Need New OG Ecuadorian Cacao Butter Supplier
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This is the archive site and it's not getting many visitors. You can ask this over at the new ChocolateLife site. Use the "Forgot Password" and the email address you use to log into this account and then post in the "AskTCL" room.
I miss this forum...
I have a question which has been bugging me, related to labeling the finished product:
So, if you're making a 100Gr. chocolate bar, using for example 70% dark chocolate couverture, and 15% of the 100Gr. bar is made of inclusions (almonds, for instance). Do you label your chocolate as:
70% Dark Chocolate with Almonds
- or -
59.5% Dark Chocolate with Almonds
Thanks for your help.
You can ask questions like this on TheChocolateLife in the Ask TCL room. Use the email address you log in here to request a password and sign in. I know it's been a long time but we're moving in a good direction on the new platform. Major changes coming in the upcoming weeks.
And, it would be labeled "70% dark chocolate with Almonds".
Here in the US you don't need to need to list ingredients percentages in the ingredient statements. In the EU you might. Keep in mind there is no official definition for dark chocolate. Colloquially any chocolate without any dairy ingredients is thought of as dark, but in the standards of identity it's called sweet chocolate - as in semi-sweet and bittersweet. Sweet chocolate can have dairy ingredients in it, for example, anhydrous butterfat (butter oil).
I have been in touch with the UK importer of Everlasting (Angel Refrigeration) for at least four years and have sold several of the 100-series units to chocolate makers here in the US.
If you look at the specs for the blast chillers the goal is to be able to take product from 90C at the center to 3C at the center in under 90 minutes. Shock freezing takes product from 90C at the center down to -18C.
NOW, if you can set the temperature of the blast chill cycle to ~12C that could work.
If you are looking at a 71-series cabinet, get the 72-series cabinet with the double doors. Slightly more expensive but you could, for example, use the bottom half for short-term storage and the top half for crystallization. In any event, when you open one door you're only pulling cool air from one half of the cabinet and so recovery time will be faster.
You do not want to use a blast chiller – the goal is to cool things down to about -40F as quickly as possible. Thermal shock is an understatement.
As far as I'm concerned they are adapted to chocolate, i.e. higher temp and different air flow, aren't they?
The generic term 'blast' might be confusing.
I was not being clear. The goal of a blast chiller is to cool things down very quickly. This is to reduce the size of ice crystals that might form as much as possible. Large ice crystals formed during slow freezing damage cell walls and so, when thawed, e.g., result in soggy fruit.
A good temperature range for crystallizing chocolate is about 13-15C not -40C (which is = -40F).
Clay, what do you say about the blast chillers?
Should generate very quick cooling times; but, does it create a thermal shock?
You do not want to use a blast chiller – the goal is to cool things down to about -40F as quickly as possible. Thermal shock is an understatement.
Can I ask for an update. We are thinking about an upgrade our workshop for bigger capacity and one of the main machine to considered is roasting machine. For now we use basic unox for 4 pan. We would like to upgrade for bigger amount per one roast to 40 - 50lb. What do you think about UNOX Mind-maps 16 pan vs. Coffee drum roaster set up for cacao?
We do light - middle roast. Roasting whole beans.
Thanks for your opinions.
One of the larger-capacity Unox machines can certainly be used for this purpose and will likely cost less – on a batch capacity/throughput basis – than a drum roaster when you consider TCO (which includes ground rent).
One advantage of a drum roaster to consider is that the probe in the mass of beans can be connected to a computer and there is logging software that can be used to visualize the roast in real time. Putting a probe in a mass of beans in an oven is a little trickier.
One compelling advantage of a combi-oven (and there are less-expensive brands than the Unox, consider Convotherm) is the steam function. This provides a more effective microbial kill step than dry roasting and is something not many drum roasters incorporate.
A well-known chocolate maker recently went from a 3-pan convection oven to a 6-pan Unox. What they tell me is the most valuable feature for them is the ability to program the combi-oven's temperature and humidity over the duration of the roast. Once they find the roast parameters they like they program them into the oven. They fill the oven with beans, close the door, select the program, and then walk away until the roast is done. They find not having to pay close attention to the roast very liberating and a feature that increases overall productivity.
