Forum Activity for @Felipe Jaramillo F.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/09/13 10:50:29PM
55 posts

Who's Interested In A New Tempering Machine?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Sounds interesting Brad.

If you need upfront funding you may want to use Kickstarter (kickstarter.com) to get people to signup for the machine up-front.

Now, I can't help but wonder if v.1 of your temperer can beat the more established/mature machines on something as tricky as tempering.

I'd definitely love to see that.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/09/13 10:16:04PM
55 posts

How I pan hazelnuts


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Edward, can you elaborate on how this works? Looks cool though.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
01/27/13 07:51:26PM
55 posts

I'm Interested In Your Opinion!


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Brad,

Your contributions have helped me a lot in the past and I thought it may be good to share my thoughts. I've worked on the web for over 15 years and I think some of these points can benefit others. I won't discuss messaging or content as I agree with others to frame the whole site and the story in a morepositiveway first.

Pink on white navigation (left hand) has very limited contrast. It is hard to read in general and should prove very hard for people with limited visibility, glare, bad monitors, etc. According to the W3C, the contrast ratio should be a minimum of 4.5:1. Your pink on white is 1.36:1. Play with the Colour Contrast Checkersonline. Also, there is no way to go back to the home page from the internal pages. It's nice to make the logo have a hyperlink.

Overall the site's design looks a bit outdated and could surely benefit with some new techniques or design practices. There has been a true revolution in the last 10 years regarding front-end frameworks as well as the theme marketplace for design materials. There is no need to code sites completely unless your needs or content is specially complex and you have top notch designers/coders (and budget to match).

If you are doing the design in-house look at front-end frameworks. You can code a high quality, responsive site that looks great on smartphones, tablets, desktops and future devices:

Bootstrap(by Twitter). Provides most of what you need in a web site in a responsive, mobile friendly manner. Includes grids, forms, buttons, slide showcarrousels modal windows and beautiful type usage.

Foundation(by Zurb). Similar to Bootstrap. Beautiful, simple and a great start for powering many sites.

Either of the two frameworks are a great basis for any kind of site. Working with only stylesheets (CSS) and simple HTML you can really make the site unique and save a lot of work.

For ready made designs which require little to no customization, my favorite is ThemeForest. They generally have high quality themes for plain html/css, wordpress and different e-commerce systems.

ThemeForest- Website Theme marketplace. Browse around or search for 'Responsive'.
GraphicRiver- Marketplace for images, diagrams, vector arts. It's good to avoid clip-art or overused stock images.

I had visited your site before and was sorry to hear you didn't ship out of Calgary. Maybe you can take advantage of the winter months to make chocolate more accessible.

Best,

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/15/13 09:08:43AM
55 posts

White Chocolate WITHOUT vanilla


Posted in: Classifieds

Brad,

Quick question: Any special reason you needed a separate refiner for white chocolate?

Do you find that once you use a refiner for white/milk chocolate it leaves notable traces when doing dark batches?

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
10/22/12 04:06:28PM
55 posts

Gianduja at home


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

Gianduja is one of my favorite topics :) It comes out great from the grinder after a few hours. We did pre-grind in the food processor to make it easier.

The real pain is to quickly de-hull the hazelnuts. The rubbing on a wet cloth method works fine, but there are a few nuts which don't release their hull, it gets really hot and is time consuming.

Any alternatives for a better process? Any equivalent to the small scale winnowers we use for cacao?

The second major issue is sourcing quality hazelnuts consistently and making sure they are not rancid when you buy them. Treat yourself to the 35 part Giandujaseries from Dallas Food Org.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
09/21/12 11:24:48PM
55 posts

Foodsafe epoxy glue for Ultra/Santha machines


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Dylan, thank you very much, this is great news!

By the way, are the holes drilled in the plastic only or also in the stone?

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
09/21/12 10:42:44PM
55 posts

Foodsafe epoxy glue for Ultra/Santha machines


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Dylan,

Thank you for the kind reply.I'm glad to hear you managed to repair the machines!

As far as I read there are different ratings for glues, and some are approved to be in a food processing area, while others are allowed to be in direct contact with the food.

Did you check the toxicity of 'household' epoxy? Or did you glue it so that there is no chocolate in contact with the glue?

