Forum Activity for @Thomas Forbes

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
12/08/14 10:53:06PM
102 posts

Mini Rev Opinions


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

I have used a Rev 2 for a while now. It has worked like a champ and haven't table tempered since. What questions do you have.

Would like to know if anyone knows how to use the machine without using seed.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
11/15/14 09:29:44PM
102 posts

Cocoatown ECGC-12SLTA Issues


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

I have the 10-12 lbs. capacity Cocoatown and a Santha and have recently been using two Premier Wonder Grinders that hold up to 6 lbs. each. They were $200 a piece and are doing nicely after almost 10 batches. The temperatures when they run after 4 or 5 hours are about 10 degrees different at about 145 and 155F. I adjust the tension and they stay the same. The two larger machines above tended to run around 135-140F.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
06/23/14 09:02:18PM
102 posts

Arriba Cacao


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

No problem, would love to trade bars.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
05/14/14 11:38:21AM
102 posts

cacao cucina


Posted in: Opinion

It is very expensive for what you can produce.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
04/04/14 07:59:22PM
102 posts

Initial Thoughts: CHOCOA 2014


Posted in: Opinion

Definitely the most interesting of the group on farmers. I am going to have to take some time to really look at this. Thanks.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
04/03/14 06:11:07PM
102 posts

Initial Thoughts: CHOCOA 2014


Posted in: Opinion

You sure give me a lot to think about. I do not think the word, sustainable, was ever really defined at the WCF meeting last Oct. in Santo Domingo. I am trying to get a better handle on what a profitable cacao farm looks like in the DR. Thanks.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/28/14 09:25:38PM
102 posts

Chocolate prices.


Posted in: Opinion

I live in Bergen County, NJ, right over the George Washington Bridge. I find the chocolatiers in the area sell at around $20 a lb. for truffles and barks. It is not very good. The pharmacies sell the $3.50-$4 a bar, but that is hard to enjoy. I can get a few nice bars at the Whole Foods, Valrhona has a $4 bar at Trader Joe's. Caratos's near Paterson has a TCHO bar but that is about all I have found around here. You have to go to Marisela's in Hobeken. There is a new Turkish chocolate shop in Cliffside Park, sells for $30 a lb. but tastes like $20 a lb. chocolate.

I give a lot of my chocolate away and am asking business owners, friends, and others to taste my drinking chocolate, bars and chocolate cookies. Most have not really tasted fine chocolate before and those that have are very pleased with what I have. I think you must price your product for you to make money and stay in business. I just comparison test with what is on the shelves and the chocolate speaks for itself.

I am getting ready to sell a drinking chocolate to Dominican distributors in the NYC area and they are pressuring us to lower the price. Not sure if I will forward price, knowing we can reduce costs as we purchase larger qualities and streamline the production a bit. It is simple so it is more about efficiency. The professional consultant types tell me to price high and offer discounts and the other side is look toward larger volumes as we grow the business.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/23/14 02:02:26PM
102 posts

What's not to be missed in New York?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

After FIKA, you can walk to Kee's and four others in the general vicinity.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/18/14 09:37:05PM
102 posts

What's not to be missed in New York?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

FIKA 450 Washington Street

Roni Sue's on Forsyth new shop

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/18/14 05:54:04PM
102 posts

Question on Weighing Product


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

That makes sense and wondered if that was the case. The sugar has a creamy brown color when I start and is specks of white on the finished chocolate. I guess the heat pulls the molasses out.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/18/14 12:40:37PM
102 posts

Trip to the DR


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I will be available from the 3rd to the 13th of May. Let's talk to make specific arrangements and find out what you want to see. tmforbes@yahoo.com

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/18/14 12:32:48PM
102 posts

Question on Weighing Product


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

I started molding 3.5 oz (100 g) half cacao pods of liquor and after speaking with a distributor wants us to add sugar. I did a test batch with 38% pure cane sugar and 62% liquor. The four pieces I molded all were 4 oz. with the exact same mold. Before I we run another label, is this standard that the same size piece with sugar would weigh .5 oz. more. Thanks


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/16/15 12:34:14AM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/17/14 09:17:39PM
102 posts

Trip to the DR


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I have a few picture on lachorena.com. The website needs some new pictures and I am sure he knows Miguel. He does everything except a stone type melanger. He does a roller refiner and than a separate conch.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/17/14 11:29:55AM
102 posts

Trip to the DR


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Miguel Hernandez from San Francisco de Macoris. Where are you located.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/12/14 11:26:49PM
102 posts

Trip to the DR


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

If anyone is interested in visiting the Dominican Republic between May 2nd and the 12 or so, I would be happy to show you, who and what I know about cacao and chocolate in the country. Every trip I learn more and meet new people. Eventually I would like to organize small groups to take a chocolate trip to the DR and this could be sort of a test run. I would not charge anything except some help with gas in the rent a car.