Finally, if you have an oven you can bake in it, something you can't do in a drum roaster. You can also roast nuts.
The seeding method for tempering works only if the cold chocolate you add has already been tempered (which means that cocoa butter it contains is already crystalised in correct crystal form).
If you use cold "chocolate" that has been made and than just cooled it will not work.
If you are working with small quantities you will need to learn how to temper chocolate on table or use one of the machines which generate seed from cocoa butter.
This is absolutely the first place to start.
If you are not adding already tempered chocolate you are not properly seeding as there are no proper seed crystals in the chocolate you're adding. It sounds like you might be using a machine like a chocovision. What I would experiment with is using the "mode 2" tempering setting, which is slower than . Heat the chocolate up and then do not add any more during the cooling down cycle. After cooling, let the temperature warm up and after the machine says the chocolate is ready, wait for 5-10 minutes to ensure even mixing.
The program is sometimes used by small makers who do not add cocoa butter to their chocolate and don't have seed. The extra time, apparently, makes up for those deficiencies and enables enough of the right kind of crystals to form during cooling.
I would recommend contact Eugene Rivera at Quality Bags, Inc in Addison, Illinois. He knows everything about film and he can advise you on the perfect film for your product. Their website is www.qbifilms.com . Let us know how it goes. Thanks!
Daniel - thanks for providing this recommendation. The web site is a little challenging to navigate so I think calling is the faster alternative. You've used them?
Who do you use and why for your films? I have zero experience in this area and am looking to start checking out options, thanks.
The kind of film you use depends a lot on what you're wrapping. Chocolate bars require different barrier properties than baked goods to. If you are buying you flow wrapper from a reputable source then they should be able to advise - or put you in touch with a manufacturer who can discuss your needs and recommend options.
Here is a link to a page discussing some common film types.
I have a product that is enrobed. I use good quality chocolate.
The issue is less about the chocolate and mostly about what you're enrobing, and specifically what is called water activity, or aW. The higher the water activity, the shorter the shelf life. This is because water is where the organisms that cause mold to grow and dairy to go off exist.
Refrigeration is the single best approach to extending shelf life but as Jim points out it can be an impediment to impulse purchases if the product has to reach room temp before opening and eating for best eating experience and so that condensation does not form.
If refrigeration is not really an option then your next best bet is to use techniques and ingredients that reduce aW. If you don't know what your water activity there are devices to measure it - one common one is called the Pawkit. If I recall correctly, there is a lot of information on controlling aW in Peter Greweling's book.
The hotel pans give a clue to the dimensions.
In my experience, you will spend a lot of time working on duplicating the Kudvic rig. There is a lot going on here and the geometry and physics are complex. Also - a lot depends on the cracker you're using.
IMO - you'd be better off starting with the Real Seeds winnower and working to modify it. I would not use a single piece of plexi on the front. I'd have separate pieces for the zig zag chamber and the collection chambers. This will enable you to access the zig zag chamber easily and experiment with shapes and distances and more to improve and focus the turbulence which is what you need to separate things properly.
One of the most-liked small winnowers is the one from RealSeeds in the UK:
One trick to throughput on this is to be able to feed it continuously with some sort of feeder. I might also look to consider multiple passes or perhaps pre-classify.
You should also consider making this with food-safe material such as HDPE - at least for the food contact parts.
I would be careful with making too extensive modifications to the dimensions.
Thank you Clay !
In purpose-built fridges the purpose is all about short recovery times. Getting back to the desired RH and temp quickly when the door is closed.
The larger Everlasting fridges, in part because they are deep and narrow, recover very quickly. It's also one of the reasons I recommend the double-door version as this reduces recovery time.
Another aspect of these purpose-built fridges is the circulation of air. It's designed to remove the latent heat of crystallization efficiently. (And the humidity.)
You can't use an external controller for temp as when you turn on the fridge (at least many commercial fridges) the first thing they do is go into defrost mode.
I have been told that about 55F (about 13C) is a good temperature to start with. RH about the same 50-55.
