Forum Activity for @Nat

Nat
@Nat
01/10/11 07:23:43AM
75 posts

"Local" Supply of Cocao Powder


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Nicely researched list of Pacific cacao suppliers! If you're willing to look further afield, check out Whittaker's and Shoklade in New Zealand. They may have some pure chocolate liquor available for you, which is what you were describing as "Ground conched fermented [roasted] country variety cocoa bean".

Guittard makes a product like this called "Oban" but that'd be a long way away (California) to get chocolate for you.

Nat
@Nat
01/04/11 06:45:24AM
75 posts

"Local" Supply of Cocao Powder


Posted in: News & New Product Press

The cacao farm up in Mossman you may be talking about is very fledgling and I haven't heard about them shipping any beans yet, let along pressing them for cocoa powder. Can you use whole chocolate in your pops instead of powder? You may have better luck finding whole chocolate couverture from some of the local chocolate makers like Haighs or the others mentioned in this post:
http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/zokoko-australia-weigh...

and these guys Chocolate Farm

Nat
@Nat
12/26/10 07:10:03AM
75 posts

Chocolate Trip to Houston Texas


Posted in: News & New Product Press

There are usually design firms in large cities that will hire out their stereolithography apparatus to produce a part. Just be warned that as these machines use a stepper motor, their models will often have small ridges that if not smoothed really well after, will produce chocolate in the molds that mirrors these ridges and looks strange.
Nat
@Nat
12/26/10 07:04:06AM
75 posts

Chocolate recommendations for Mexico city


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

El Palacio Nacional (which I think is in the same place or right next to the Museum of Anthropology) has some great Diego Rivera friezes that depict the Aztec and Maya history of cacao, unfortunately the best one is in the corner upstairs. Not a great viewing spot.

Mayordomo shops around town, the closest one 2 km away,

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Norte+3860,+Centro,+72000+Puebla,+Mexico+ (Chocolate+Mayordomo+de+Oaxaca)&daddr=Plaza+de+la+Constituci%C3%B3n+1,+06060+Mexico+City,+Mexico+(Palacio+Nacional)&geocode=FZhYKAEdrM8W-iFTFEI1emVTfw%3BFYprKAEd1owW-iEbSuaAdLTwCg&hl=en&mra=pd&mrcr=0&sll=19.402654,-99.176466&sspn=0.103462,0.115185&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=15

have a good selection of moles and coarse ground chocolate bars. This is the standard Oaxacan drinking chocolate.

Nat
@Nat
12/22/10 07:26:57AM
75 posts

Dark Chocolate and migraines, some thoughts


Posted in: Opinion

But I know from my experiences with coffee that the molecules are somewhat different among different plants: kola nuts, yerba mate, tea, and even arabica versus robusta coffee all vary in how their xanthinealkaloid effect the CNS.

Just to clarify, the specific methyl xanthine alkaloids (theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline) do not differ in their makeup, but the relative amounts of each differ between all these plants, and between varieties of each plant as stated above with criollo vs. forastero cacao. There has been some claims that yerba mate contains a different xanthine than caffeine, called mateine that is a stereoisomer of caffeine, but this is impossible since a stereoisomer must have an optical or chiral center (one atom in the structure that has 4 different molecules attached to it, so that a mirror image of this chiral center cannotbe rotated back to completely overlap itself), and caffeine most definitely does not have a chiral center.

But there's so many hundreds if not thousands of other compounds in all these plants that could change how they affect your body or how the xanthines are absorbed. This makes arguing about caffeine composition a bit moot. None of the percentages of these other compounds will be marked on chocolatepackaging, and even for the same packaging, ingredients list, and nutrition info, the percentages of these compounds could fluctuate alot.