Regards,

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
09/19/12 12:05:47AM
55 posts

Foodsafe epoxy glue for Ultra/Santha machines


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Does anyone know of a foodsafe epoxy glue suitable for replacing the Ultra/Santha machines?

One of our machines recently had the plastic gear separate from the bowl's bottom due to stones clogging. I can't wait until I get a new bowl imported, and the seller's have been unable to provide a glue reference.

I have found different glues locally including Loctite 330, Loctite Hysol E00-CLor E40 CLbut from their datasheets I am unsure of their food safety specs.

Any input is highly appreciated.

Thanks,

Felipe


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 04/12/15 05:57:56PM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
09/21/12 11:27:58PM
55 posts

pregrinders


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

I am now in favor of pregrinding the nibs. Even with melted cocoa butter to start, the cold nibs put too much stress on the machine and can easily separate the plastic center piece from the stone. I tried warming the nibs in the microwave, together with cacao butter and it was as slow as doing it separately.

We deal with three machines at a time and without proper pre-grinding or pre-warming the nibs take a long time to pour in, and can damage the machine leaving it out of service.

I see a lot of used meat and grain grinders around, like this one, but I'm not sure if they can be sanitized well enough to deal with cacao.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/14/12 10:15:40PM
55 posts

I NEED HELP!


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Christine,

I'm not an expert on molded chocolates but I hope I can be of assistance:

1. I believe that Godiva doesn't manufacture its own chocolate, they probably buy it from Callebaut, but others can confirm. Finding a similar or better brand of chocolate shouldn't be hard at all. Try getting several brands from a specialized online store likeChocosphere.comand see what works best.

2. The ganache shelf life depends on the amount of cream and the storage conditions. I would strongly suggest getting yourself a copy, or finding in a library the books by Jean Pierre Wybauw(v1) (v2- ganache) (v3- extending shelf life) as well as Chocolates and Confectionsby Peter Grewling. All are very good books, well worth the money. They explain the concepts of water activity (Aw) in confections and how to increase shelf life by the addition of glucose, butter. They have great recipes but different styles. In my opinion the Peter Grewling book is easier to understand, better organized and better value for the money.

Good luck!

Felipe

[Editor notes: added links to books]

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/13/12 12:40:07AM
55 posts

Lindt Opens New Flagship Store in Manhattan


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Brad,

I'm surprised the FDA doesn't control the chocolate licquor labels more closely.

Anyway, I did the test today. Took a Lindt Excellence 70% and compared it with two of our own chocolate bars: an Esmeraldas and Piura blend as well as a peruvian Tumbes 65%). We used a Nacional de Chocolates - Santander 70% as a 'control' bar.

You are completely right, the Lindt bar is a complete disaster. It was shocking. Ranked the lowest among the tasting group.

It is clearly sandy/dirt tasting, with astringency being very present. I can't believe a brand name can deceive our memories. I hadn't tasted the bar in a year. The Nacional de Chocolates - Santander bar didn't do much better, with a chocolatey flavor but too bitter, edgy and with a slight artificial flavor, probably from poor cacao butter or artificial vanilla.

Our own bars did better. The slightly overroasted blend of Piura and Esmeraldas ranked below my very own favorite Tumbes, Peru bar, whose citric notes are on the top of my list.

With the Lindt example, I wouldn't feel bad giving away a few sub-par bars I have lying around; if only we could can get a Fifth Avenue location, it would be perfect.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/10/12 10:24:13PM
55 posts

Lindt Opens New Flagship Store in Manhattan


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Brad, when you say 'The cocoa powder they include adds astringency and grittiness', does that mean additional cocoa powder is added to the Lindt 70% excellence bars? The ingredient lists claims only chocolate and another bar I've seen mentions cocoa mass only.

http://www.lindtusa.com/common/images/products/nutritional/392825new_nutr.pdf

I can't say that I'd throw the bar away or even refuse it if it was free. What I like best of the Lindt bars is that they are slim, like Valrhona's. I've struggled trying to fing slim molds (about 5mm thick) in several of the mold manufacturers. I heard it was because of bars easily breaking with slimmer molds being hand-moulded.