The Everlasting 130 with a glass door is about £2700 plus shipping. Stainless steel is about £100 cheaper. Takes about 60 days from completion of order. It's 220V single-phase, no 120V option, so might not work in a home environment. The load is pretty low so you might be able to use an electronic transformer designed for appliances with reactive loads (e.g., refrigerators with compressors).
It's in section 3.14 of the following document:
To the extent that you reduce the amount of moisture in the immediate environment that can condense on the surface - maybe. However, the labor and time involved may not be worth it.
However, airflow over the surfaces of the mold (there is a fan in the fridge that works all the time, right?) are key to removing the latent heat of crystallization and so containing the mold as you suggest would certainly slow crystallization down, could interfere with it - reducing the quality of the temper, and might not solve the moisture problem.
First thing is to know what the RH in the fridge is. If you don't want to invest a lot of $$, try something like a Moso Natural charcoal bag or something similar just to see where that takes the RH to and see if that solves your problem.
The major issue is managing humidity if there is a temperature difference between the room and the cooler.
There are static options.
One is Cooler King from PolarFresh:
Another is HumiClear:
The great thing about static systems is that you can retrofit them to any existing cabinet (e.g., wine fridge).
However, if you are interested in a new cooling solution with built-in humidity control, the fridges from Everlasting are very good and I can source them for you.
There are a bunch of options on Amazon:
I would put one inside the refrigerator and get one for the room. I would not get a dual-zone system if it is wired. Which one? I have not used any of these so I don't have specific recommendations. However, there are many inexpensive options so the risk is low.
Do you have some way to measure the humidity inside the fridge and inside the room? There's moisture somewhere that's condensing on the surface of the product - caused by temperature differential / dew point.
Cacoa Noel-brand black cocoa powder in 3 pound tubs. They might have a larger size. Contact Paris Gourmet.
Blommer offers a black cocoa powder. Call them and find out who sells in your area.
In order to get chocolate to set properly (snap and sheen) it needs to be tempered to promote the formation of the right crystal structure.
Hand tempering is a skill that needs to be learned - a process that takes time and practice and not necessarily something that someone who is just making a few of something once a year (or lifetime) wants to master.
One option is to use a compound - a "chocolate" where cocoa butter is replaced by another fat, called a cocoa butter equivalent (or CBE) or cocoa butter replacement (CBR). These fats have higher melting points and are solid at room temperature and they don't need tempering. They are often sold as candy melts.
However, if you are using real chocolate and don't have the patience or skill to temper, then adding some wax to the chocolate will force it to harden in an acceptable way when it cools.
I took a look through CFR 21. to see if there were any applications where paraffin could be used on a label without disclosing it and I don't see one. There are persistent claims that paraffin is added to cheap chocolates on a regular basis, and don't need to be disclosed because they can be listed as "other flavors" and I don't see that in the regulations regarding paraffin as a food additive.
Having no first-hand experience with the technology, the NPR article raises more questions than it answers
Most of my thoughts echo - this is something that will appeal to larger chocolate makers and candy companies as they are the ones that pump chocolate around. In large plants where there are long runs I can see how this might help but as also points out, pumping costs are negligible.
I can see the application in compound in candy factories and in enrobing in general. Because compound is reconstituted and not made directly from cocoa liquor the recipe can be optimized for the tech from the outset.
It's also not clear what applying this tech to tempered chocolate will do the temper and there are a lot of applications where that will turn out to be important.
The fat reduction aspect has two components - cost reduction (as a replacement for lecithin?), and fat reduction. I am with when I say that fat has been demonized by the sugar lobby for far too long. So I personally don't find that argument either compelling or interesting.
If it can reduce manufacturing costs and be cost-effective, the tech will be adopted. In large volume applications where chocolate and compound are already being pumped around. I don't see it being useful for smaller makers as a stand-alone tech. If the sieve can also be made to out filter out particles above a certain size (or installed in existing filters), and filter out metal then I can see how it might be a part of a HAACP/FSMA regimen for smaller makers. If the price were right.