Nat
@Nat
12/20/10 05:11:49AM
75 posts

Dark Chocolate and migraines, some thoughts


Posted in: Opinion

There doesn't seem to be a lot of scientific agreement on a) whether chocolate causes migraines for most migraine sufferers, and b) for those that chocolatedoes cause migraines for, which compound or compounds is causing it. Some say it may be from the caffeine, tyramine, or phenylethylamine. Caffeine is definitely lowered in the bean during fermentation so a longer fermented bean could be better for you if this is the cause, but no one I know writes their fermentation length on their packaging, except perhaps Claudio Corallo. Caffeine would also probably be higher in "longer bred" varieties like Criollo, but this could be subjective.

tyramine and phenylethylamine are such minor compounds in chocolate that I don't think anyone has studied how they differ in different varieties, origins, or fermentation lengths, and tyramine is found in so many other common foods like cheese, raspberries, and red wine that it would be hard to blame chocolate for upping your intake of this compound.

One things is for sure, the higher the percentage of cocoa solids in a bar, the more of these compounds they will have, but going from cacao percentage written on the packaging to cocoa solids is usually quite a puzzle since percentage is a sum of the cocoa solids and cocoa butter. There are a few posts on The Chocolate Life about how to attempt do this. I'd suggest you make a rough estimate of the cocoa solids of the brands that cause you problems vs. the ones that don't at the same cocoa percentage, and see if there's any correlation with migraine-causing ability.

You may want to check these sources:

Cephalalgia.1997 Dec;17(8):855-62;A double-blind provocative study of chocolate as a trigger of headache.
Marcus DA,Scharff L,Turk D,Gourley LM.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol.2003 Sep;91(3):233-40;Intolerance to dietary biogenic amines: a review.
Jansen SC,van Dusseldorp M,Bottema KC,Dubois AE.

Bletter, N. and D. Daly. 2006. " Cacao and its relatives in South America: An overview of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, chemistry, and ethnobotany" in Cameron L. McNeil ed. Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao, University Press of Florida.

Nat
@Nat
12/24/10 07:26:45AM
75 posts

An Indonesian Chocophile


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Selamat malam Willy,

The fermentation is still done with "raw" cacao, it's just that the roasting step is left out, and some places like Big Tree try to control the fermentation process so that it never goes above 115 F/46 C. The taste is very different and much more "beany" or green than roasted chocolate. I saw "raw" in quotes because most "raw" cacao has gone well above the 115 F temp in fermentation unless it's extremely closely monitored.

Lightly processed chocolate can definitely have some benefits since it has higher levels of flavonoid antioxidants, but it's an acquired taste and there could be food born pathogen problems with it as well that hopefully the industry will soon resolve.

Nat
@Nat
12/10/10 05:52:44PM
75 posts

An Indonesian Chocophile


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Apa kabar, WIlly?

Welcome to The Chocolate Life. Where in Indonesia are you? I have a friend in Sumatra who is growing cacao and wants to start making chocolate there. There are also a few growers/sellers in Bali you could talk to.

Good luck! Selamat tinggal!

Nat
@Nat
12/08/10 09:53:12PM
75 posts

Why does chocolate overcrystalize


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

it could also be something as simple as the humidity where you are. Do you know what it is? If you're in Iceland it should be fairly dry in the cold winter, but I'm not sure how a lot of snow might affect that.If it's higher than 50% RH, try to install a dehumidifier or AC unit set on a comfortable temp which should also dehumidify.
Nat
@Nat
11/21/10 09:48:35AM
75 posts

Problems with chocolate molds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi Tien,Yes, raining outside with no AC is definitely a problem with both molding and thickening in the temperer. I'd suggest getting a cheap $20 hygrometer online and don't temper if it's ever above 50% humidity if you don't want to chance it. Where are you?Space heater won't really help, but a dehumidifier or AC set on a higher temp (at which it still dehumidifies) are good for lowering the humidity. A temp of 70-79 is OK, but since most temperers use passive cooling, it goes a little faster if the room temp is closer to 70.
Nat
@Nat
11/21/10 03:07:44AM
75 posts

Problems with chocolate molds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Tien, what kind of molds and cooling are you using and what is your humidity? With larger masses of chocolate in molds vs. thin layers in dipped chocolate, large flat areas on the bar can easily have release marks or problems cooling evenly. This post and this post describe release mark problems with some of the thinner, cheaper, or badly made molds. If you're tempering at a time of year where it's more humid, the tempering that worked fine before may become much more sensitive to any minor problems. I can temper fine all winter with no dehumidification or AC, but come summer and higher humidity, everything goes to pot without climate control.
Nat
@Nat
11/15/10 11:54:39AM
75 posts

Bringing cacao beans into the U.S.


