Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A glimpse at a day in the life of...

Doing a cut test of the beans we brought back from Panama

Robbie building a post-roast cooling screen. 

Screen for cooling beans done and done. And proud of it too.

Anna shuffles the beans around as they cool (they cool quickly when the air temperature is +-50F). Nice Converge hoodie, Anna.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, poppy seed, and cacao nib pancakes. Dreamy.

What's the most important thing in life? Breakfast. Especially gluten-free, dairy-free, poppy seed, and cacao nib pancakes.

Beans, Boulder and the Biz

As of late, we’ve often heard the question, “When will you be selling chocolate?” Big long “sigh.” If starting a business were easy, we’d have bounds of chocolate awaiting your oral pleasure, but of course, that isn’t the case.

Not only are we starting a business, but we are beginning an adventure in chocolate making. Initially it doesn’t sound too difficult, but there are many things that we need to consider before becoming an established chocolate producer. Some of these speed bumps are as follows: sourcing good beans, becoming an importer, becoming certified organic and fair trade if possible, producing a kick ass bar of chocolate, wrapper design, finding a building that is safe for food production, finding and acquiring the right equipment, writing the business plan, etc, etc, etc… Did I mention raising start-up money and coming up with a name that is worthy of who we are and the quality of chocolate that we make?

Despite the many speed bumps, hurdles and steeplechases, we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve found several bean growers that we are very, very, very excited about. We’re becoming more and more confident with our chocolate making skills with every new batch and we’re learning that experience is the best teacher. Finally, we have a great circle of support and we wouldn’t want to start making chocolate in any other city than Boulder.

Everyday is a learning experience and we love every minute of it. Making (good) chocolate is very challenging, which is actually part of the reason we chose to make chocolate. As in most aspects of life, the biggest challenges are the most rewarding, and this is proving to be the most difficult task that we have encountered. On the bright side, if we’re ever in doubt, all we have to do is taste some of our chocolate and we’ll remember why we decided to do this in the first place.

I just wanted to give a quick update about what we are up to and that we still plan to be Boulder’s first bean to bar chocolate company. Today I roasted two test batches of beans from a farm in Costa Rica. They are not as fruity as our last batch but I think they should produce a very good, well-rounded chocolate. But first, we’re going to make a batch of white chocolate tomorrow for Anna’s sister’s birthday (she’s a fan of white chocolate).

We have five single origin bars currently: Panama, Southern Costa Rica, Central Costa Rica, Northern Costa Rica and Sambirano Valley, Madagascar. Let us know if you’d like a taste.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Organic vs. Conventional Bananas... ORGANIC!

While we were down in Costa Rica searching for beans, we learned dozens of lessons, one of them was about conventional banana farming practices. What we learned is that conventional banana farming is a bad thing. Buy organic.

If you'd like to know more about why, check out our article at the Elephant Journal.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Taking a break while hot on the trail of good beans

Prepare to be cheesified...

During our time down in Costa Rica we took a couple days to cool off... or should I say... heat up at the hot springs around the Arenal Volcano. I don't want to ruin the surprise, so check out the ultra-homemade video below: