Forum Activity for @brian horsley

brian horsley
@brian horsley
06/30/11 06:36:26PM
48 posts

What would an "ideal" ethical certification program look like?


Posted in: Opinion

well i have a kind of extreme micro level view as i live and work with cacao farmers and know their perspective, in this one place, very well. here's what i would consider their primary concerns:

1. higher income

2. price stability

3. technical assistance (crop management, trimming, disease & pest control, irrigation, nursery/grafting/cloning)

4. credit against future harvests

5. no or very low cost to enter system

6. no additional admin / bureaucratic duties

7. no time wasting bs, especially in harvest season

8. SIMPLE AND NOT OVERSOPHISTICATED TO EXPLAIN

this doesn't take into account realities on the buy / admin side, its a farmers wish list basically. i'm sure these points will vary from place to place. you can see that based on these points organic and fair trade as currently set up aren't realistic here.

as a frame of reference, the farmers here are mostly in associations but no larger co-ops, of the type that operate in other areas in northern peru and in some cases already have fair trade / organic / other certs, almost universally financed by ngo's or usaid

brian

brian horsley
@brian horsley
06/24/11 08:07:29AM
48 posts

West Coast of Costa Rica: good for growing Caco Plants ?


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

just a note cheebs - cacao will grow much higher than 2100 feet in the right conditions. I have seen it at 4000 feet before, although it appears that this is not the norm. but where he is it may very well grow up higher than 2100

i totally agree that sales focus should come before even planting to get an idea of what potential buyers would want in terms of variety and post harvest processing. this will inform every decision you would make about what and how to plant Dr. K, and thus the cost structure.

saludos

brian

brian horsley
@brian horsley
06/24/11 07:01:21PM
48 posts

i need to buy frozen pulp of cacao fruit


Posted in: Classifieds

this stuff is the best drink in the world, it tastes like pear nectar but better. juice from pure nacional beans is less sweet and acidic, while ccn-51 and other improved clones are sweeter and more acidic. during harvest it is fantastic, i like to leave it overnight unrefrigerated, it foams up and a lot of the particulate impurities come out in the foam, the next morning its mildly carbonated and great for mixing with fresh orange juice.if you leave it for any length of time it does ferment rapidly. it loses flavor and vitality very rapidly. i don't know if pasteurizing would leave enough flavor to make a marketable drink. but they say that canned coconut water is popular in the US and i only like it fresh out of a coconut so who knows. cacao juice it makes a pretty good sweet fruit wine if fermented properly for 40 days or so.a funny story, when i first started in cacao we captured our first cacao juice and i thought i would try to ferment it. so we filled a few stoppered beer bottles but i didn't know I needed to let gas escape. so we left them sealed in the heat for 6 days. then my friend miguel opened one, all i heard was -- boom!!! I turned around and miguel had cacao juice dripping from his face, the cieling, the walls etc. atttached is a photo of the splatter pattern. always vent your fermenting cacao juice!!
brian horsley
@brian horsley
07/18/11 02:11:10PM
48 posts

Stone Grinder for Raw Chocolate


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

clay you mentioned 47C above as a generally accepted temp for cacao / choc in the raw choc world. is that for chocolate making only or also the post-harvest processing?

If a raw bean buyer want the beans to be fermented at below 47 i could do it i think although my beans typically ferment higher than that for extended periods of time. but what do they do about the drying beds? anyone who's on a concrete bed is up over 50C at the cement level in the tropical sun for sure, probably more like 55-60C on a hot day. i dry off the ground on elevated beds using mesh, which is cooler than on the concrete but still gets over 50C at times, which i should say I want as i am not selling into raw markets.

just curious about the raw stuff. is any of it really great tasting chocolate in your opinion clay? If you recommend any I'll try and find some when i'm in the US in september

brian

brian horsley
@brian horsley
08/17/11 04:06:02PM
48 posts

Looking for Good Sources of Certified Organic Cacao Beans


Posted in: Classifieds

hi from peru steve. i agree with duffy cepicafe has good quality. i'm in tingo maria right now and the naranjillo coop has organic and fair trade cert.to the north in tarapoto acopagro has cert i believe. and there is probably someone with organic cert in the cusco growing area. most of the beans from naranjillo and acopagro are ccn-51 with some other stuff mixed in. piura has better genetics, cusco i'm not sure.

whatvolume are you looking for?

quality specs? (fermentation level, etc), do you care about genetics?

any other specs?

all fermented and sun dried beans in peru will have gone over 50C in post-harvest, if thats a dq then peru will not be for you. many of the large coops buy beans at 9-12% humidity and finsh drying in a gas dryer, which may affect you as a raw producer. i know most of the people in the industry here if you want to talk to any of them let me know i can connect you, directly or through appcacao or the ag ministry.

saludos

brian

brian horsley
@brian horsley
04/13/12 10:59:44AM
48 posts

Fermenting Cacao Seeds: To Drain or Not to Drain?


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

sebastian is right based on my experience (as he should be as he is vastly more knowledgeable than me). I have run 2 trials on fermentation while not allowing as much of the "miel" or sugary liquid in the pulp to run off. you can't keep it all in but we kept more of it than normal. this miel also ferments, almost immediately upon liberation from the cacao pod. our results were a faster, hotter (relative to our standard fermenting profile) ferment. at the first turn, 48 hours in, we noted a stronger than normal alcohol production. at the following 24 hour interval turns we noted higher faster temps than usual (around 48C in much of the box by the 2nd turn, and 52C thereafter) and vinegar fumes that caused us to wear respirators to be able to breathe while working the beans (which sometimes happens anyway). there was visible vapor rising out of the box for a while.

the heat and acetic acid production caused some of the skins of the beans to kind of slough off by the 4th turn and by the end the beans were overfermented and too strongly acidic for our purposes. the over-fermentation can be remedied and probably the other problems too if it were really desirable to do it this way. summary: its totally possible to do and may be advisable for someone who wants that flavor profile.

re: water tub fermenting, that's how coffee is fermented, at least here, in ceramic lined concrete water tubs, for 24 hours, were they adapting a coffee procedure to cacao? how did it work? how long did they leave it in?

brian

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