My main contacts there are centered around CONACADO and some of the bloques. I also have some access to people at Munne, Rizek, Roig and Cortes Hermanos. The Sendero de Cacao run by the Rizek's is a must visit. There are also a number of rural based rural women associations who make drinking chocolate and some are getting financing and machines to to some decent processing and other products. These groups are a lot of fun to visit and always right in the middle of different cacao growing regions. I also work closely with the person who manufactures the machines locally. He has recently installed four new, small processing plants and he can't wait to show me.

I always stop by and visit my friends at the Red de Guaconejo, a small well run farmer cooperative. There are many other farmer type associations and cooperatives I have read about and will eventually make contact. It is always a delight to meet Orlando Rodriquez and tour the Insitutito at Mata Larga. I can not say enough about the respect I have for his contribution to improving cacao production in the DR at the small farm level. I spend as much time as I can there during my visits.

Diana Munne runs the best and only chocolate shop in the Capital. I can only really buy decent eating chocolate from Diana and at the Sendero while I am in the country. I have tasted really good liquor at CONACADO.

These are the things I do when I am in the Dominican Republic and would love to share this with others. I used to get around on a motorcycle but have moved up to renting a car. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the country 27 years ago and am married into a cacao growing family 24 years ago. I speak very good Dominican Spanish and know how to safely move around the country. Let me know.


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/18/15 07:10:39AM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/12/14 08:33:46AM
102 posts

Molding Liquor


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

Brad, thank you so much. You have provided me with more information than Savage has provided me. So far the liquor holds up well for me to fill molds, put in the refrigerator for an hour or so, and do another batch. If I try this the third time, it is thick and a little harder to work. I have read on another post about pouring more melted chocolate in the machine without having to run the tempering cycle again. I am purchasing a 19.7 cu ft. commercial Kelvinator refrigerator with 10 shelves and will be able to hold 40 molds. That will work well and pretty much empty out almost a full tank.

I was wondering if it is necessary to hold at the melting temperature set point for 40 minutes before it starts the cooling cycle.

I started at this point in the learning curve in order to get started and hopefully do some quality work. When I work with 70-80% chocolate and am still using a small chocovision or table tempering as we develop a bar down the road.

Again, your advise and sharing of information is greatly appreciated.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/09/14 09:58:32PM
102 posts

Molding Liquor


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

Thank you Ruth, I have been working with the machine for 2 days now and will continue until I move it to a rented commercial kitchen. I am molding 3.4 oz. half cacao pod to be used for drinking. I first tried a bread proofer then table tempering and just didn't feel comfortable leaving it in the proofer overnight in the rented kitchen. I also thought the molds might set at room temperature but will need the help of a cooling unit for a short time. I am really only looking for a nice shine being you can not break it with your hand, it is too thick, so the snap is irreverent.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/09/14 06:36:24PM
102 posts

Molding Liquor


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

Thanks Clay, with the tank full, it is holding up fine after about 5 hours. I am only able to fit 6 molds at a time in the refrigerator (right now) to cool them down for about an hour. As long as I leave them in until they are completely separated from the molds, they are holding their shine. Doing some reading on the static cooling tunnels you have on the site.

Just filled some more molds and it is started to glob again and I caught it early. 87.5 is the holding temperature and it is still getting thick. Doing another reheat.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/09/14 01:12:04PM
102 posts

Molding Liquor


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

Hello all and looking for a little advice on molding chocolate liquor. I recently purchased a 50 lbs. Savage Brothers melter-tempering machine. After running it, trying to learn how to use it. I was wondering if using 100%, ground (25 micons) liquor would need different temperature settings than I am used to with dark chocolate on the small chocovision tempering machine. The factory settings are melt to 110 F, drop to 82 F and rise to 88 F. I first used 115, 82, 88 and 110, 82, 88 and another at 110, 85.5 to 88.

When it cools down, I use a temperature gun and the top of chocolate is 2 degrees lower than the reading on the panel but evens out as it goes back up with the gun and the reading on the panel. It is thicker than I am used to working with and twice as seized as globs of chocolate built up around the agitators. The first time I thought maybe a little water was hidden after I washed, dried, and heat gun dried it, after it arrived. Cleaned it out again, dried and let sit over night and heat gun dried again. It did the same thing after it was sitting in temper for a couple of hours. The temperature on the panel said 87.8 but there were other globs of chocolate around the agitators. I remelted and seems just fine. When I molded a few test runs, a little thick, some globbing at the outlet. Not easy to work with and need to figure out how to use the machine efficiently. I will call the technicians at Savage Brothers again on Monday but wondered if any of you had any thoughts.

I am now melting a full tank and thank you in advance. I really appreciate it.


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/12/15 12:28:09AM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/06/14 12:34:26PM
102 posts

Adding melted chocolate to tempered chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

This is good information. I recently purchased a 50 lb. Savage Brothers melter with the tempering device and will be delivered today. So if I can melt additional chocolate, lower the temperature, add to the machine and keep it in temper without melting a full tank and doing an additional temper cycle, will be a big help. I hope to be able to mold 100 lbs in maybe 6 hours and will see.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
11/08/13 02:21:26PM
102 posts

Upgrade from Champion Juicer for making cocoa liquor


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

Give me another year using the Spectra before I can comment with any authority. I guess at this point it is flip a coin.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
11/08/13 10:57:41AM
102 posts

Upgrade from Champion Juicer for making cocoa liquor


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

I have used a small Cocoa Town and put nib straight in the melanger. After 30 or so batches, it took longer and longer to get the nibs in the machine without freezing. I recently ordered a new belt and will see if it gets back to old form. I also purchased a new small Sprecta recently and it took the nibs with no problem. Let's see if it still handles it after some use.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
10/12/13 08:04:36PM
102 posts

Cacao Pods


Posted in: Classifieds

I recently returned from the Dominican Republic with 7 or so pods in my check-in luggage. You can bring avocados with no problem. I usually declare chocolate, honey and avocados. I have been told by a friend in the chocolate business that if you clean the part that was connected to the tree, you won't have any problems. I will be going back next week and see if I can get a few in my luggage.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
07/26/13 07:33:10AM
102 posts

Cocoa town and Chocolate 70% and below Question


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

I have been using 5% cacao butter which seems to loosen up the chocolate enough to keep the rollers moving. I find issues around seizing happening when I used milk powder much more than when I make dark chocolate.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
06/29/13 10:58:21PM
102 posts

FCIA Event in NYC


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I had a fantastic time at the FCIA event in NYC today. Of course I got to say hello to Clay and chit chat a little. Gary Guittard's workshop was very good and and an amazing chance to hear from someone who has known chocolate since birth. He had four origin samples which had either none or over fermentation. The no fermentation was Haitian and was interesting to taste being my connections to Dominican cacao both fermented and unfermented. Being around and listening to Maricel Presilla is always fun. Finally met the Raaka, Equal Exchange, and Fruitian chocolate people I have always wanted to contact. Also Alex Whitmore from Taza was a very pleasant person to talk with. My friend Roni Sue with Moho was there. Daniel from Atlantic Cacao was also a pleasant surprise to meet, and to see and taste the different origin beans he had at his table. Pam, Mary Jo, Lisa and Tracy did a nice job once again and hopefully someday I can attend a San Francisco event.


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/30/15 04:40:24AM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
05/26/13 11:06:41AM
102 posts

Cocoatown ECGC 12 melanger roller stones no longer turn


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

Yes I have had similar issues. The first 24 hours of refining the liquor or nibs goes fine. When I add sugar and little butter, one side and a once, both stones stopped turning. I also made a few batches of milk chocolate and the milk powder did the same thing. I found that increasing the amount of butter helped.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/24/13 07:28:03PM
102 posts

New Website


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

It is a basic blog on word press. I did pay the $99 pro bundle and will change the template soon. I will make it user friendly and is currently for informational purposes. I am trying to make everything connectable through both the menu and categories. I do not want the most recent blog to dominate the home page and want to increase the font on the letters in the menu. I am on a quick learning curve right now.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/24/13 06:30:12PM
102 posts

New Website


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

The Chocolate Life friends. I started a new website and wondered if anyone wanted a peek. It is all but a day old so please be gentle.

lachorenachocolate.com


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/10/15 04:55:10PM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/10/13 12:53:34PM
102 posts

Cacao Inter-American Cacao Center July 1953


Posted in: History of Chocolate

The April June 1955, edition has an article about West African cacao before Ivory Coast was a big player. Looks like Ghana was a significant producer before the fall of Brazil in the 80's. "The Quality of Raw Cacao and its Affects on the Manufacturer" in the same issue is another interesting read.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/10/13 12:31:33PM
102 posts

Cacao Inter-American Cacao Center July 1953


Posted in: History of Chocolate

I can't stop going through it.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
03/10/13 11:35:12AM
102 posts

Cacao Inter-American Cacao Center July 1953


Posted in: History of Chocolate

I found this journal or newsletter on Google books and found this section fascinating. I provided the link and than you go down to: July-August 1953, Vol. 2 ns 43-44. There is a section titled, "Restoring Chocolate's Old-Time Flavor". Very similar to what I currently read about the future of fine flavored cacao.