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Shouldn't be a problem. I brought 4 kg of cacao beans from Mexico into SFO, showed it to the USDA inspectors, told them what it was & where it came from, and they didn't seem to care much about it. Explain that it's been fermented and is no longer viable seed to germinate plants, which is what they're mainly concerned about.
Nat
@Nat
11/15/10 06:34:35AM
75 posts

Bringing cacao beans into the U.S.


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Where are you going to in the states, Deborah? That can make a big difference. Most places in the states are OK, except for Hawaii where they grow cacao so you don't want to introduce fungal spores that may be on the unroasted beans.
Nat
@Nat
11/05/10 06:18:30PM
75 posts

Sahagun Coffee Bar


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Ha! That's hilarious Seneca! Thanks for posting that.I guess you could make most edible liquids solid at room temp by putting them in cocoa butter but it seems like a pain since you have to temper it then too.
Nat
@Nat
11/03/10 02:43:28PM
75 posts

Sahagun Coffee Bar


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I just bought one of these and their Sundrop truffles with sunflower seed honey filling since the recommendations were so high for all their chocolate. I talked to Elizabeth on the phone and she was able to do lower-cost USPS flat rate shipping on request. Looking forward to trying it!
Nat
@Nat
11/02/10 05:47:09AM
75 posts

Sahagun Coffee Bar


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Not achocolate bar, but made in the same vein, has anyone tried Sahagun's coffee bar in Portland? I'd like to try it, or try making my own, but not really willing to pay the $10 shipping for a $5 bar if it's not amazing.

Anyone know what's in it besides coffee? I was talking with a coffee researcher here in Hawaii about making one of these, but he thinks the coffee oils would behave sodifferently from cocoa butter, that it would be hard for it to work.


updated by @Nat: 04/10/15 01:13:12PM
Nat
@Nat
10/30/10 12:17:12AM
75 posts

Uses for cocoa leaves and bloom.


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Hi Ning-Geng,

In our book chapter on cacao chemistry
Bletter, N. and D. Daly. 2006. " Cacao and its relatives in South America: An overview of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, chemistry, and ethnobotany" in Cameron L. McNeil ed. Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao, University Press of Florida.

we found the following compounds in cacao leaves reported in other sources:
caffeine 0.06trace mg/g
theobromine 1.120.02 mg/g
This compares with the seed which contains around 10 mg/g of theobromine and about 0.6 mg/g caffeine, so the seed which you eat as chocolate has much higher levels of both of these.

In some other Theobroma species, like T. grandiflorum (cupuau) there is
tetramethyl urate 0.07trace mg/g
tetramethyluric acid unreported amount

tetramethyl urate is found in the seeds of T. grandiflorum and T. bicolor also at higher quantities of 2.600.52 mg/g, and these seeds are often eaten in Mexico and S. America as cupulate and pataxte, respectively.

We haven't found any other compounds listed in cacao leaves, but that doesn't mean they're not there. Traditionally we've only found reports of cacao leaves being used medicinally for listlessness, snakebites, and as a diuretic in S. America. Generally if there's not a traditional use of a plant as a food in its native area where people have likely been experimenting with it for thousands of years, I wouldn't try it, since people have probably tried it at some point and figured out it's not safe.