I was hoping you could help. I know you have experience with Choc 71 chocolate fridges. Before i commit to buying one. I just wanted your opinion on how effective they are. Do they guarantee no bloom / streaks on the back of the chocolate. Marks that are normally caused by the environment i.e humidity.
Any feedback would be fantastic.
If your tempering skills are bollocks then the fridge will not guarantee good results. However - assuming the chocolate is well-tempered, the fridge will do a great job of cooling it down so the result is its yummiest; no streaks on the backs, could reduce the number and severity of release marks (but cleanliness is one contributing factor there).
Short of a very expensive dedicated mold cooling tunnel or an Irinox cabinet, this is a great option.
If you are making these for personal use then variability is okay, I guess.
However, my understanding of the regulations for commercial production in Colorado and Washington, for example, are that dosing needs to be very precise.
The most common requirement for "well fermented" that I am aware of is 80%. Much more than that and there is real risk of over-fermentation generating off flavors.
Here is a device used in Nicaragua for measuring pH and temperature of pulp at collection:
Here is a link to the kind of device shown above. It's not the same one. I have not used the one I link to, it's just an example of the kind of device that can be used.
To measure the pH of the cotyledon you need a lab pH meter. You take a couple of seeds from the pile when you turn, peel them, grind them, and then add a measured amount to a buffer solution to the vessel. The sensor then measures the pH. Here is the kind of device I am talking about. I have no experience using this one, it is just an example of the kind of device I am talking about.
If price is a real concern, here is another:
Digital refractometers (to measure sugar content) are also available:
although optical refractometers are far more commonly used.
Why are you looking for 90% fermentation? (By this I am assuming you mean 90% well fermented where well fermented equals brown color in dry beans.)
By the time the beans hit this level of fermentation the chemicals contributing to flavors other than cocoa have been cooked out.
The best indicator that fermentation is complete is to measure the pH of the cotyledon. You need the starting pH (average - and different beans and growing areas have different starting pH range) and the finished pH is around 1.3-1.5 below that. You need to measure how low the pH goes and then when it starts creeping up again fermentation is over.
Some residual acidity is not necessarily a bad thing, but too much is not good. You don't need to bring the beans in overnight but you may need to cover them depending on weather. (Where are you located?) Consistency is important. If you change the drying method much based on changing local conditions you will get different results every time. Less is known about the science of flavor development due to drying than fermentation.
Keep in mind that when the beans are in the bags for 2 days they are actually fermenting so you need to keep this in mind. Better to have some mechanical means to remove the extra pulp quickly (a press or centrifuge) or have the first box designed in such a way that it enables the juice to drain more quickly.
Do you know the starting pH, sugar content, and temperature of the bean mass? You should.
Are you putting thermometers in the boxes so you know temperatures during the process? You should.
What are you using to fill the mold cavities? You can't have consistent dosage level if the amount going into the mold differs. And, from my research, consistently accurate dosage is incredibly important in most jurisdictions where edibles are legal.
Assuming you are making ganaches (which I infer from your question) ...
When are you adding the oil? It would seem easy to me to boil more cream than is needed and then weigh out the exact amount needed before mixing in the oil (if that's how you're doing it) before pouring it over the chocolate to mold.
Thanks for letting me know about the use of pumps, I did not know this about the smaller machines. I did take a quick look at the Selmi site and it looks like the Plus is not on offer any more (the Plus EX is). There is no indication what the One uses to transport the chocolate.
(but they are still not tabletop machines)
Tony specifically mentioned that he was NOT interested in an auger-based machine, which the Selmis are.
(site requires latest version of Flash Player which I did not download):
Contact Dave Wahl ( wahlnuts (at) msn (dot) com
There are a bunch of videos on YouTube - and Dave can talk to you about creating something for your custom mold configuration.
Have you been in touch with FBM customer support on Skype? The Skype address is: fbmsrl.
They have videos that show the proper use of the belt and will be happy to send them to you. On a Skype video call you can also show them the issues you are dealing with and they can walk you through addressing them right then and there.
There are adjustments on the sides of the double-curtain veil that are used to fine-tune the flow of the chocolate. The settings depend on a number of factors but mostly on the viscosity of the chocolate being used. If you are constantly getting gaps in the curtain then you need to open up the gaps in the double-curtain.