Regards,

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/07/12 11:52:13PM
55 posts

Legally protecting your chocolate brand?


Posted in: Opinion

Clay, thanks for the insight on the difference between TM and (R) as well as the requirement for interstate commerce or being about to go into distribution.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/06/12 08:24:02PM
55 posts

Legally protecting your chocolate brand?


Posted in: Opinion

Thank you for the reply Rene. Not sure if it is common practice, though.

How many are actually protecting their brands?In which countries aside from their current operation?

And even then, how feasible is it for a small chocolatier to prosecute offenders?

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/04/12 07:00:56PM
55 posts

Legally protecting your chocolate brand?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi all,

Could anyone share the steps they had to take to legally protect their chocolate brand? I understand each country has different laws and getting worldwide protection may be a costly proposition for an artisan chocolate maker.

Thanks!

Felipe


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 04/21/15 04:26:15AM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/04/12 07:27:48PM
55 posts

Cooking milk powder


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

Chirag, nice to hear from milk chocolate makers worldwide.

You can try to get some caramelized flavor by substituting the milk fat in whole milk powder with Ghee. Take whole milk powder by weight (100%) and substitute with 72% skim milk powder and 28% ghee. Make sure that it has no traces of moisture by heating it above the water's boiling point.

I am one of those who believe smaller bean-to-bar chocolate makers are in debt to Indian cousine forever based on the quality of wet grinder engineering.

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
04/30/12 11:44:30PM
55 posts

Examining a Mast Brothers Assertion


Posted in: Opinion

After watching the video I don't get the impression that he implies the 10x price common or even paid to the farmer itself.

He seems to mention they have paid up to 10 times the regular price, but not necessarily that it is the regular practice. Iguess finding a unique origin or testing new ones can justify paying a 10x higher price for beans. If you look at online sources for fine beans, prices are way over the regular market price. This is a good way to familiarize oneself with new beans.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
04/20/12 10:23:06PM
55 posts

looking for foil supplier


Posted in: Classifieds

I have seen recommendations for Alufoil.com or Glerup.com. If buying smaller quantities pre-cut Sugarcraft.com may be a good fit.

Hope it helps.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
05/04/12 07:29:58PM
55 posts

'Artisan' Over used?


Posted in: Opinion

Great contribution. Very funny, thanks for sharing!

On a more serious note, what makes us artisan or not? We are surely not making chocolate like the old mayans did but most of us are far away from being industrial in the sense many people think about.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
04/13/12 02:01:32PM
55 posts

Photography


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

This photoset in flickr shows the lighting setup and some examples which look quite good.http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiredfool/1466011683/in/photostream/It uses a few flashes (strobes) and an umbrella.
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/26/12 11:47:41PM
55 posts

Stuffed nose when Cracking and Winnowing


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

Brian,

Thank you so much for your kind and informative reply.It seems the best job in the world does have its hazards.The mask types are a great reference!

On second thought, I might as welllook for a Darth Vader mask and outfit.

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/24/12 07:05:44AM
55 posts

Stuffed nose when Cracking and Winnowing


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

I have noticed that in days of intense indoor chocolate making work I end up with some discomfort. Commonly a stuffed or a runny nose, similar to having a cold.

My first guess is the smaller particles that are liberated when grinding the beans and winnowing may get into one's respiratory system and produce this symptoms. I tried wearing a mask while grinding and winnowing (both indoors) and it seems to help, but not completely.

How about vapors while roasting? Is the acid from the strong whiffing to tell if beans are done doing something nasty to my nostrils?

Does anyone care to share what kind of measures are being used by them or their teams?


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 04/09/15 07:40:12PM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/27/12 12:04:29AM
55 posts

How Chocolate Gets Its Taste - A Presentation and a Request


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Dear Sebastian,

I appreciate how you always come through with a healthy dose of reality.It should've been obvious that if the components had some sort of chocolate taste, it would be possible to have decent artificial flavors.

Either way I am looking to training taste buds through familiarity. Just like a musician learns to recognize the characteristics and sounds of his favorite musicians or tunes. I can't help it but recognize most of the major sax players I've heard in the last 10 years just by listening to a few seconds of a solo. They all have characteristic traits that I've learned to pick.

