I have a dream of creating a raw bean-to-bar business. I am very curious in learning more about the process. I know there are a lot of postings on this forum surrounding the issue of "raw." I have gleaned a lot of pertinent information from previous forums.
At this point, I would love to hear from someone who is actually doing it. It seems that there is a lot of concern about the safety of unroasted beans, which is a very valid concern. How do raw chocolate makers deal with this issue. Clay mentioned that UV lights could be utilized to sterilize the beans. Has anyone used this system?
Another question I have is about the winnowing and grinding. It seems that roasting loosens the hull. In a post on this site from Big Tree Farms, he mentions that he winnows the bean and then removes the rest of the hull by hand. I have also heard that you can use a champion juicer, which will remove the hull. Has anyone employed these methods? Or somehow increased the efficiency?
To be honest, I am far less interested in the "Raw" temperature standards and enzymatic activity, than I am in using the unroasted cacao. Call me crazy, but I really like the gentle flavors I get. I do not intend to market my product as "raw", simply as using unroasted beans. I am disinterested in arguing the validity of the "RAW" label, as there is plenty of forum information on that topic already. I am merely exploring whether this is a functional route. Any help is hugely appreciated.
I just found this post on chocolatealchemy about the Champion Juicer:
How do they address it? They don't. I've tested a number of them, and to be frank they were off the charts high in micro load. It's only a matter of time before the FDA steps in and regulates this. Discussions have already been had. It's on the docket. If the industry doesn't self regulate, government will.
UV light will not be effective as there are far too many 'nooks and crannies' where the UV doesn't shine.
I'm working out a way that *might* allow a raw, micro safe product to be made, but it's not tested yet. I think it's possible, but i need to noodle through some more things on it first.
Thank you for your reply Sebastian. Im curious about the testing you have done. What brands and sources have you tested? DId you primarily test only the beans, or did you test the cacao powder and butter as well? And, because I am only minimally informed on this issue: What is your process for testing and what is a "normal" micro load on a roasted cacao bean versus the numbers you got on the unroasted products?
Please forgive the number of questions :) I am curious by nature and am on a mission to know.
Hi Jess - testing was standard plate count, salmonella, and e.coli. products were commercially available and purchased retail or mail order - i won't list the brands here - nor their specific results - as that's a pretty good way to destroy someone's business, but the individuals were notified. Note that this was not done at their request. The results are not encouraging (one case had 10^11 levels!), and have sparked discussions with the FDA to address the issue if it continues to emerge in a non-controlled fashion.
Suffice it to say that i know of no validated safe way to produce a raw chocolate, as defined by <118F temps, today, and i've been exposed to a bit more process/tech as it relates to chocolate than your average bear. The issue is 100% a microbiological one.
You might want to reach out to Vanessa at http://www.gnosischocolate.com/. Gnosis makes some good raw chocolate, and Vanessa is quite helpful. You can say the John from Travel Chocolate suggested that you contact her. Good luck! John R.
Thank you for your insight. I respect Vanessa and Gnosis Chocolate. I will reach out to her.
I am on the consumer end and keep on trying dark chocolate bars.
I have tasted many raw cocoa bars and there were only a few that I did like
For me I like my chocolate roasted or cooked,I am not against the bar being raw it just has to taste good
I think with some of the makers adding palm sugar or coconut sugar makes the bars taste better and hope I used the sugar terms correctly.
While we do not produce any chocolate, we are producing Raw Organic Cocoa Nibs. Feel free to contact me if you would like more info firstname.lastname@example.org