The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!


Startup Central

Are you looking to start a chocolate business? Want to talk to others who've been there or done that - or have you been there and done it and want to share with others? This is the place to discuss it.

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Members: 664
Latest Activity: 5 hours ago

Startup Central

Do you make great chocolates? Know everything there is to know about tempering chocolate and cooking the perfect caramel? Able to turn out thousands of finished chocolates without blinking any eye?

Does the thought of using Quickbooks or writing a business plan sends you screaming into the walk-in begging for mercy?

This group is for you. When you join, please introduce yourself to the group in a comment on this page. Yes, I know you have a profile page, but it would be great to have you add a few words about you and your business in the context of this group. If you have a website, feel free to post a link to it. Please don't post a link to your profile page, people can just click on your profile photo to visit that.

PS. Below is the full picture I used for the Group photo. It's a chocolate store/cafe in Mexico. Those are stone mills (the kind Taza uses) to the right of the guy with his back to you in the blue shirt and notice that they are selling beans. The stone mills suggest that this store is located in Oaxaca.

Discussion Forum

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Comment by Jeff Stern on May 20, 2009 at 10:18am
Hello, I am the owner of Aequare Chocolates based in Quito, Ecuador. We are a small artisan company dedicated to exporting fine chocolate and chocolate confections direct from Ecuador to the US. We use local ingredients whenever possible in all our products and have close relationships with cocoa farmers, cocoa processors and other local businesses in Ecuador. Our aim is to add value to the product here in country. Our website is You can also read about living and doing business in Ecuador at Please don't hesitate to contact me for any additional information.
Comment by Karen Neugebauer on May 19, 2009 at 11:42pm
Cheers! I am the Owner/Chocolatier for Forte Chocolates, a small artisan company near Seattle WA. Right now, I do everything but demand has grown in the past 2 years to the point of needing to build vs rent a kitchen and hire 1 or 2 employees. My kitchen is 16' x 16' and is a new construction that is unfinished on the inside. A nice clean slate! What I need mostly is info on how best to set it up, what machines to get ideally, and learning what pitfalls to avoid. Please visit my website at and feel free to tell me what you think of my work and offerings. So far, business is great and I have learned much in the past 2 years of operation. Right now Forte Chocolates can be found in 16 boutiques but my goal is to grow both the brand recognition and work my way into more luxury markets.My most popular item is my Sea-Salt Caramel. I am here to learn, so please tell it like it is. Thanks and I look forward to getting to know you!
Comment by erika jensen on April 7, 2009 at 10:05pm
Hi! i just joined the group :) i'm a very small business right now (me and 2 part time assistants...they do packaging and very limited production, like dipping things or "finishing" products), expanding into a commercial space that needs TONS of renovation (its actually the town's old train depot) and it will be a combined business (same building, different areas) with my husband, who's a photographer, and does all my pics and web design. you can check us out at and
i'm in the beginning stages of my biz, i'm only on year 2, but my husband has been doing his for 7 years. so yup, would love help on the transition from production-only, to more of a cafe type retail location and that goes into my new kitchen since yes, i have to build one from scratch. (like i said...the depot...bare bones!) thanks you guys!!!!!!
Comment by Ilana on March 29, 2009 at 2:33pm
excellent!!! YAY!!
Comment by holycacao on March 29, 2009 at 2:09pm
Thanks Ilana for the comment! we also had a blast. After we left your place we went to a moshav to check on our new roaster, which is close to being ready, and the owner loved the chocolate and bought a kilo in small bars!
Comment by Ilana on March 29, 2009 at 1:36pm
Hi. Well today I purchased a few kilos of chocolate from Ze'ev and Jo from Holy Cacao. They came to my place with beautiful shiny bars to taste and after one bite and sniff (!) I was sold. I have not tastedf anything like it!!!! I hope my business will grow (I am a tiny business!) so that I can use lots of their chocolate. It was a real learning experience and an eye opener. What a burst of flavor-wow!!!
Comment by Paul Mosca on March 10, 2009 at 3:50pm
Hi folks,
My name is Paul Mosca. I have been in business for one year and a couple of months. I make Chocolate Seeds. I am looking forward to this discussion. I have a lot to learn. But many people helped me on my journey. I am grateful to give back.
Comment by Rae Stang on March 4, 2009 at 9:45pm
oops- didn't realize I had posted that 1st post. Does anyone know where to buy a stone grinder like in the photo on this page (Mayerdomo Chocolate Shop in Oaxaca)?
Comment by Rae Stang on March 4, 2009 at 9:34pm
Hi Everyone. I started my chocolate business in upstate NY 3 years ago.
We specialize in small batch truffles with intense flavor profiles and really dark chocolates & panned nuts. We use organic and fair trade chocolate exclusively and organic nuts and fruits. I am very interested in getting into the bean to bar thing. I think this group is going to be an amazing resource and hopefully I can help others too.
My shop is if anyone wants to check it out.
Comment by Rae Stang on March 4, 2009 at 9:29pm
Hi Everyone. I have a chocolate shop in upstate New York, USA.
I want to get into making bean to bar chocolate. Right now we specialize in intense flavors and super dark chocolate and healthful chocolates using organic and fair trade chocolate and ingredients.
I think this group will be an incredible resource for finding everything from friendship, bean sources and equipment.
I love that I have found this group. It's lonely out here!

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