Our chocolate is handcrafted in small batches. We have a small factory and retail shop located in the historic Findlay Market, Cincinnati, Ohio. Chocolate making is a complicated process with many steps. Below is a brief description of the steps we take to turn raw cacao beans into our finished chocolate bars.
We operate on a Direct Trade model, purchasing our cacao beans so farmers and co-ops receive over $500 per metric ton over the market price. Skype and LinkenIn have opened up the communication channel for chocolate makers to meet cacao farmers. We also work in co-operation with other craft chocolate makers to import cacao from the farms into the US.
We have beans from Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. We are constantly searching for new sources of beans to add to our portfolio.
SORTING & ROASTING
Chocolate production starts with hand sorting the raw beans. We remove beans with imperfections as well as any foreign objects like rocks, sticks, and string.
The second step is roasting. Our roaster is a chicken rotisserie with a custom made drum for gently tumbling the beans to obtain an even roast.
Different beans have different roast profiles in order to bring out their unique flavors. After roasting, the beans are quickly cooled to halt the roast.
CRACKING & WINNOWING
Once the beans are cool, they are cracked and winnowed to separate the cocoa nibs from the husks.
The beans are cracked by the juicer and fall into the winnower. The usable cocoa nibs are collected below and the husk is vacuumed away. The cocoa nibs are ready to be ground into chocolate.
We have two cocoa grinders, or melangers, in our shop. Each grinder has a 3″ granite base and two 50 lb. granite wheels. After a few hours in the grinder, the cocoa nibs have liquefied. We then add the sugar and any other ingredients into the chocolate. To obtain a smooth texture, we grind the chocolate for four days. After grinding, the chocolate is poured into pans and allowed to age. Aging allows the flavors within the chocolate to fully develop.
TEMPERING & MOLDING
In order for chocolate to be hard at room temperature, it needs to be tempered. Tempering is the process of heating and cooling to obtain the desired properties.
We use a Selmi Continuous Tempering Machine. The Selmi tempers the chocolate and deposits the desired amount of chocolate into each mold. The chocolate bars are allowed to cool and harden.
After cooling, the bars are removed from the molds. The bars are inserted into a re-sealable bag then placed into the outer protective package.
The finished bars are ready to be enjoyed!
Visit our shop to watch the chocolate making live and meet our chocolate makers!