Familiarity breeds confidence but I understand curiosity gets one into vast territories that will take a lifetime to master.

All the best,

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/24/12 07:11:19AM
55 posts

How Chocolate Gets Its Taste - A Presentation and a Request


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Clay,

I enjoyed the presentation. Great points, images and solid type work.

One of the points that caught my attention was the breakdown of some aroma/flavor chemicals. I'm dying of curiosity to smell/taste these pure chemicals and train myself to recognize them better.

Have you ever tried the alpha-amyl cinnamyl acetate, some 2,3,5,6-tetramethyl pyrazine or cocoa hexenal directly?Do you know if there's a way of getting a hold of an aroma/flavor kit?

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/03/12 07:33:21PM
55 posts

Milk chocolate from the beans


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Mara,

Others should be able to correct me but the issue with the fat in supermarket dried milk is more of a 'stale' flavor than shorter shelf life.

It seems that commercial manufacturers have access to better dried milk than what we do in the regular food stores.Roller dried milk is hard to come by and spray dried milk is what most people use. Some sources like Beckett mention the benefits of using milk crumb, but that is also a sophisticated and complex process because it starts with wet milk.

If you look at commercial chocolate ingredients you will see that they sometimes mix the nonfat milk with whole milk. I guess an added advantage of using the ghee is that you can control the amount of fat very precisely.

I didn't get back to testing other formulations with the regular whole milk but if you have more than one machine you could try it and taste them side by side.

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
03/01/12 10:15:14PM
55 posts

Milk chocolate from the beans


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I have had good success with formulations shared by others, includingChocolate Alchemyand some notes by Brad Churchill.

From my notes Cocoa Butter is generally 25% with the Cocoa Liquor ranging from 18% to 20% although taste is an important factor.

Here is the table with reference percentages adding to just above 100% but you get the idea:

Cocoa Liqueur Sugar Cocoa butter Lecithin Milk Powder Vanilla
20.0 35.0 25.0 0.20 20.00 0.20

For the Milk Powder, I've used 72% of non-fat-milk and 28% of ghee as it seems that the fat content in the full milk powder goes stale quickly.

Some threads which discuss the topic:

On powdered milk:

http://chocolatetalk.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=formulations&action=display&thread=410

On swiss milk chocolate:

http://chocolatetalk.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=formulations&action=display&thread=311

Hope it helps!

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/28/12 05:56:16PM
55 posts

Cocoatown Melanger Belt Change


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

It shouldn't be too hard to do it yourself. When I was starting out I went to a hardware shop that also repaired appliances like blenders to help me put it together.

I didn't see why the motor would need to be removed to remove the belt.

What you need to know if that the black plastic ring which holds the metal coupling to the bowl is removable. This allows you to separate the top of the machine from the bottom, with the large wheel and makes running the new belt from the motor to the wheel easier. It needs a bit of stretching to fit tight.

As for replacements I read good comments about using Powertwist beltswhich may last longer.

Hope this helps. How long did the original belt last?

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
11/09/12 10:28:25AM
55 posts

Lactose added separately to Milk Chocolate?


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

Gap,

Thanks for the update!

Did you find the texture or mouthfeel different? Considering the hardness of lactose I'd be concerned of a 'grainy' texture.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
11/01/12 11:25:44AM
55 posts

Lactose added separately to Milk Chocolate?


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

Omar,My first impression is that Malt made the chocolate bring back memories of milk chocolate I loved as a kid. You quickly become familiar with the taste and it is an ingredient in a lot of chocolate you see on the shelves.Try with 2% dried malt powder to start.I do wonder if the different Malt extracts (dark, light) may be worthwhile in exploring.Felipe
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
11/01/12 11:17:00AM
55 posts

Lactose added separately to Milk Chocolate?


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

Gap,I haven't tried adding lactose yet but did try varying the percentage of nonfat milk, cacao nibs and cacao butter to change the perceived sweetness in the milk chocolate.It is in my list of reasearch, though ;)Felipe
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/27/12 12:33:27PM
55 posts

Lactose added separately to Milk Chocolate?


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

Sebastian, thanks for the response!

It was surprising to hear its use is driven by cost-saving purposes and that it is hard to grind. Either way I got some lactose (not sure if anhydrous or alpha monohydrate) and may get to do some tests on a home grinder. I would be more inclined to reduce sweetness than save costs.