I have seen no reports of the toxicity of the flowers, one way or another. Most flowers, especially in the Mallow/Hibiscus family that cacao is in, are safe to eat, but they are so small and each flower you eat could mean one less cacao pod with much more delicious pulp and seeds, so why bother eating them?
Nat
@Nat
10/24/10 06:44:51AM
75 posts

Cacao farms in Vietnam


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I am going to Hanoi, Vietnam in late November and I would love to see some of the cacao farms there I hear so much about while I'm there. I haven't been able to turn up any leads there yet throughpeople I know in Vietnam, orchocolatepeople in the US, but I know thatyouChocolate Lifers will comethrough for me.

If possible, I'd prefer to visit smaller farms that are focused on quality beans, not quantity as Clay has mentioned seems to be their direction. I have seen cacao farms in Mexico, Hawaii (including my front yard!), Bali, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, so it'd be great to compare Vietnam to all these.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

updated by @Nat: 04/17/15 08:37:42PM
Nat
@Nat
10/21/10 09:07:02AM
75 posts

Any bulk organic, fair trade or Rainforest Alliance certified quality couverture chocolate available?


Posted in: Classifieds

Rapunzel has bulk organic couverture, but I don't think much of the taste given the rapadura sugar that's used to make it, giving it a strong molasses taste.
Nat
@Nat
10/18/10 02:33:32PM
75 posts

Interested in a device to make tempering in a Santha or Cocoatown grinder easier?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

At Madre Chocolate , we've been trying to figure out how to easily temper largish (5-10 lbs) batches ofchocolate in an existing appliance that we already have like a KitchenAid mixer, Santha, or Cocoatown grinder/conch so that we don't need to buy another machine and take up valuable counter space for tempering.

We've had pretty good luck with some minor mods to a spare Santha we have to get good tempering results, and an electronics wizard friend of ours has offered to design and build a temperature controller with adjustable tempering curves programmed in that would control a heating element (heat gun or hair dryer) and a cooling element (fan) plugged into it based on a temperature probed affixed to the axle of the grinder. We offered to see how much interest there is here on TLC forums in a kit for $100-200 for just such a device. This would be a just a controller with a temp probe andyou would provide the grinder/mixer and heating and cooling devices. The controller would give alarms at times for adding seed and when thechocolate is tempered.

Ifyou would be interested in something like this to make tempering larger batches ofchocolate with less counter space, please let us know by replying to this post what featuresyou would want in such a device.

updated by @Nat: 04/09/15 08:19:18AM
Nat
@Nat
09/29/10 06:07:22PM
75 posts

Is opening a chocolate business in a hot climate doable?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Melody,We're facing some of the same issues making chocolate here in Hawaii, but we also have the added problem of high humidity (60%+) year round that I'd think you don't have to deal with in Texas.Regardless, you'll have to cool the rooms where you're tempering chocolate to below 80 F. We get by with 76, but that depends if your tempering method uses passive cooling of just a fan bringing the chocolate to room temp, which applies to most of tempering machines I've used or know about. The only active cooling technique would be ice, a compressor, or a thermode that can electrically cool the air, but I know of no commercial temperers that use those.You'll also want to store the chocolate in areas well below 90 F so they don't come out of temper. Bars would probably be OK in the 70's, but truffles with perishable ingredients in the ganache should be lower, perhaps in the 50's, though I don't have much experience with that.If you do have high humidity too, you would need to lower that below 50% for tempering, but a good air conditioner should do that while cooling the air. Get a good hygrometer to measure that.Lastly for shipping, it'll be tough to ship in the summer at all unless you add a ton of ice packs and ship overnight, so you'll have to decide if you can pass that extra cost on to your consumers or just not ship in the summer.It is definitely tough but can be done, and who knows, if you're the only one in your area that tries, people might thank you heartily by buying up all your chocolate!
Nat
@Nat
09/22/10 08:37:08AM
75 posts

Wikipedia needs some help with "couverture"


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Anyone have time to fix some of this?
or at least want to discuss the errors on here?

updated by @Nat: 04/20/15 03:43:04PM
Nat
@Nat
09/13/10 07:07:25PM
75 posts

Luker Chocolate from Colombia


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Has anyone tried Lukerchocolate from Colombia
tauted here:
with a lot of confusion about whether they grow Trinitario, Criollo, or neither.

