SOMA Chocolatemaker: Embodying the Essence of Chocolate

This article was written in 2018 and updated in 2020.

The 70 percent dark chocolate bar from Dreketi, Vanua Levu Island, Fiji, by Soma Chocolatemaker had a big reputation to live up to…

  1. Time Cupsoul had never eaten chocolate from Fiji
    • According to the brands’ packaging, Fiji’s national flag touts a cacao pod in lions paws (reputation signal and/or national pride, perhaps?) and also explains that, the Fijian concept of “vanua” means the land as an “extension of oneself; including one’s life, sustenance and culture”
  2. The tasting notes on the bar were listed as “chocolate, honey and grapefruit”
  3. The Soma Chocolatemaker chocolate molding is one of the most whimsical in the industry, notable for intricate details and a romantic rendition of the cacao forest (cacao pods, tropical birds, and cacao flowers)
aerial view of beach and huts
Photo by Damon Hall on Pexels.com

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Start Your Sunrise at Washington, DC’s Newest Coffee Roastery: The Roasted Boon Co.

The coffee is fantastic at The Roasted Boon Co., a brand new coffee shop and roastery in Shaw, DC. The roastery just opened it’s doors on July 20th and opens every day at 6 am, so if you are comfortable enough to grab takeaway during the pandemic, there is the advantage that you can arrive early and beat the crowds. (We were the only ones in the shop besides the baristas this week. Note that The Roasted Boon Co. is the only coffee shop we’re aware of that opens at 6 am in DC right now.) Plus, the cleanliness of the store seems top notch; each employee at The Roasted Boon Co. wears a mask, there is a Plexiglas pane in front of the register, and ample hand sanitizer for your use. You can also order things online, according to their store signage. As always, please trust your own judgement.

The Roasted Boon Co. Coffee Shop Interior
Image © time cupsoul. The interior of the Roasted Boon Co. roastery in Shaw, DC is decorated with a white Diedrich coffee roaster and colorful splashes and nods to the Eritrean “boon,” or coffee-making ceremony.

The coffee at the Roasted Boon Co is as we said — truly fantastic. We didn’t know what to expect of the new roastery, but the small latte that we got was honestly wonderful. An Ethiopian and Brazilian blend of beans, the espresso tasted rich, full-bodied and delicious. Having the option to get a “small” latte also added to our happiness; a latte with too much milk is never fun on a sweltering DC summer morning. The iced latte was the perfect size and had the optimal amount of ice.

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An Italian Love Affair: Amedei Chocolate

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in 2017 AND UPDATED ON JULY 3, 2020.

How do you choose which chocolate bar to buy? Sometimes, you just have to listen to what speaks or calls to you. An Italian brand, Amedei, on the top shelf at a fine foods grocery store in DC, whispered in Italian: Andiamo.

The packaging of Amedei chocolate bars immediately provided an escape and began sharing a rich story. In particular, the Toscano Blond Cioccolato Fondente Extra 63% Con Pesche e Albicocche bar– dark chocolate (63%) with peaches and apricots, showcased a watercolor painting of a peach tree and the Amedei logo in a black square with a gold perimeter.

Time Cupsoul research revealed that: Amedei Srl, headquartered in Pontedera (Pisa), Italy, was founded by Cecilia Tessieri, the “maitre chocolatier.” Ameidei is the surname of Tessieri’s grandmother, who helped support the shop’s opening, along with other members of the family, in 1990. Tessieri started in a small shop making pralines and was later trained as an apprentice in Europe (Germany, France, Belgium). The first Amedei branded chocolate bars became available in 1998. Since, Amedei brand has won the “Golden Bean” award from the Chocolate Academy of London for bean to bar.

This was the first time ever that Time Cupsoul tasted cocoa with peaches and apricots. The unique combination was certainly alluring.

First snap of the bar was a bit softer than some other chocolate brands, which shortly after, made way for a decadent, soft mouth-feel (and texture) somewhat akin to “cocoa: chocolate brownie” on the chocolate tasters wheel. Savoring the flavors developed significant cocoa notes, including: melted chocolate ice cream, dry cocoa and baked brownie. More subtle notes included nutty: walnut and a touch of dairy. The peach and apricot pieces were finely intermixed within the cocoa, and therefore came through as fruity notes (and perhaps even a tad “floral”), but still, the cocoa notes reigned. It would be interesting to learn cocoa bean origin for this bar.

colorful cliffside village
Photo by Michael Block on Pexels.com

Time Cupsoul is very tempted to try the pistachio, hazelnut and red berry variations of these bars. Trying Amedei was a definite time cupsoul. 

You can buy Amedei chocolate bars online here.

Chocolate/Branding: Amedei Tuscany, Toscano Blond Cioccolato Fondente Extra 63% Con Pesche e Albicocche, with envelope-style packaging, semi-thick textured card-stock.

Description/Packaging Highlight:

 “Chocolate. The reward of our childhood. The softness of a warm embrace. The energy that makes us want to act, create and discover. The temptation which is so sweet to surrender to. The gift we love to give and wish we’d receive a little more often. A journey to distant lands to help the best cocoa varieties grow and thrive. Forming relationships of friendship, respect and partnership with the people who live where cocoa grows, keepers of ancient knowledge. An encounter with the past and a link to future. Chocolate. We make it just for you, with love.”

Zero additives: “Pure cocoa butter, soy lecithin and gluten free without colouring agents and artificial flavours.” Kosher dairy.

*Please note that all chocolate bars consumed and reviewed are randomly chosen and purchased with personal funds. This post is not sponsored contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and do buy something, you may help support an insatiable coffee and chocolate habit. 🙂

Fattoush Cafe//פטוש: Best Coffee in Haifa

This post was originally published on May 21, 2015 and updated on July 1, 2020.

Fattoush Cafe is the best answer for a delicious meal and unique cup of coffee in Haifa, Israel.

The cafe sits on a row of restaurants where beautiful Israeli hostesses tempt you with menus and deals. But Fattoush Cafe doesn’t need a beautiful hostess; the restaurant’s design is stunning all on its own. Only a small wooden stool with a stack of menus greets you, along with the smell of delicious dishes.

Time Cupsoul feels attracted to secluded outdoor patios — “magic gardens” at cafe’s, if you will. A lover of nature, drinking coffee surrounded by trees and flowers adds to the feeling of inner peace. It’s the feeling that creates a time cupsoul, a coffee experience of inspiration and calm. Fattoush Cafe’s garden patio is visible from the street, with the patio tables protected by vines and olive trees. Yes, this looked more than suitable.

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