Either way it is useful that it is not a key ingredient for 'better' chocolate in your own scale.

My next steps are:

Malt Extract -The latest test, which is in progress: to add dried malt extract at 2% of total weight. The extract itself is not especially tasty, but I guess it balances ok with vanilla.

Vanillin / Ethylvanillin - I read that a significative amount of vanillin is desirable for a swiss milk taste and it is not present on the beans themselves. I sourced vanillin and ethylvanillin - do you know which one is better for our purpose? I plan to mix vanillin (0.2 - 0.3% of total chocolate) with about (0.1% of the weight in real bean) - considering it is pure, is it too overpowering?

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/24/12 12:40:31PM
55 posts

Lactose added separately to Milk Chocolate?


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

I have been getting encouraging results making milk chocolate and I'm looking to experiment with malt extract and possibly lactose.

Studying the ingredient list in several milk chocolates one can see lactose is sometimes included as in individual ingredient.Eg. see Lindt's Swiss Classic Milk Chocolatewhich lists sugar, cocoa butter, milk ingredients (?), cocoa mass, lactose, soya lecithin, barley malt extract, artifical flavor (?).

Does anyone know if milk chocolate has lactose added separately, in addition to that present in podered milk? If so, how much?

I am thinking it will contribute to less sweetness and added 'milky' flavor.


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 04/10/15 11:49:57AM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/22/12 08:56:29PM
55 posts

Jute bags


Posted in: Uncategorized

Hi Jeffray,

A storerecommended by Adam G on a similar thread seems to carry what they call 'authentic' jute bags:

http://www.cocoapodshop.com/products/Authentic-Jute-Sack.html

Hope it helps.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
01/29/13 03:33:52PM
55 posts

Chocovision X3210 or Delta good for Bean to Bar?


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

Clay,

Thanks for sharing. Is the Savage Brothers 20 kg table top tempering machine considered continuous tempering? It does require running water input to speed up cooling.

See: http://www.savagebros.com/p.26/50-lb-20-kg-table-top-chocolate-melter-conditioner.aspx

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
01/27/13 06:41:11PM
55 posts

Chocovision X3210 or Delta good for Bean to Bar?


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

Hi Robert,

I ended up buying a 6kg Mol d'Art chocolate melter with a spare bowl. I've been happy with the machine but sometimes wish I'd bought the larger 12kg one.

The Mol d'Art's are good for bean to bar because they are very affordable, easy to operate and allow you to learn different tempering techniques. The down side is they are slow to melt so I normally leave them with a block overnight or go straight from the bowl. A large microwave will be a good companion if you go this route. Just make sure not to burn the chocolate on the microwave as it does tend to happen ;)

For bean to bar you have to face two scenarios: flexibility when tempering new origins/formulations without seed, but also speed to temper your regular batches. If you run 2 or 3 4kg Ultra/Santha machines, you'll soon see tempering as a bottleneck in production. The absence of seed is only a problem on your first batch for a particular formulation.

If you are making bars as opposed to dipping, my guess is to go with the larger Mold D'art first and, if production increases go for a small melter from Savage Bros which have consistently good reviews.

Hope it helps.

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/15/12 07:59:03PM
55 posts

Chocovision X3210 or Delta good for Bean to Bar?


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

I am evaluating the Chocovision X3210 and Delta. It is attractive that the addition of the holey baffle can temper 6-8kg of chocolate made from the bean. Yet, from what I read it seems that the Chocovision X3210 andDelta are primarily designed for tempering using the seed method using blocks of chocolate which are later taken out.

Can the Chocovision machines temper without seed chocolate? Does it add significant time in waiting for the chocolate to cool down? I know I could extract some chocolate and cool it in the countertop while stirring to seed but this means it wouldn't be possible to extract it at the right time.

I've read glowing reviews of the Savage Bros 50lb countertop temperers as well as good comments on the smaller Pavoni Mini-Temper which holds only 3kg. Any other options I should consider for primarily bar moulding applications on a small scale?