A friend who lives in Colombia believes the new Trader Joe's 85% dark chocolate bar from Tumaco (pictured below) is actually Lukerchocolate which would make sense. Has anyone tried this bar and noticed a strange spicy taste that is not common with darkchocolate or perhaps the vanilla in this? I can't figure out where this almost anisey flavor comes from as I've never tasted cacao or vanilla that have this flavor naturally.

I'd love to hear peoples comments on this bar and if they've had the straight Luker bars too.


updated by @Nat: 04/20/15 11:41:39AM
Nat
@Nat
09/11/10 06:23:13AM
75 posts

Creating Detailed Moulds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I was just talking to an ag engineer today and he said that it helps to put high pressure on the the non-vacuum side of the mold to get better detail, e.g. with pressurized gas or a liquid. I don't know how this would work practically to keep liquid or high pressure gas on the plastic sheet for vacuum forming, but at least it's a lead.
Nat
@Nat
09/13/10 07:10:51PM
75 posts

Cacao in Colombia


Posted in: Opinion

You might try to contact these people too: http://www.luker.com.co/ and Santander from Colombia as well is one of my favorite daily chocolate bars: http://www.chocolatesantander.com/english/index.html would be worth looking up.
Nat
@Nat
10/10/10 10:08:49PM
75 posts

Unsweetened (or stevia sweetened) milk chocolate?


Posted in: Classifieds

Ah, ok, I understand now. Thanks for clarifying that. I should've warned you that us botanists get feel uneasy when people talk about plant origins, especially since I've spent the last 10 years trying to teach people that chilis are from Central America and not Asia, and that mangos are from Borneo and not Mexico!This may be off topic, but can you tell us how you went from studying the extraction and synthesis of Rebaudiosides to chocolate making? And is it really a simple enough compound to make it cheaper to create from bioreactors (using yeast or E. coli?) rather than extract from plants?
Nat
@Nat
10/09/10 11:04:08AM
75 posts

Unsweetened (or stevia sweetened) milk chocolate?


Posted in: Classifieds

Sebastian, sorry, since I research plant origins and ethnobotany, when you said the "plant is African" I assumed you meant the plant has its natural distribution in Africa, which it is not. It is from Southern South America as this book on Stevia explains: http://books.google.com/books?id=nzRU9byD63MC&lpg=PA178&ots=t6mRxtIo_L&dq=Stevia%20rebaudiana%20distribution&pg=PA31#v=onepage&q=Stevia%20rebaudiana%20distribution&f=false The first Rebaudioside A may have been extracted from a plant growing in Africa, but I can't find any source that verifies that. Again this book implies that happened in Japan: http://books.google.com/books?id=SqxiTbma2JwC&lpg=PA1&dq=rebaudioside%20A%20first%20 (isolated%20OR%20extracted)&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=rebaudioside%20A%20first%20(isolated%20OR%20extracted)&f=falseAre you thinking of thaumatin or Talin, a non-caloric natural sweetener that is 2000x sweeter than sugar that is extracted from the plant Thaumatococcus daniellii that is of African origins? I've played with this chemical and it's very difficult to use due to its super strong and lingering sweetness. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaumatin
Nat
@Nat
10/08/10 06:57:56PM
75 posts

Unsweetened (or stevia sweetened) milk chocolate?


Posted in: Classifieds

Tina,There's already this erythritol-sweetened chocolate on the market: http://www.lowcarbchocolates.com/mbars.html and I think I've seen this or a rebranded version of it at Trader Joes or Whole Paycheck.I've made chocolate from xylitol but it has a strange cooling effect in the mouth that was disconcerting and it left a lingering sweet aftertaste that is not so desirable. It may also have the gas-producing effect that people complain about with malitol, and is an not-discussed side effect of the agave powder (inulin) that some are using in "raw" chocolate. Inulin is not digestible by humans, but your gut bacteria love it, so you can see where the bad side effects come from!BTW, Sebastian, Stevia is a South American plant, not African, as the posted article explains. It is actually used traditionally as a sweetener for mate along with lemon verbena in areas like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and S. Brazil where mate is drunk. But plain stevia has a nasty bitter aftertaste I don't like. Reb A in combo with small amounts of sugar has a much better taste profile, though that nullifies the sugar free benefit of it!
Nat
@Nat
09/13/10 07:28:36PM
75 posts

