Tuesday April 27, 2004

Since the fire occurred, it has been a little difficult to get larger batches of beans roasted for chocolate making experiments. For nibbing I can just roast a few in my modified hot air popcorn popper which I use for roasting coffee at home. Since I am still without an oven I have broken out my grill, a small simply made perforated drum and a rotissorie motor. Looks like my rod is about 2" to short to span the grill so before trying my first grill roasted cocoa, I will need to get a new rod and get everything mounted. After that, 2-3 pounds of cocoa should roast up pretty quickly.

As soon as I have a few pounds roasted up, the chocolate making will begin again. I can hardly wait to try the new sugars. And some long awaited cracking and winnowing experiments.

07:00 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Monday April 12, 2004

I had a number of thoughts today about various options in regards to getting the final chocolate smooth enough. The industrial method is to run the chocolate through a refiner that wears down the particle sizes, usually to around 20 microns. So far I have tried refining my own granulated sugar with both the Champion (which did not work appreciably) and a Vita-Mix which gave me a somewhat, but no where near fine enough, sugar and chocolate. Likewise, my test with confection sugar (ultra fine) also resulted in less than a super smooth chocolate (besides, it has cornstarch in it, and I really don?t want that in my chocolate).

An online search about the physical properties of various sugars lead me back to my brewing days. It was a comment that superfine sugar has cornstarch added to keep it from clumping and that my priming corn and cane sugar from homebrewing was notorious for clumping. I wonder if that grade of sugar just might be the ingredient needed for homemade chocolate, when no refiner is readily available.

I will have to try it out on some on my new Criollo and see how it goes. If anyone has some priming sugar on hand, please give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Also, I really have my doubts about it, but I did find out that fructose melts at just over 102 C. I wonder about melting the sugar and adding it to the ground cocoa straight from the Champion. Sucrose melts just too hot to try. I would not want to burn the chocolate but getting the whole mixture too hot, but I have noted that heat from the ?inside? is taken better by the chocolate than external heat. Again, worth trying.

07:40 pm : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Saturday April 10, 2004

I am going to start using this term from this point on. The nib of a cocoa bean is the interior of the bean, usually after it has been roasted, cracked, winnowed. It seems an appropriate term of evaluation, turning the noun into a verb. Henceforth, I will be nibbing cocoa samples and hopefully saying they nibbed well.

On that note, I received another bean in yesterday. A Venezuelan Ocumare Criollo. From a quick nibbing, it has a significantly different flavor profile as compared to the Carenero. Many more high notes. Lots of fruit. More subtle cocoa flavor. In essence, typical high grade Criollo.

I don't have it listed on the Cocoa Page yet, but will happily quote a price if you ask. I am thinking it will be the same as the Carenero.

Photos, more nibbing notes and Ocumare links to follow.

Happy Nibbing

08:02 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Tuesday April 6, 2004

In the coffee industry, there is a term known as cupping. This amounts to taking your green unroasted coffee bean, roasting it, grinding it and mixing it with a measured amount of hot water in a evaluation, or tasting "cup", hence the name. The "coffee" is then sipped and slurped to evaluate it. They often talk of a bean "cupping" well or not. Now this doesn't necessary taste like the coffee you and I might have when you brew the coffee because ours have been rested and there are not ground in the cup.

Where am I going with this? Well, there is no comparable term with cocoa beans. So far I have been evaluating beans by roasting them up, peeling them and just eating them whole. It doesn't tell me what the chocolate will taste like, but whether, what are some of the complexities of the bean and its general taste profile. In the chocolate industry they take it a step further and grind it and make a liqueur out of it.

This is where I need your help. I keep wanting to say this bean cupped well, but it is the wrong term. It "liquered" well, the "liquering" was interesting? Just doesn't feel right and doesn't flow.

What new term do I/we invent for this evaluation process of cocoa beans? If you would, leave a note here with your suggestions and rational if you want. It is your chance to help invent a needed word.

02:26 pm : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (5)

Posted Comments for this update:

[Thu 15:05] Cats ~
Chocolate is my most favourite thing on earth as far as flavours.

How about "yum"? It yummed well, the "yumming" was interesting...would you like to come over for a "yumming" of some new beans I just bought?

Savour would also work well I think...maybe render? but that sounds to cold...

There are a few more words I might suggest that would be appropriate in my mind to tasting chocolate, but just in case this is a PG site... ;)

Cats...my two cents worth ;)

[Fri 18:04] Zachary Mazur email ~
Anyone know of any good books on the subject of making chocolate? I found this one on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0632054336/qid=1081554662/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-0496828-1060121?v=glance&s=books), but it is rather expensive and, worse, out of stock.
[Mon 16:46] Alchemist John ~ site
Zachery, Try "The Science of Chocolate". You can get a copy at Chocophile (http://www.chocophile.com/stories/StoryReader$25). I don't yet have a copy due to my fire but Clay and a few others have highly recommneded it. Aside from that, maybe we can write our own in a few years :-)
[Tue 13:46] Zachary Mazur email ~
Thanks. That book is by the same author - and it is also out of stock on Amazon and Alibris. I will be hunting it down.
[Tue 14:00] Zachary Mazur email ~
Just kidding - "The Science of Chocolate" seems to be available as a paperback at www.rsc.org.

Thursday April 1, 2004

The new stock arrived safe and sound today and wow, what a bean. And I mean that on a number of fronts. First off, this is an ugly duckling bean. From the particular fermentation process that occured in this batch, it has quite a bit of white residue on it. My supplier assured me it would not negatively impact the flavor and indeed, he is right. This is an amazingly flavored bean.

Unroasted, and peel, it has a rich liquer and wine like flavor to it and absolutley nothing in the bitterness area. This is going to make some amazing chocolate but like I said, it will not win any beauty contests. But hey, this is about making chocolate, not looking pretty on a shelf or in a picture. In a way it reminds me of a good mohka coffee bean. Get past the appearance and you are in for a major flavor experience.

As it has just arrived, I have not had a chance to roast it, but I would suspect it will not take a very long or hot roast. Maybe 250 F final temperture in 10-15 minutes. That is just a guess though. I will experiment a bet this weekend and let you know where I think it's sweet spot is going to be.

That is all for now. I want to get the cocoa bean page updated. Sorry, no pictures yet as I have not replaced the digital photo card reader yet from the fire. But you will note, I am back on line on the proper e-mail address and orders are shipping out tomorrow.

Happy chocolate making and thanks for the support everybody!

Alchemist John

08:38 pm : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Cocoa Beans
Cracking & Winnowing
Conching & Refining
Tempering & Molding

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