There is an adjustment for the bottomer on the side of the carriage of the enrober. Facing the Compatta with the belt in place the adjustment knob is to the right of the double-curtain veil. Move it up and down to raise or lower the chocolate in the basin above the belt to the height you desire.
Are you also having issues with the detailer?
There should be chocolate on the paper takeoff, it's there to keep chocolate off the belt.
Hi guys. I am also looking at ordering a kleego 50. What has the feedback been like. Starting out so would really like to spend money wisely. My first batch of beans were definitely bit acidic. Regards
The Kleego - which I helped design - is the only real conche this size on the market. It was designed to take a standard max batch size out of a CocoaTown 65 (~35kg) and is based on a 50kg melter (which it can also be used for). The Kleego offers the ability to control the heat of the working bowl, the heat of the forced air, and the speed of the bottom bowl stirrer, giving the chocolate maker a great deal of control over the finished product. What the Kleego is not is a refiner. While it will break up particle agglomerates and make sure all of the particles are coated with cocoa butter, it will not continue to reduce particle size.
There are about 100 Kleegos installed around the world, and some installations have more than one. If you want to see how one works, we can offer you a steeply discounted seat in the next class at the Jean-Marie Auboine school at the end of May.
Whereabouts are you traveling? I can personally recommend Chocolats Nobile.
The list on this site is pretty good.
If you get a chance, try to visit Whiskey Castle -http://www.whisky-castle.com/htm/home-castle.htm - I was there during the 100th Anniversary of Felchlin back in 2008 and it was tremendously interesting and tasty.
The vast majority of the fermentation that goes on in the world is not instrumented. People throw out five days and six days - such as "if you go from five days to six days you will get 'better' results - as if they know what they mean. But, you cannot control what you do not measure.
What they don't know, or seem to care to learn or understand, is how variables such as water and sugar content of the pulp, pH of the pulp and the cotyledons (this is a significant marker), and which specific species of yeasts and bacteria are doing the work - affect the chemistry of the beans.
It's not just five versus six days, it's also understanding when the turns are made and how many there should be. Good examples are the Ingemann double- and triple-turned Chunos. Same length of fermentation, the major difference is in the number of turns.
It also depends on what you're looking for in terms of flavor. Longer fermentations tend to result in greater presence of chemicals that contribute to cocoa/chocolate flavor. Shorter fermentations tend to result in the presence of chemicals that contribute to more complex flavors ... but fail and 80% well-fermented cut test, so people write them off as under-fermented.
The first step in getting a handle on things is to instrument and document from the point of collection. Then you can get an understanding of how changes affect flavor and correlate them back to something concrete.
/ snip /
Having heard comments out of Camino Verde along the lines of 'there is no such thing as a bad variety, just inadequate /unsuitable fermentation' makes me wonder as to possible adjustments on the farm end too.
I have to disagree to some extent with what Vicente says, especially given that he is in Ecuador: very few people would agree that CCN-51 is a not bad variety from a flavor perspective.
Given what we now know about fermentation - the inoculated ferments that Camino Verde uses, as well as the guided wild ferments that Ingemann in Nicaragua uses - there is such a thing as improper fermentation, whether over- or under. It is also important to recognize that drying plays a huge role in flavor development and less is know about the effects of drying than fermentation.
That said, I also have to say that not every bean deserves to stand alone in a single-bean chocolate ... and that could be a combination of variety and post-harvest processing along with an all-too-common lack of understanding among small makers who think they know what "good" cocoa is, and actually don't.
After spending more than $16 ($14.95 + tax for 70gr) at a Williams Sonoma store in White Plains NY, and given the reputation of Chef Keller, I expected … more. A lot more.
The first disappointment came immediately upon opening the box: the bar was broken.
The next disappointment came when opening up the flow-wrap. The bar itself was visually damaged with wear lines down the center of the back of the bar, scuff marks all around, and chocolate flakes from the edges of the bar because the mold appears to be under-filled and the chocolate creeps up the side of the mold when when it cools. These thin lips are prone to breaking off - and they had in the bar I bought - and in riotous abandon. (That’s not a good thing.)