Felipe


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 04/10/15 01:33:19PM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/21/12 12:04:37PM
55 posts

Working with Cacao Growers - What does it involve?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Sebastian,

Thank you for your input, it is full of insights as always. It is interesting to hear of the DR's move to a wet bean buying model. I heard something similar from the Cacao Federation in Colombia looking to get more control over the post-crop practices.

I have found the Minifie book has some more in-depth information on post-crop and harvesting. I also found this presentationcovering some GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) in Cacao.

Let me give you some background info: I am looking to make the best chocolate in Colombia. I have been working with Esmeralda, Atacames beans and some Santander ones as a source but I am getting closer to farmers by meeting relatives of them in Bogot. It is incredibly exciting when I visit a caprentry shop and the guy helping me says: My family has been planting cacao in the Meta regions for generations!

As I move forward I want to be better prepared to make an educated assesment as to the bean and post crop practices.

I am lucky to have an established company in the software business which lets me pursue chocolate without a strong commercial focus but most of my attention is centered on learning and moving forward with better chocolate production. A quest for great taste is a good guide.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/17/12 11:46:33AM
55 posts

Working with Cacao Growers - What does it involve?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Thomas, thank you for sharing you experience.

It seems like the cooperatives have a lot of control over the bean choices as well as fermenting and drying. With clear guidelines and a monetary incentive for better practices there may be enough motivation to provide fine beans at a farm or cooperative level.

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/17/12 11:46:16AM
55 posts

Working with Cacao Growers - What does it involve?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Thank you Sebastian.

I guess a critical step in improving quality would be to get growers to actually taste chocolate made from different quality beans. I guess cooperatives would be able to learn small batch chocolate making to not only learn the differences themselves but also to educate growers and buyers into what fine cacao tastes like in a finished product.

Are there any resources you would recommend to be better prepared technically when meeting growers/cooperatives? The Beckett book has limited information on fermenting and Genetic Diversity of Cacao by Bartley seems to focus on the plants and not post-crop activities.

Also, have been to Colombia? What was your impression of the practices in the farms or cooperatives you visited? I am yet to get a clear picture of the state of the cacao industry in the different regions and specially how suitable it is for producing fine flavor beans.

Regards,

Felipe

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/15/12 07:48:47PM
55 posts

Working with Cacao Growers - What does it involve?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Dear Chocolate Lifers,

I have been wondering what kind of activities are supposed to take place when chocolate makers visit farmers. I know of tours that visit plantations and seems like almost all bean to bar chocolatiers 'work with growers' and come back with smiling pictures.

While it is clear that meeting the growers, learning about their environment and practices and hopefully take actions to improve their standard of living are important, I am curious of the specific cacao processing input that they could recieve from a buyer.

I have recently been surprised to learn about the widespread existence of cacao plantations in my local Colombia, covering about 80% of the countries departments. In some cases there have been newer plantations where illegal crops are replaced with cacao. I visited some members of the Colombian Cacao Federation and they mentioned how tricky it was to change their practices when bulk buyers would purchase anything, at any state for the same price.

I wondered if some of the more experienced members could pitch in:

What has been your experience when visiting plantations for the first time?

How open were the growers to receive input from you? How easy is it to identify the varieties and the quality of their cacao production while in the visit?

How do chocolate makers learn the best practices for post-crop treatment of the beans? In the case of fermentation, is it possible to transmit a proper way of doing it as it relates to their local conditions?

Any input is appreciated, as always.

All the best,
Felipe


updated by @Felipe Jaramillo F.: 05/14/15 04:10:48AM
Felipe Jaramillo F.
@Felipe Jaramillo F.
02/02/12 08:17:03AM
55 posts

Types of Sweetening and Conching Time


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

Hi Panod,

You want to avoid water content as it is chocolate's worst enemy. The beans and sugar do have a very slight amount of water which is what you want goes off during conching and is also bound to lecithin. Do not use honey, it has a MUCH higher water content or even think of adding fresh fruit and the like.

My first batch was about 200g of nibs; I thought I'd start small but learnt it was good to do bigger batches (1kg+) considering the time spent to refine and conch. I can't really answer your fridge question for storing finished chocolate as I live in a cool and dry place, but do warm those nibs and everything else you use to 120-160f as it will make it easier on the machine to release the fat butter.

Regards,

Felipe

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