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/09/15 03:06:45PM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
02/25/13 12:21:11PM
102 posts

Making Milk Chocolate


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

When I think about the next batch it is still unclear to me. Assuming all milk chocolate is not as think as the last batch, the only way it would be less viscous, is to increase the percentage of butter. The liquor is around 53% fat and with the added butter being an 20% - 25% butter getting to the 35% + total cocao fats. I used 26% liquor on the last batch and it still is a little dark.

I still have another 55-60% left of sugar and milk powder. I tend to stay above the 35% (total bar) sugar content. That still gets me over 20% and probably closer to 30%. Do I need to add more sugar, keep the milk powder content to 20 and lower the liquor and raise the butter a little to get a good milk bar.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
02/24/13 09:08:53AM
102 posts

Making Milk Chocolate


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

After making dark chocolate for a couple of years, I have ventured off into the world of making milk chocolate. The first batch ended up being a dark milk and came out fairly nice. I used 42% liquor, 7% butter, 27% sugar and 24% milk powder. Using the small CocoaTown Melanger, I let the liquor work by itself for 6-12 hours, then add the sugar and butter so it can grind down, takes 4-6 hours. Then I add the milk powder and was working with a thicker mix than usual. Now I am trying a milk around 40%. I dropped the liquor to 30% and raised the butter to 10%. Did a sweet 33% sugar and 25% milk powder. As I put the milk powder in the machine, it is way to thick and needed to double the butter content and it is still too thick to get all the milk powder in. This is really messing with my percentages. We will see how it turns out.


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/11/15 01:30:21PM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
02/16/13 10:24:55AM
102 posts

The results of my gamble....


Posted in: Self Promotion / Spam

I love your style. This looks fun.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
02/06/13 08:43:52PM
102 posts

Purchasing Direct on Vacation


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I have brought back a couple of kilos of dried beans from the Dominican Republic to the US, but mostly paste which whatever I could fit into the check-on suitcases. The weight limit is what prohibits bringing back any real quantity. Going on vacation and sourcing good beans is an entirely different issue. You could wander out to the areas where cacao is grown, but good luck in finding fermented beans. You may have to go on some kind of tour and maybe you would be able to access something that has been handled properly during and after harvest.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
01/25/13 07:57:21PM
102 posts

What to do with all my chocolate?


Posted in: Opinion

I have been sourcing liquor from a few places and playing around with sugar and butter content, along with time in the melanger. Right now there is probably 40 pounds of barred chocolate, some of it more for drinking being it was made with liquor made in the campo in the Dominican Republic with some rural women groups using Sanchez beans or roasting over wood. I still have more than 20 pounds more liquor to grind/conch.

I have always given my chocolate away and being I make it at home, am unable to sell it to the general public. Everyone has very good things to say about the chocolate but I am not completely happy yet with what I am producing. It would be nice to at least recuperate my costs to I can keep experimenting.

Also, I can roll and dip a pretty good truffle and my chocolate cupcakes are the best.

Any suggestions?


updated by @Thomas Forbes: 04/10/15 11:49:59AM
Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
01/21/13 08:18:57PM
102 posts

I'm Interested In Your Opinion!


Posted in: Opinion

The site looks good, clean and simple. Good luck as you grow and I really appreciate all your comments.

Thomas Forbes
@Thomas Forbes
12/13/12 02:16:32PM
102 posts

Keeping chocolate in temper


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

The machine using a air fan to cool and heat up the chocolate. It holds around 24-25 oz of chocolate and probably takes around 45 minutes to go through the entire process until I am ready to pour into the molds. My instructions were to add the seed when you achive maximum tempurature and there is an indicator which beeps when it reaches 90 degrees so you can remove the seed. I end up using 3 1.2 oz bars for seed to produce 21 bars, meaning I really make 18 1.2 oz bars with a pound and half.

I was trying to table temper without a seed on the countertop for many months with inconsistent results. My problem was when it got down into the 80's, the tempurature would fall too fast and get to the low 80's before I could mush it into the other, warmer chocolate. I also had because after I mushed the cooler and warmer chocolate, the tempurature would still be above 90. I have someone in the industry who wants to teach me how to table temper. I could see doubling or tripling the size of my batches, getting more molds and increasing my capacity. Right now, I can usually temper and mold about 4.5 lbs in a 4-5 hour stretch.

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