The Chocolate Life

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Hawaii Cacao

Information on cacao and chocolate in Hawaii and about the Hawaii State-wide -Cacao Variety Trial in 2010. Co-moderated by ChocolateLife member Skip Bittenbender of the University of Hawaii. Group badge photo by ChocolateLife member Koa Kahili.

Location: Hawaii
Members: 97
Latest Activity: Nov 26

The 2010 Hawaii State-wide Cacao Variety Trial

Cooperators from several islands will be involved. In addition there are over 30 cacao growers in the state and more waiting to plant.

This group serves as a central point for information and discussion on a variety of topics from propagation to fermentation to tempering in the tropics.

The goal is to create a forum that will maximize quality English language content benefitting our Hawaii growers and chocolatiers and other Chocolate Life members as well.

Discussion Forum

Manawai Estate Chocolate Maui

Started by Melanie Boudar Oct 16. 0 Replies

Our cacao and tropical fruit farm is now open twice a week for a 2 1/2 hr "Food of the Gods " tour. (Sundays and Thursdays by reservation) Its an interactive tour where you will  learn about growing…Continue

Tags: tropical, agriculture, Maui, tour, chocolate

Hawaii Cacao & Chocolate Bootcamp, Tree to Seed/Bean to Bar, October 20-24, O'ahu, Hawai'i

Started by Nat. Last reply by Nat Feb 1. 1 Reply

We're excited to announce our first annual Cacao & Chocolate Bootcamp on beautiful O'ahu, Hawai'i. Join us for 5-days in paradise on a journey for chocolate. Practice farm skills in cacao…Continue

Hawaii Chocolate & Cacao Association

Started by Melanie Boudar. Last reply by Anne C. Baird Apr 19, 2012. 1 Reply

Inviting you all to explore and/or join the new non-profit Hawaii Chocolate & Cacao Assnwww.hawaiichocolate.orgWe gave our first workshop at the…Continue

Tags: cacao, hawaii, chocolate, Hawaii

% of Quality

Started by Mike Pastore. Last reply by Mike Pastore Dec 22, 2011. 4 Replies

Aloha! I've read that less than 10% of world cacao production is of a high enough quality to be used for "confectionary" chocolate. I'm curious. Does anyone know what percentage of Hawaiian cacao…Continue

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Hawaii Cacao to add comments!

Comment by Melanie Boudar on June 24, 2010 at 1:46am
I don't think anyone here has a press to extract coca butter
Comment by Dusty Thomas on June 21, 2010 at 12:48pm
Anyone able to source "Hawaiian" Cocoa Butter? Who's making 100% Hawaiian Chocolate?
Comment by Vanessa Chang on June 17, 2010 at 3:33pm
As luck would have it, I'm starting an adventure in Kauai in July and am eager to visit any cacao growers and chocolate makers on the island. I'm doing research among other things, local efforts to cultivate cacao into a viable industry with great product. Large or small, I am interested. Can anyone recommend places/sites/people?
Comment by deedee devi on May 25, 2010 at 2:30pm
i sat with a cacao farmer yesterday and tasted her farm's beans and her non-roasted cacao beans tasted nothing like i've yet to receive commercially labeled RAW ORGANIC so there might BE more to the selling point than these labels as her beans tasted sweeter/creamier and less bitter. she has been working on her fermenting / drying process for over the last three years with many chocolate making experts and it may BE something of value in its own for $20 a lb the market is very limited but in time, we will see what this develops into :) i will sit with her today and learn more ...
Comment by Sacred Steve on May 25, 2010 at 8:57am
I am aware of the premium. Nonetheless, I imagine that most Hawaiian Cacao Farmers are not selling at the commodity level, so in this case they would fall into the specialty class and would most probably sell directly to chocolate makers such as myself.
Comment by Clay Gordon on May 25, 2010 at 8:30am
Steve - that used to be the case at the commodity level. However, at the moment, there is an enormous glut of organic certified cacao sitting in warehouses around the world. You can still get a premium for specialty beans that are cert. organic but bulk beans are not commanding any meaningful premium right now.

It's important to note that the base premium for cert. organic beans is $150/ton (at current market prices that's about five cents per pound) which is meaningless to most farmers once the costs of certification are factored in. As I outlined elsewhere, combined organic/Fair Trade certification in the Toledo District of Southern Belize is worth - very, very generously - 50 cents per month per farmer.

As usual, companies selling product made from cert. organic product benefit far more from the certification than cacao farmers do.
Comment by Sacred Steve on May 25, 2010 at 8:23am
I think an organic certification is the only certification worth investing in. Certified Organic Cacao fetches a premium in the marketplace.
Comment by Clay Gordon on May 25, 2010 at 8:18am
I am going to create a forum discussion here in this group where people can promote cacao farmers doing work in Hawaii - with location and contact information.

If you are a Hawaiian cacao farmer (or know one) who is looking to "go pro" and sell beans (or are already doing so) - and looking for assistance, customers, guests, whatever, just add the information to the discussion.

From what I remember from my attendance at the Hawaii 2005 conference, they've been trying to grow cacao commercially in Hawaii since the 1850s. As a crop, cacao doesn't return the same as coffee, sugar, pineapple, etc., so the economics just didn't work.

If I may, the parallel with coffee is apt, and I would look to emulate the success of the Cup of Excellence (somehow). Specialty coffee beans fetch as much as $35/lb at Cup of Excellence auctions. Intense focus on quality should be the mantra - paying for unnecessary and expensive certifications should not.
Comment by Melanie Boudar on May 25, 2010 at 1:38am
sadly there are few cacao farmers and fewer still that have the knowledge to ferment their beans. Land prices here are astronomical so very difficult to farm on a scale more than a couple acres.Most cacao ends up at the farmers market or health food store a few pods at a time. A few people process their own and sell small bars at the farmers markets as well.Although the University is doing a lot of research here, there is little outreach in terms of workshop/programs that could help people ferment their beans and have a market for them.It will happen over time but likely not too quickly. Certified Organic is really expensive to do, so don't count on that too quickly either. Lots of people grow organic, but certification is too expensive for having no reliable market to justify a huge expense.
Comment by Denise Brennan on May 25, 2010 at 12:48am
I realize that us small-scale chocolate makers are a rare bunch, but it seems that Hawaiian cacao growers are just as hard to find. I took a trip to the Big Island in 2007 and hunted all over for cacao beans that I, as a small-scale chocolate maker could buy. No luck at all. When I returned home I was determined to find someone and googled for what seemed like eons. I finally landed on the Hawaiian Fruit Growers Association's website. One phone call to them, and within an hour Gini called me back. It's been a great relationship, but finding her was no easy task. I've not searched for anyone else since because I'm so happy with her product. I'd be interested to know if there are other growers fermenting and selling their cacao to small shops like mine?

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