New test improves control of chocolate origins


Posted in: News & New Product Press

...and to see how much people can modify the flavor or chemical profile of beans from one origin X with fermenting microbes from another region Y to see how close they can get both profiles closer to those of region Y.
Nat
@Nat
06/07/09 03:05:20AM
75 posts

xylitol in chocolate?


Posted in: Recipes

I've made some chocolate with xylitol as the sweetener and found it to be quite strange and no one I gave it to liked it much, though I never gave it to any diabetics or others who can't eat sugar-sweetened chocolate. Normally everyone devours my chocolate, but the xylitol one they were not gonzo over.It has the weird cooling effect others have mentioned, and the supposed sweetness factor (something like 1.5x sweeter than sugar) the manufacturers claimed didn't seem to play out in the over-sweetness of the final bar.
Nat
@Nat
04/21/09 08:01:03PM
75 posts

Chocolate Dude Tabletop Tempering Machine


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I've just talked to both the Chocolate Dude and Bakers C & C about this machineThey're going to send me contacts for people who've bought the machine so I can see what they think. There's a better pic of it here: http://chocolatedude.007sites.com/index_files/image335.jpg though their website http://chocolatedude.net/ displays very strangely on my machine (Mac with Safari or Firefox)Jim who makes the machine explained how it works a little more to me:- bowl holds about 10 lbs, but better to cap it at 9 lbs so it doesn't climb the sides- has a plastic paddle that stirs as the bowl turns a bit like the Chocovision REV1- there's a temp probe that goes through the paddle- 4 60 W incacndescent light bulbs for heating, 1 fan for cooling- takes about 45 minutes to temper 9 lbs of chocolate from pre-melted chocolate to completion, though it could melt as well, just takes longer than a microwave or double boiler- temperature settings are manual- i.e. you set it to 110 first, it brings it up to that temp, then you set it to 80 and it brings it down, then you set it for 89 and it brings it back up. Not automatic like the Chocovision. I'm not familiar with the ACMC machine- no alarms for when it reaches the temp, so you have to watch it- made of wood laminate box, not plasticHope that gives more info for people to evaluate it! Still debating whether to buy one. Does the ACMC have more features like an alarm or automatic temp changes?
Nat
@Nat
04/15/09 08:29:15AM
75 posts

Chocolate Dude Tabletop Tempering Machine


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Has anyone bought one of these Chocolate Dude Tabletop Tempering Machine http://bakerscandc.web-ctr.net/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=14&products_id=676&osCsid=aaeb741eaeef1f59ea63733931a509d9 It seems like a bargain at 12 lb capacity for only $525, equivalent about to the 1.5 lb Chocovision Rev1, so what's the catch?Do they have temp control problems? Do they not stir? Why so cheap? Are they just busting Chocovision and ACMC's small capacity temperer racket?Please help me figure out which of these to buy.
updated by @Nat: 04/11/15 01:56:21AM
Nat
@Nat
09/27/10 04:33:15PM
75 posts

Mast Brothers Chocolate- bean to bar producer out of Brooklyn, NY


Posted in: Tasting Notes

There is now quite a lot of buzz about the Mast brothers, probably due to them being in the middle of the burgeoning craft food movement in Brooklyn, and near all the media makers in NY:The mast brothers chocolate makers from Brooklyn make the medium screen again, now set to sail beans from Dominican Republic to NYC: Interesting video on artisinal Brooklyn chocolate ground the hard way: http://www.coolhunting.com/food-drink/the-mast-brothe.php Craft movement in Brooklyn: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/dining/25brooklyn.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=mast%20brothers&st=cse
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