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Is opening a chocolate business in a hot climate doable?

Hi,

I am in the beginning stages of getting my chocolate business together and have TONS of questions so bare with me.

We live in hot humid S. Texas. I want to start an online chocolate business and am wondering if I am shooting myself in the foot from the beginning.

These are some issues that I see but would love to HEAR from all of you successful chocolatiers your thoughts and tips. Any advise to save me some heartaches would be lovely.

The average temp is 80 Oct- March but come April-Sept its 100 +, so I would have to bring all of my chocolate for the year in the winter months.

Also, there is a slight chance that we may move next spring but am not sure if I should just start it now and move it when the time comes.

Thank you in advance!

Best,

Melody

Tags: business, question

Views: 369

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Melody,

YES, it is doable. We are currently working to open a shop in Tucson, AZ. We have different issues than others, but, these issues are workable. We also have to deal with high heat, but lower humidity for most of the year. As we were looking for space we did focus on the HVAC system to be sure that it could handle the temp requirements. We also are looking to vendors who can get us our supplies year round versus in the Spring and Fall. We offer cold paks to our retail customers. We are working on our delivery van to get the right temperatures for our local deliveries. All of these are challenges but not deal breakers.

Good luck on your venture.

Pierre
Hi Melody,

We're facing some of the same issues making chocolate here in Hawaii, but we also have the added problem of high humidity (60%+) year round that I'd think you don't have to deal with in Texas.

Regardless, you'll have to cool the rooms where you're tempering chocolate to below 80° F. We get by with 76°, but that depends if your tempering method uses passive cooling of just a fan bringing the chocolate to room temp, which applies to most of tempering machines I've used or know about. The only active cooling technique would be ice, a compressor, or a thermode that can electrically cool the air, but I know of no commercial temperers that use those.

You'll also want to store the chocolate in areas well below 90° F so they don't come out of temper. Bars would probably be OK in the 70's, but truffles with perishable ingredients in the ganache should be lower, perhaps in the 50's, though I don't have much experience with that.

If you do have high humidity too, you would need to lower that below 50% for tempering, but a good air conditioner should do that while cooling the air. Get a good hygrometer to measure that.

Lastly for shipping, it'll be tough to ship in the summer at all unless you add a ton of ice packs and ship overnight, so you'll have to decide if you can pass that extra cost on to your consumers or just not ship in the summer.

It is definitely tough but can be done, and who knows, if you're the only one in your area that tries, people might thank you heartily by buying up all your chocolate!
I also live in a hot and humid climate-half a year of it. I am a very small business so I have my own ways of dealing with the issues. I have a stronger than needed air cond as the tempering machines,fridge etc add extra heat. I have a dehumidifier constantly at work(I use the water that it collects to water my flowers). I have a room thermometer and hygrometer. I can easily get my working area to perfect climate. During the cooler half of the year, it is usually perfect without any interference, but if it is rainy or a bit humid,my dehumidifier takes care of that and gives off a bit of heat which warms the room perfectly, if it is cold. Being so small has other problems like storing chocolates etc.....
Thank you for the great replies and encouragement. I was seriously considering moving so that I could open a chocolate business. You all have given me hope!

To your delicious success!

~ Melody

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