Please read my inital review here. Let me tell you about the customer service and commitment to product integrity over at Cocoa Puro. After I posted my review, Tom Pedersen from Cocoa Puro emailed, saying he was extremely embarrassed that my sample of Kaka'Wa Cocoa Beans were melted. I emailed back and basically said, "No worries." After all, they were very tasty, and they were Free. In the next email, he said he was sending another sample, because he wanted me to taste the product as they are meant to be tasted: whole and unmelted. He shipped them with a large cold pack, and they arrived in perfect shape. So, I am adding this codicil, along with some pictures of the new shipment, to let you know more about Kaka'Wa Cocoa Beans and the folks over at Cocoa Puro.
Before I add to my description of the candy itself, I must tell you how impressed I am with Tom and the gang over at Cocoa Puro. Of course Tom wants his product to be reviewed in the best light possible, but more than that, he wanted to be sure that I was able to taste his chocolate covered cocoa beans at their best. He absolutely did not have to send me another sample. After all, I had loved them and my review was positive. Regardless, he wanted to send them, and he took this little melting episode as a learning opportunity. Now, he knows that he needs to use a large cold pack to ship samples. So, thank you Tom, both for your commitment to your product and for sending out a second shipment.
And now, on to the Tasting. Although the melted and re-cooled beans were good, the texture was off on the chocolate since it was out of temper. In the new shipment, the chocolate was firm and creamy. I was also able to enjoy the bitter dusting of cocoa powder on the outside of each bean--a nice contrast that was lacking in the melted shipment. I tasted the new batch of beans in several different ways. Because I love you. First, I just put one in my mouth and chewed it up. Then, I ate half of one. Then, I let the layers of chocolate melt in my mouth before chewing. I think I've got a pretty good handle on these little guys now.
I don't know what brand of couverture Tom uses to dip the cocoa beans, but it is of high quality. As I let the candy melt, I was able to distinguish all three chocolates, like Violet Beauregard was able to in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Except I didn't turn into a blueberry at the end. First up was the dusting of bitter cocoa powder. The dark chocolate is smooth and well-rounded. I didn't detect any serious fruitiness or deep coffee or tobacco flavors--just rich chocolate. The milk chocolate is incredibly creamy. While I generally don't choose milk chocolate for eating out of hand, this particular one was also well-rounded, milky and rich. The white chocolate lives closest to the bean, which is lovely, since its sweetness contrasts nicely with the unsweetened bean. The white chocolate tastes like milk and cocoa butter, without that artificial flavor that many white candy coatings have. The bean itself tastes of coffee tinged chocolate, but is in no way bitter, at least not to my palate. And speaking of the bean, I paid special attention (for Marc) to the way it crunched. I would say that the crunch is the sharp crunch of an almond as opposed to the creamy crunch of a walnut. The bean does crumble when you chew, but it's not gritty, especially if you start chewing before all the chocolates have melted away.
Try the melting method once, but these candies are meant to be eaten all at once, so all the chocolates can blend together into one incredibly complex and satisfying chocolate bite.
These snacks are pricey--$28 for 12 ounces, not including shipping. They are also pure chocolate indulgence. I suggest you find a reason to treat yourself and then make your stash last as long as you can.
To recap, highest marks go to Kaka'Wa Cocoa Beans and to Cocoa Puro for great customer service.