As for the “chocolate” itself (“chocolate” because the product contains olive oil it does not meet the standard of identity set forth in CFR 21.163.123), I give it a strong Meh.
The aroma is somewhat complex but is composed mostly of a bright sweet top with mid-notes dominated by over-roasting. Paying close attention there is a faint green vegetal note - presumably from the olive oil - that would be easy to miss without multiple sniffs with your nose buried in the bar.
The snap is surprisingly sharp, given the presence of the olive oil, which I expected would have softened the bar somewhat. This extends to the texture of the chew which is also firmer than I would have expected. The melt is pretty uncomplicated but there’s a brightness to it that I don’t hate, but I don’t know that I like, either.
The taste is bland and boring, with over roasted notes predominating. There is considerable dustiness to the texture as the chocolate leaves the mouth that - finally - resolves into some stronger green vegetal notes from the olive oil. There is also some interesting and nice - but fleeting - astringency that darts around the mouth and then … it all fades away into nothing surprisingly quickly. There bottom drops out of the middle and there is literally almost nothing on the long finish. Waiting for five minutes or so reveals a sugary sweetness with a faint chocolate note in firmly in the center of the mouth above the tongue.
I don’t think that there is actually anything truly revolutionary about this “chocolate,” despite the claim on the label.
After thinking about it, the whole raison d’être of these bars is their marketing. It’s not really about chocolate (after all, it is faux chocolate). It’s the combination of the chocolate with the olive oil, a matching of a famous chef with a famous olive oil producer in an attempt to convince people that the way to overcome the reduction in antioxidants through processing is to use olive oil.
Given the cutesy spelling of “extravirgin” (perhaps that is what is revolutionary?) and the emphasis on antioxidants over everything else in the language on the label, it’s seems pretty safe to assume that this attempt is not really about the "chocolate," a point further underscored by the fact that there is no mention of the quantity of antioxidants in or near the nutrition facts panel.
Finally, like many single-origin bars whose origin is an entire country, there is nothing about this bar that says “Peru” to me. In part, that’s because I know that Peru as an origin is host to many, many different flavor profiles from up north in Piura and Amazonas to Marañon, Huanuco, San Martin, and Ucayalli, and down into Cusco in the south. The provenance of the beans is important from a marketing perspective but little else. I was not in the mood to spend an additional $16 on the Madagascar bar to see if it had any of the characteristic aromas and flavors of Madagascar - but that’s not the point of these bars: the olive oil is the point.
On my scale of 0-4, I give this a 1.
I don’t hate this “chocolate,” but it’s not something I would go out of my way to buy, or ask for as a gift. I would consider eating it if gifted it and there was nothing else on hand.
It’s clear that the product is mis-labeled as chocolate. It does not conform to the standard of identity for chocolate. So, I am going to deduct a rating point and give it a 0.
I arrived in Amsterdam on the Wednesday of Chocoa and went directly from Centraal Station to the venue - the Beurs van Berlage.
My Thursday and Friday were spent moderating The Chocolate Makers Forum, and because I had taken on the moderator role, I told the organizers that I would be happy to jump in and take over tasting sessions if a presenter did not show up, but I did not want to commit to doing tastings of my own.
Somehow this was interpreted as my giving permission schedule tasting sessions for Saturday and on Sunday.
To make things even more fun, I did not learn about this until Friday after the Chocolate Makers Forum ended, when I just happened to pick up a copy of the program. Which is when I also learned the topic for my sessions:
Really? Seriously? This was not a topic I would normally even begin to try to attempt without a lot of preparation and I would want a lot more than 45 minutes to present, especially when presenting to an audience of 100 non-professionals. And, of course, by the time I found out what I had been signed up for, it was impossible to change because it was in the printed program and on all the signage.
If I had the time to prepare, I would have liked to have worked with raw and roasted beans, liquor and chocolate, but I would still have started with an industrial chocolate. But, I had less than 24 hours to come up with an approach and find whatever I needed before the first tasting and no facilities to do anything from scratch.
