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we operate a medium sized chocolate business in a small tourist town on the south coast of WA.

We have been trading fo nearly two years and have enjoyed the challenge. However it's hard work and we struggle to get a fair return on our investment.

The cost of couverture is a major problem for us. A 10kg bag of Callebaut will cost around $180 in Oz whereas we understand in the UK it would cost fifty five pounds and in the US eighty dollars(US)

Are we paying more than twice the price for our couverture in Oz?  If so why?

Has anyone sourced more competitive arrangements to aquire couverture? 


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Iagree! Its so frustrating. Im only a small business from home and at the moment I am paying $48 for a 2.5kg bag. I almost making nothing when you factor in time and electricity etc. I guess they can charge that because there is really limited competition here. Maybe when Daintree Estates starts selling in wholesale it might challenge the competition.

I live in Melbourne and can buy Callebaut at a retail level for $46/2.5kg bag. That's $184 for 10kg at a retail price in small lots. I honestly have no idea what wholesale for 10kg should be, but $180 seems expensive. Maybe your location is adding to transport costs?

Hi, you'd better switch to Belcolade. The price is much better and the chocolate as good.

Get in contact with Apromo in Artarmon (02 9906 1389). 


Here down under we pay too much anyway but that is also due to the shipping.

In Europe you'd pay about 4.5Euro per kilo.



Hi Chris,

Australia is a wonderful country (I choose to live here a cople of years ago and I'm really happy with my choice) but is very far from everywhere. Bringing chocolate here is expensive, very expensive, and the shipping cost in the last 24 month has raised more than 30%.

Chocolate is usually imported air freight with temperature controlled, and that's several dollar per kg, but even using a refrigerated container, the costs are still high.

Au contrair, the cost of Billabong tshirts in Italy is around 300% of here in Australia, if this can make you a little happier... :)

Hi Chris, I've just returned to Samoa after living in Sydney for 30yrs and last October I've ventured into the cocoa export business. Our family land are growing wild cocoa trees, but it has been left untouched for donkeys so the last three months was all about tiding up and re-planting new trees. In the past Samoa used to export a lot of cocoa beans, but for some strange reasons they have changed their business focus on other products like Nonu, Taro, Fish, which gives them quicker returns. My cocoa business is to export cocoa beans from hand picked cocoa pods from Samoa. At this early stage I am looking at New Zealand and Australia for clients for the first 12 months. I will have 20kgs of dried cocoa beans for samples arriving in Sydney late next week. If you like I would be glad to ship you a couple of sample packs for you to try out free of charge. They come in 1kg sealed bags. Not sure if this will help your current cost issues with couverture, but maybe if you give me more details I can see what I can do from Samoa to help you and the others who are going through similar costs issues. We sure need the export business. Anyone else who would like a free sample pack let me know.

Thank you


hi Richard

I'd be interested in a price on beans or nibs please email me on

currently using fijian and vanuatu beans.

please let me know, variety and ferment time /conditions



Hi Peter, I wish I brought some samples with me on my trip. To answer your first question about prices. One of the reasons I'm back here in Sydney is to do some research on the cocoa market here in Australian cocoa pricing. Because NZ and Australia are in my action plan for the first 12 months, I need to get as much information before I start sending out price lists. The Australian dollars buys over $2.30 Samoan Tala. Part of my research I did in Samoa before I came to Sydney  in Dec last year was I bought 5 x 1 kg bags of dried cocoa beans from separate local suppliers to find out what was currently available to buy and my findings were very interesting. Each bag contained on average of 350 dried cocoa beans. These bags were $3.00 Tala each. (About $1.20AUD) After taking out what we felt were not up to our standards, there were about 100 beans we felt could fit export standards. So to buy from local farmers with current excepted standards you are looking at up to 1/3 of your purchase will be fit for human consumptions and the rest I guess can be tossed in the bin. With over 20 years in the food hospitality and freight industry I'm trying to adopt similar systems into my business. What I have put in place now is we buy direct from farmers and we choose all the pods ourselves. This way we know what we are getting. We then crack the pods open and pile them into buckets and shipped to our fermentation facilities for processing. The fermentation will take up to 7 days and the drying process will take another 6-7 days depending on the weather. There's a lot of rain in the pacific at the moment so it might take a bit longer, but never less than 5 days. Apologies for going on a bit, but it pays to do it right from the beginning. At the moment I can't give you an accurate prices on my beans until I get back to Samoa next week and put all my findings together. Air freight is daily out of Samoa and shipping is very good as well. I have contact in both areas so this will help when getting competitive rates to Australia. What I'm happy to do is to ship you the 20kgs of beans coming to Sydney next week for free and see what you think. I'm sure there are areas you can help me with so I'm happy to send them all to you if you like. I can supply a lot more, but these were only for sample packs. I hope this helped you.


Thank you


Hi Richard

as with most things there's only one way to do things if you want to stay in business.

To start with a 1kg sample is plenty.

Years ago i tasted the flesh of the pod and it was very nice this was Sth American, i've always though their might be a secondary market for cocoa juice. From what i remember it was hell of alot nicer than coconut juice which is all the rage at he moment.


Hi Peter, I will arrange for a 1kg bag to be sent to you soon as I get it. People back home are currently making alcohol from the fermented cocoa juice. They say it's good stuff so will look into it.


Hi Richard,

i just come up to this discussion, i live in South Africa and shipping is also an issue. 

Just by reading your post i noticed something i'm also interested to have some information: the alchool made by the cocoa juice. Could you let me have some information about it? i will be collaborating on a social project in Uganda to help them with quality of beans and also with other resource of possible income.

"Cocoa grappa" sound something possible.



Hi Chris

as others are stated freight is the big issue, we import rare teas and freight is a major factor. we also manufacture from bean, nib and mass and really on small volume high quality even overseas beans are expensive. For example we are paying -cocoa nibs fermented ex- Java $17/kg before freight or processing.

So at $20 for fully processed couverture in small buys WA I think the price is pretty good. Best we can buy at for Callebaut quality $14/kg, till quantity steps up to pallet lots then the price drops.

The other issue in Australia for small manufacturers is labour cost  especially in things like chocolate with high levels of labour input


Hi Richard,

I have been working with Samoan cacao from a couple of different sources, making chocolate from the beans and giving feedback on how the beans translate to fine chocolate. This has been mainly to improve fermentation practices, I also worked with Australian farmers, now Daintree Estates and have recently worked with a Philippino company. I would be very interested to try some of your beans, the South pacific cacao is quite unique and I have been pleasantly surprised at the complexity of the Samoan cacao when compared to say Fijian or that of Vanuatu. I can work with as little as 1kg but 5 kg is best for comprehensively getting the roast right and formulating different chocolate types.

It is great to see someone working to get quality cacao into this country from Samoa.


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