It’s probably best to first define what Crio Bru isn’t. Although this new, Orem-made, brewed hot beverage will most certainly garner comparisons to coffee or hot chocolate, there’s nothing really like this drink, which is brewed like coffee but is 100 percent cocoa.
Owner Eric Durtschi recently swung by the City Weekly offices for a taste test with our staff. Their tasting notes can be found here.
“Our biggest challenge is education. We have to put as much information as possible on the label,” Durtschi says, while opening several bags. They all list the beans’ superfood qualities and health benefits, with brew directions on the back. The Coca River (Ecuador) smells distinctly of green banana and blackberries, while coconut and cinnamon emanate from the Cavalla (Ivory Coast)—and those tastes come out subtly when brewed. Each of the seven varieties contain single-origin—and, sometimes, single-estate—beans, sourced with Durtschi’s obsessive knack for quality.
“I’ve had to reinvent the wheel for processing cacao beans,” Durtschi says. Crio Bru requires picking more mature beans and a different fermentation time than chocolate. The beans are roasted in Orem and sold ground, because they are more liquidy than coffee beans and would ruin a home grinder.
A French press is the best brew method, and the longer Crio Bru steeps, the richer and more chocolate-y the flavor. Many of our staff would have preferred a little sugar during their taste. “Like fine chocolate, subtleties will come out that way; that’s why the best bars are only 70 percent chocolate,” Durtschi says, although he prefers his without sugar.
The product, which has less caffeine than decaf coffee, is sold in grocery stores in Utah and across the United States. Durtschi hopes to expand his line from seven varieties to 12 within the next year. “I’ve isolated many superior growing regions I can stand behind,” he says.