I'm wondering that what kind of machinery would you need for producing commercial raw chocolate products. I consult one company that brought this question up. I don't have any experiences making massive amounts of commercial chocolate, but what kind of set up would you recommend to order (price range 5000-10.000€). Any thought about subject?
"The overarching point I want to make here is that without direct personal knowledge, you don't know really know what's going on.". Exactly, and since I nor my customers can afford the time or money to invest in direct personal knowledge we must rely of other forms of certified information; Fairtrade or Organics for ethical production. I'd suggest also that the majority of chocolate consumption is done by people in a similar situation and idea of every consumer visiting the farms is unethical lunacy - on the carbon impact alone.
Clearly perfection is missing in the world but there are people and organisations that do care and are trying to make it more perfect. I'm not suggesting that fairtrade is perfect or organic certification is perfect what I'm convinced of is that they are more perfect, generally, than some random person making subjective claims, for their own personal gain, after indulging their tourist interests.
Saying Organic and Fairtrade certifications are "crap" then claiming to run an "ethical chocolate producing" business and believing "in ethics and conscience" on the anecdotal evidence of paying Hacienda owners x 2 world prices and having a clean floor is what I call CRAP.
Each of you has some reason
Jaakko and Ice, wanting to produce and consume raw foods and trying to get the best cocoa in its natural state, but should be careful with the pathogens they contain, and considering that the cocoa aroma and flavor, especially the Ecuadorian cocoa fine aroma, is the result of a good fermentation and careful roasting, because time is important in both cases.
Nat and Brad, to clarify and prevent the consumption of raw, can affect health and should continue a process of roasting to prevent bacteria and pathogens. The reality is that as well says Brad (leaving aside his sarcasm, as the farmer has a hard life and deserves respect), the farmer is mostly an illiterate person that his only knowledge is to plant and make the land produce, teachings that come from generation to generation. Its status as educational, economic and health is very poor, why suffer the abuse of large exporters, which pay a pittance for their products, leaving their families in permanent state of poverty, not allowing it to progress, then assuming they can improve the quality of family life, children who were educated, not wishing to return to a life on the farm and did not want to live like their parents and migrate to big cities, leaving the agro with fewer people sow, which affects to a vicious circle resulting in less production and higher prices for agricultural products.
It is also true that fair trade rarely benefits the small producers as is expected, because the benefits are received by the major exporter, who collects the products in bulk, hoping to get the most out depending on international prices and the benefits of fair trade , why for some time I'm in the task of convincing small farmers to benefit from group themselves into associations or cooperatives, as they may compete nationally or internationally, with better economic returns.
The same happens with the famous organic products, it is true that the small farmer, planting and manage their fields in most cases naturally, as their incomes do not give to buy pesticides and chemicals that "help" planting pest-free, so in most cases are organic, but do not have economic capacity or are prepared to follow the procedures and paperwork that these certifications require.
It is for this reason, I'm starting a campaign to raise funds to build a cocoa processing plant, it will produce pasta, butter and cocoa powder. This plant will return the capital in two years, will enable to group small producers who are members of the company and its products are purchased directly by the plant to be processed, which will benefit them, their families and the locals, they will have technical training, will build schools, clinics and they will be providing their homes for basic services like water, sewerage and electricity, which will enable them to improve her standard of living and make their children want to stay in the country contributing to agricultural production in the future.
I hope you are not tired with this litany, but the reality of the small farmer is very hard, these people are the most abused by the big exporting companies, which impose their prices and in most cases the products they sell first and then pay the farmer.
Thank you very much for your post. My sarcasm stems from the fact that some people hear buzzwords such as "organic" and "fair trade" and then jump on the bandwagon, promoting the use of those terms as though they've had some religious epiphane without having first done some homework to understand what those terms really mean.
My sarcasm is pointed at THOSE individuals, and certainly NOT the farmers who work so hard to scratch out a living for their families - the same people who are taken advantage of by many people in the cocoa supply chain. My respect for the farmer's hard work is immense.
I fully understand that some of the people reading my posts don't like me, or the tone of my emails sometimes. However, for every idiot who spews off buzzwords publicly without fully understanding the source and meaning of those buzzwords (aka REASEARCH), there needs to be a guy like me, who HAS done the homework, who is just as outspoken, and who is willing to take the heat when it comes. And it DOES come! Haha!
Ivan, I think you and I see many things in the same light. The challenge for us is language barriers, and you have a nicer way of replying than I do.
In closing, the other day I tasted some very rough chocolate made from cocoa from Ecuador. The floral notes were stunning! I've been sent numerous samples over the last couple of years and there hasn't been one until the other day I would like to use. Given that you appear to be in the business yourself, maybe there's a possibility you could help put me find some of those really exceptional beans? If so, I would be happy to pay you for your services, provided I can build a sustainable relationship with the grower(s).