So, what to do? Fortunately, I was at a chocolate festival … and one where, luckily for me, there were be a lot of raw cocoa beans, even if there were no roasted beans or liquors.
I decided to make my entry point into the session what I perceive to be the difference between craft chocolate makers and industrial chocolate makers. In my mind, industrial producers are defined by the requirement to be consistent and craft producers not so much. I seem them as the flip sides of a coin.
Using an unidentified dark chocolate from Callebaut - a Chocoa sponsor that sampled liberally so I was able to get my hands on many bars - I explained the process of how industrial chocolate makers can create chocolate with a consistent flavor profile despite the fact that the beans are an agricultural product and can vary. Through blending and the use of vanilla - which is a masking aroma - consistency is achieved, though at the expense of interesting varietal nuance in the beans.
From there I had the great good fortune to be able to taste some chocolates and the beans they were made from. I was able to sample a 100% Madgascar from Chocolats Madagascar/Chocolaterie Robert following it up immediately with the beans so that the audience could get a glimpse of the evolution of flavor from bean to chocolate - with both in their mouth at the same time.
I followed that combination up with two chocolates made from beans from Java. One was from Van Dender in Belgium and the other from Morin in France. Because I also had the (unroasted) beans - which were passed around in a bag - the audience got to smell and taste the beans and then taste the differences in the two chocolates which are actually quite different, with one preserving a strong smoky character that is common in Javanese beans (with smoke normally considered to be a defect) and the other with a more delicate smoky note. Two chocolate makers, each with their own aesthetic, producing recognizably different chocolates from the same beans.
[At this point I do need to give a shout out to Daarnhouwer – Albert and Maria – who graciously and unhesitatingly agreed to give me the beans from Madagascar and Java and the chocolates from Chocolaterie Robert, Van Dender, and Morin for me to use.]
As the beans and chocolates were being passed around I was able to talk a little bit about fermentation and drying and their contributions to flavor as well as take questions from the audience. I did get several really brilliant questions, including one from a teen who asked about the chemical neutralization of acidity which meant I could talk about Van Houten and a key Dutch innovation in chocolate making.
Regal Chocolate (Soklet) from India was offering two different ferments of the same bean with chocolate made from one of them, so that would have been an interesting choice, and Mava was offering beans from six different farms in Madagascar’s Sambirano Valley, none of them the two best-known - Millau or Akesson. One farm, Ottange, has flavors that remind me of the Madagascar chocolate I would have eaten when I first started out nearly 20 years ago.
It would have been really interesting to work with the beans from two or more of the farms (Mava had chocolate from these beans made by Chocolaterie Robert) and then to also taste beans and chocolate from Chocolaterie Robert made from beans from one of the two main sources. Throwing Valrhona’s Manjari into the mix would have been a real eye-opener, I think, as tasters I know claim that Manjari has drifted away from its original flavor profile.
I also know it would be interesting to work with Friis-Holm chocolate and the beans from Ingemann in Nicaragua. The double-turn and triple-turn Chuno for example would demonstrate the impact of fermentation on flavor, and there are other people working with Chuno to provide a counterpoint.
But I don’t know how interesting a deep dive into liquor tasting would be for a general audience and I certainly don’t know how I would accomplish for 100 people in only 45 minutes. I do know, after doing the tastings, that it is possible to introduce the concepts in an approachable and understandable way as long as both beans and chocolate can be tasted and compared.
What is a "normal" conching time with this?
How acidic are your beans / liquor?
Also, as Sebastian says you are going to want to heat the chocolate in the mixer and be able to control the temperature. And, having forced hot air is going to be a good idea.
The Kleego conche I helped develop for FBM can control the bowl temperature to 60C and the hot air (about 100 cubic meters/hour) up to 70C. It is vertical, has counter-rotating stirrers, and a pump to transfer chocolate from the bottom of the working bowl to the top so that all of the chocolate is processed. With the heat on high you can conche very acidic chocolates flat in under two hours. However, people tend to use them hot for a short period of time in the beginning and then cool things down when much of the acidic aroma has evaporated off. Typical conching times are under 2.5 hours for a 35kg batch. It has a melting capacity of 50kg and can also mix many recipes.