s your favorite? 

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

19 comments… add one
  • Simon Kendrick Jun 11, 2018, 1:00 pm

    If ever you are in Quito give me a shout, our products are currently in Quito and parts of Canada, but we are looking to explore the US and European markets soon New to the chocolate world Choco Soleil Dark Chocolate 65% cacao Discs for more information check out

  • eduardo Jan 27, 2015, 12:58 pm


    Donde los puedo comprar en Lima, Perú.
    El choclolate DARK MILK con aji deshidratado es maravilloso.



  • Grant Oxner Dec 16, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Our favorite is the Coffee Nibs variety. Picked up several flavours/varieties on our way home through Guayaquil last month. Delicious!

  • Sandy Phillips Dec 16, 2014, 2:21 am

    I liked the video very much. It wasn’t easy to get to seeing the website and ordering the chocolate for my own taste test.

    • Bryan Haines Dec 16, 2014, 7:49 am

      No, they don’t sell online. You can only get their chocolate here in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

      They have stores here:

      • LIMA, PERU
      • CUSCO, PERU
      • COLOMBIA
      • Sandy Dec 16, 2014, 8:45 am

        In that case my taste test will have to wait until April when I come for my Galapagos vacation. Your video was very personable One more thing put on my to do list.

      • Bob Crunkleton Jul 15, 2016, 7:11 pm

        Would love to introduce this product to the U. S market. Please reply.
        Best Regards,
        Bob Crunkleton

  • Jack Benguerel Dec 15, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Susan, my wife and I really enjoyed the video. It was enjoyable to see the the reactions “live” as you tried the chocolate. Keep up the good work!

  • Eric Lutz Dec 14, 2014, 6:53 pm

    Enjoyed you video on chocolate < i think the I think this video chapter is a good thing to add to your blog. If you can get some real interesting items . your next move is to approach some big TV companies in Canada and the USA they may pay big bucks for these videos to show on part of their show. Thank you again.

  • Frank B Dec 14, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Hello Bryan,

    Thank you very interesting article. Please keep up the great work. We enjoy your posts.

  • Richard Dec 14, 2014, 10:30 am

    It would be nice to see more high quality videos like this one on what life in Ecuador is like. Thanks…

  • Bill Fox Dec 14, 2014, 8:22 am

    here is my opinion, videos should be optional, I would rather read than watch, every time now when you click on a story now at CNN you get a video, preceded by an advert, I never watch the video,

    • Bryan Haines Dec 14, 2014, 5:29 pm

      I agree that they should be optional. We put a summary of the video content in the post itself. There are some things that are captured on video that text just can’t.

  • Trudy Dec 14, 2014, 8:08 am

    Liked the video. I’ve never tried their chocolate because it is a little expensive, but we do have a favorite chocolate that we do buy regularly. And I would have to agree that I’ve never tasted better coffee or chocolate than what we have in Ecuador.

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