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TCHO: milk chocolate beta & citrus

So I enrolled in TCHO’s milk chocolate beta. They didn’t want to be judged on texture yet, which made critiquing the creaminess aspect a bit tricky. As of this writing they have yet to release version 1.0. Overall, though the later betas did show remarkable improvement over the earlier samples.

But to answer some questions (or remarks) you might have lingering:

  1. Yes, I enjoy both dark and milk chocolate. I’ve had excellent versions of both, as well as yucky ones best reserved for the trashbin.
  2. Why pay for a beta program? (Aimed especially at those who get free TCHO tastings: Hey! Not all of us have that opportunity.) Well, I consider this on par with eating food that, like a restaurant, someone has shopped for (ingredient-wise) and produced — more so than with software betas. For example, a software beta might have big, annoying bugs worth tolerating. But food betas need to be free of big issues such as, oh, parasitic or toxic contaminants, or being spoiled. And unlike software which can be delivered online for free, food shipments do carry the cost of transportation.
  3. Also, TCHO is one of the few (remaining) independent Californian chocolate producers, as opposed to confectioners. So far I don’t mind contributing to their efforts.
  4. Moreover, I’ve already enjoyed several of their chocolates — an even stronger reason to support them. Of the four dark chocolates they offer, I recommend “Fruity v2.0″ (plum-y and round, like a good port) and “Chocolatey v1.0″ (lush, spicy coffee).

On to the results…

Milk results

Batch Milk C0.2A: Ick. In spite of its strong caramel flavor, this one was almost painfully sweet. It hardly had any chocolate flavor. It did have some creaminess. Even though texture shouldn’t be considered, one of its few redeeming features is that it lacked the waxiness that cheap chocolates (especially milk ones) have.

Batch Milk C0.2B: Slight improvement over (A) by being not as sweet. Still rather sweet, and low on the chocolately side of things. It did, however, have an interesting salty note which eased off during the finish.

Batch Milk M0.2A: About the same as the C0.2 batch, but perhaps more caramel in tone. Still too sweet, too little chocolateyness. Simon thought he tasted some spicy notes, but I didn’t sense any at all.

Batch Milk M0.2B: Ditto, although perhaps a slightly nicer, maltier finish than (B). So far I’ve not been impressed with any of the four samples I’ve received.

Batch Milk K0.2.MB (A): Still too sweet, inferior to (B), although it had an interesting hint of saltiness. Didn’t care much for MB, which while having more caramel notes than (B), had an annoying bitter finish, almost like an unpleasant licorice.

Batch Milk K0.2.CB (B): Best batch so far. Rich, deep chocolateyness. Spicy, gingery notes, with a deep chocolate flavor. Definitely a (near) winner!

Batch Milk C0.4A. Slight spicy smell. Nice subtle flavoring, combining caramel with cardamom, with a bit of toastiness. This batch and K0.2.CB have been the best to date.

Batch Milk C0.4B. Rich malty flavor, but that’s about it. A bit sweeter than (A), though not nearly as interesting.

Batch Milk M0.8A. Very sweet, milky and somewhat malty. Maybe slight hint of cardamom? Mild, but rather unremarkable in flavor.

Batch Milk M0.8B. Like (A) this one has a milk flavor reminding me of Cadbury’s. Not that Cadbury’s is bad, but a great milk chocolate should stand out, not just appeal to the masses. However, (B) does have a near perfect level of sweetness and creaminess. Maybe there was a slight coffee-like finish, but again M0.8 just lacks the spice and fruit aromas that the previous batches (i.e., K0.2CB and C0.4A) had.

Batch Milk K0.8A. Deep and bitter, yet creamy, with tones of coffee and roasted nuts. Not bad!

Batch Milk K0.8B. Sweeter than (A). Definite caramel and cardamom notes. Also quite creamy; very good.


The best batches were K0.2.CB and C0.4A, and perhaps K0.8B. It’ll be interesting how v1.0 will turn out, and what if any aspects of those batches will exist there.


I missed the beta period for TCHO’s “Citrus” dark chocolate. However, I bought a packet of version 1.0. I kept expecting some citrus aromatics, but hadn’t sensed any. Midway through tasting, a pleasant tartness arose and lasted to the finish with an added fruitiness. Good, but more like a general fruity tanginess rather than anything specifically citrus. To my senses, there were no hints of lemon, lime, orange or tangerine. I think I’ll just stick with Fruity v2.0, unless another Citrus version comes out.

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