what use it is given to the shell of the cocoa beans
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'd like to introduce the tangent of alcoholic brewing and distillation, as I've recently had two interactions wherein a craftsman has suggested we use raw cacao to create a beverage.
First, a rum distiller had previously, when working with a whiskey distillery in NY, used raw, whole bean cacao from (brace yourself, Clay) the Brothers of Mast to make a whiskey. They were interested in doing the same now with their rum, and based on what I'd read on this thread and elsewhere, told them it wasn't a good idea to use raw cacao or shell material - and also to forget the name of those other chocolate fakers forever.
Then, a local brewer asked me, "SO, when are we gonna do a wild cacao (meaning, raw) fermentation?" Now, this is why I'm even bothering to ask for your opinion specifically, Sebastian - back in Seattle, he claims to have done such a fermentation not on a whim, but in conjunction with what I'll call "a very large, industrial, yet socially- and environmentally-responsible chocolate manufacturer that conducts and sponsors a lot of scientific research" - as I have no reason to give them a bad name, if this story does that. The conversation was cut short, so I didn't get too much info on the process, as he was kind of recalling multiple instances and methods of brewing experimentation and the laboratory of this chocolate factory (e.g., centrifugally separated cacao juice? really?). However, the main idea he was discussing was to throw the beans in whole and raw, asserting that, "... it's all yeast, right?" To which I shuddered and told him I'd look into it. Anyway, I'd like to know exactly what's what, lest his superior knowledge of brewing negates my sophomoric understanding of the risks.
Now, I'm assuming that alcohol, being a mycotoxin itself, would only amplify the possibilities of toxicity (in a bad way, not a "cool, drunker" way - LOL), no? Or would the mycotoxin battles each other for survival, yielding a comparable intoxication to alcohol alone? I would also assume the possibility of heavy metal contamination would be raised, no? Then there's the miscellaneous junk on the shell - dusts, dirt, etc - though perhaps that could be washed off to some degree (at least to the same degree as hops and malts?) without eliminating the natural yeasts?
Anyway, the big question here: is there any part of the distilling or the brewing process that might negate, if not control, the critical points previously discussed? Again, since I'd like to work with this guy in the future (preferably with roasted nibs or chocolate, though), I don't want to make assumptions or miss something crucial so as to negate the argument against shell/raw cacao use as a whole.
updated by @ChocolatsNobles: 02/05/17 11:57:27AM