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: 671
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

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.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Marie Schorp on December 8, 2014 at 3:01pm

Hi Everybody!

I am new to this forum and very excited about it. My name is Marie and I recently opened a chocolate store in Tucson, AZ. We make caramel apples (about 20 varieties), a number of chocolate confections, homemade fruit pops, an chocolate-dipped EVERYTHING. The heart of the store is our store manager who comes with 16 years' experience and can make almost anything. One of my roles as owner is to assist her with finding products to support her, among other things, as well as coming up with new recipes and product categories. For professional equipment we have a commercial Savage Bros. electric stove with the largest copper kettle and a high-capacity Chocovision model, in addition to a couple of melters.

Comment by Dave Huston on November 29, 2014 at 4:07pm

Thanks David!  I would be curious to see what is an acceptable moisture content.  Is is possible to have zero moisture in roasted beans that aren't burnt?

Comment by David Menkes on November 28, 2014 at 2:05am
I'll have to dig through my books to see what "acceptable" moisture content is but remember that cocoa butter content is a huge factor in viscosity.
Comment by Dave Huston on November 28, 2014 at 12:10am

Thanks David!  I follow you so far, but now I have another question.  What's usually an acceptable (or industry standard) level of residual moisture in roasted beans?  I would think zero is not an option because it sounds like you'd have well...burnt beans.  Looking back through several batches of roast information, I seem to have typically removed 3-4% of moisture content.  Although I have no clue what the original moisture content was.  Assuming an original content of say 6% would mean I have had about 2-3% residual moisture in the last several batches I've made.  Those batches all tasted pretty good and molded fine, although some were a bit more difficult than others.

Comment by David Menkes on November 27, 2014 at 3:28pm
Hey Dave,

So all cacao (should) have some amount of moisture in them - usually 5-7%. What you want to do is figure out exactly what your moisture content is if your beans, and how much of that moisture you're roasting out.

So take 100g of beans and roast them in a toaster oven until they're completely black and burnt (watch for smoke)! Weigh the beans after. They should be 95g or maybe less. That's your moisture content.

Now do a roast with 500g (or whatever your test batch size is) and weigh before and after the roast. If the percentage is less than your burn test, you know you have some residual moisture in your beans. We put our roasted, winnowed nibs in a dehydrator overnight and weigh again.

As others have said, it also matters a great deal how much (or little) cocoa butter is in your beans. I've heard of rubbing tests to check for butter content but would love to hear from anyone else who has an easy test for cocoa butter content.

Hope this helps!
Comment by Dave Huston on November 27, 2014 at 3:09pm

Hey Dale,

If you did end up adding some cocoa butter, let me know how it worked out?  Fingers crossed for you!!

Comment by Dave Huston on November 27, 2014 at 3:05pm

Hey David,

Could you describe the burn test a bit more in detail?  I can't find anything more on the TCL or even a Google search about how this is done.  Thanks!!

Comment by David Menkes on November 26, 2014 at 5:32pm

Reducing moisture in the beans themselves before grinding also helps. I like to do a burn test on every batch of beans we get so that we know the moisture content. If the beans are around 6% moisture and the roasted weight is only 4% less than unroasted, there's still 2% moisture that can be removed.

Comment by Dale Anderson on November 26, 2014 at 5:28pm


Thanks so much for your response. I'll see if adding a bit of cocoa butter resolves the issue. This would be a lovely simple fix.

Comment by Dave Huston on November 26, 2014 at 12:46pm

Responding to Dale Anderson's Chocovision Rev Delta issue:

Hey Dale, I've seen this once with a 70% batch of Camino Verde beans from Balao, Ecuador right near the end of tempering process.  Turns out those particular beans have less cocoa butter (fat) in them than other origins I've made 70% out of.  I simply had to add in some extra cocoa butter, which bumped it up to about a 74% afterwards and everything worked fine.  Later, I looked around and found that several commercial bean-to-bar makers only had bars from these beans at >=75% cocoa content.  After that I made a second batch at 75% using just beans and sugar from this origin without experiencing this issue.


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