Brad, I'll be happy to help you and at the same time to agicultores and products from my country, so let me give you my email firstname.lastname@example.org to send me your requirements and we will be in direct contact.
Can I have some examples of "fair trade rarely benefits the small producers as is expected" because it does not sound like a fair trade arrangement at all. Outsiders say this but *never* provide evidence. I'll show you one we work with and *IS* a success. Maybe you should give them a call and see how they are set up. http://fairtradecertified.org/node/516 http://cacsatipo.org/
What? A bunch of "Illiterate farmers" with an internet connection and web site? Was that more "crap" debunked.
I find it very difficult to have an opinion on fairtrade and organic as I can’t afford to fly around the world and check out things for myself so have to rely on conflicting second hand information. I think Brad has a point that there could be a better way to do ‘fairtrade’ based on the cost of living in different countries.
Case in point: I am currently working with a farmer in far north Queensland doing some loose R&D in chocolate formulation, roasting profiles, product development and feedback on different fermentations as it relates to the end chocolate. In talking with him, they (the group of farmers there) would never sell the raw fermented beans to anyone as the cost of producing a metric ton of cacao in a first world country is astronomical, they need to add significant value to their product to recoup their money and make a profit. This just goes to show how cost of living in a country affects what price you would ideally accept for your raw agricultural product, though this is a very extreme example. It also illustrates just where the money is in the supply chain and where most of the labour is also. Another case in point is John Nanci is selling Chuao cacao on his website (www.chocolatealchemy.com) at the moment for $13.50 / lb and Hawaiian cacao for $16.50 / lb. Now that is arguably the best cacao in the world vs a hybrid from Hawaii.
One other thing I wonder about is why coffee and cacao have been singled out as poster boys for ethical debates. Maybe I spend too much time on chocolate sites but this issue exists around clothing and ipads also. I don’t buy fair-trade clothing, but I don’t own an ipad either.
I can't afford to fly round the world checking and verifying ethical claims either nor can I buy sufficient quantities (yet) to make demands of coops / hacienda / plantation owners. That's precisely why Fair-trade and Organic certification (when farms are profitable) are necessary in my opinion.
Note there are fair trade standards for organisations of small and medium producers and standards for hacienda / plantation owners to ensure workers are not exploited and have basic benefits and rights. http://www.fairtrade.net/what_is_fairtrade.0.html
It's *disgraceful* that western "premium", luxury, discretionary products are based upon destruction, abuse, exploitation and poverty.
If the Cacao coming out of Cairns is heavily marketed as Australian I believe there will be some local market for it. Indeed I made a number of fruitless enquiries to get some.
I am at a loss to understand how "FAIR TRADE" organizations will improve the lives of workers in our cacau farms. It seems that the function of FAIR TRADE groups has been greatly expanded to include "fair trade standards for organisations of small and medium producers and standards for hacienda / plantation owners" to ensure workers are not exploited and have basic benefits and rights."
You need to save your money and make a trip into the areas you tout as being saved by FAIR TRADE. I invite you to visit my farm in Brazil and challenge you to find things that FAIR TRADE will improve on. Please check out the commentary below and then give me some points that FAIR TRADE WILL ENRICH.
Until readers of this forum recognize the "international market price" of cacau has nothing to do with small consumers of beans. In order to take advantage of the daily quoted price, you need to come to the farm with your 60kg sacks, load the beans in your transport, deliver a ton of official documents required by the federal government, pay the taxes assessed by state and federal entities, make arrangements to export the beans including customs, sanitation and transport fees.Unless you purchase enough to utilize a 20' container of 15MT, you are faced with air shipments that average USD $5.00 per kg. (Brazil to North America). These are the steps Cargill, ADM and Mars routinely perform to purchase cacau at the "daily quoted price" ....which is at our warehouse door..
You have a lot to learn about cacau production, process and distribution before you are capable of making a case for a certification agency that is installed 1500 miles from the producer.
Jan. 11, 2009 to FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER
Bahia Cacau Bean Company
Floresta Azul bahia Brazil
I'd love to visit your farm, chat to your workers, hang out and generally waste my time when I should be earning money, but, since I have no need to do that if you were fair trade certified I'd prefer certification. I urge other cacao buyers to do likewise. Further more my visit would be meaningless (i.e. im not a certified inspector) to my customers who care about fair trade too so maybe we should ALL come, LOL!
Put it this way; there is *no* way I'd buy cacao unless its fair trade certified and maybe organic certified. If you were certified I'd guarantee I'd at least try your cacao and would be more than happy to put you in touch with three importers who deal in certified products *ONLY*. Two of those importers deal in container loads *only* and can't get enough. Hell from the sound of the quality of your beans I'd consider selling it direct. Clear enough?
Just out of curiosity, what does your senseless spewing about blindly being on a fair trade bandwagon have to do with the original question about raw cocoa?