The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

John Hepler
  • Male
  • Whitleyville, TN
  • United States
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John Hepler's Friends

  • omid
  • Alain Schneider
  • Sebastian
  • Sirius Chocolate
  • Celeste Hill
  • deedee devi
  • David Lollia
  • Mark J Sciscenti
  • Elaine Gonzalez

John Hepler's Page

Latest Activity

Amaleah Brigitte Black-Smiley liked John Hepler's discussion Fermentation and old varieties
Sep 22, 2013
John Hepler left a comment for omid
"hello omid      I'm out of chocolate biz but still retain links in Nicaragua. If i can help you in that, let me know, several opportunities     j sandy hepler"
Aug 7, 2012
Sirius Chocolate replied to John Hepler's discussion Services; 06/21/10; Travel, Nicaraguan cacao harvest, Oct/Nov 2010 in the group Classifieds - For Sale or Wanted
"Sounds Amazing! I wish we could afford this, but trying to get our business off the ground, I dont think this is in the cards for us this year. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!   .:SiriuS:."
Feb 28, 2011
Sirius Chocolate replied to John Hepler's discussion Opportunity, a special cacao farm, southern Mexico in the group Classifieds - For Sale or Wanted
"Hi Sandy,   We are not in any position in terms of money for this, as we're just trying to get off the ground here. However, this sounds EXTREMELY interesting, and I didnt even realize this was you until I saw your name at the end. Im…"
Feb 28, 2011
John Hepler added a discussion to the group Classifieds - For Sale or Wanted

Raffle winners notification

Out of thousands of entries, the following people were selected at random to receive 2kg of cacao Indio from Nicaragua. I will be contacting you all individually in any case.Congratulations! Mike Orlando <> Kevin Miodonski <>   Robert O'Byrnes <>Jeff Shepherd   <>Francis Schenstead <>See More
Jan 29, 2011
John Hepler commented on Vercruysse Geert's video

100% White Cacao History

"Version:1.0StartHTML:0000000149EndHTML:0000001671StartFragment:0000000199EndFragment:0000001637StartSelection:0000000199EndSelection:0000001637Let me first say that I am not an expert, and likely less knowledgable than Mr Geert.This tale of origin…"
Jan 13, 2011
John Hepler added a discussion to the group Classifieds - For Sale or Wanted

Raffle-- Cacao Indio beans

            Cacao Raffle!!!     Proof-of-the-Chocolate Pudding    Last fall I offered to send 2kg samples of USDA certified organic, 8-day fermented cacao Indio to 5 lucky winners of a raffle-- in return for their public assessment in the Chocolate Life. This cacao is now in my hands. I will open up mylist for entries by email for two weeks, until January 26, then drawnames out of a hat.     Note: As these cacaos reach no higherthan 120ºF in the fermentation process, I assume they can be…See More
Jan 13, 2011
John Hepler replied to John Hepler's discussion Report from Nicaragua Cacao HArvest in the group The Science of Chocolate
"Final Report: Saving the Chocolate trip     In late October, 2010, I arrived at the farm of Eloy Canales, a mile north of La Patriota. Personally I wanted to understand more about the ancient cacaos-- the criollos-- and their present…"
Jan 13, 2011
John Hepler added a discussion to the group The Science of Chocolate

Report from Nicaragua Cacao HArvest

Dear Fellow Chocolate Scientists   Greetings from the Nicaraguan cacao harvest (delayed slightly due to a very rainy rainy-season) now in full swing.    First a few basics:  the fermentation temperatures both in north and southern Nicaragua vary between 45C and 50C. Tranlsating to a max of 122F. Thus I was WRONG in my memory of seeing a 135F thermometer reading last year. This temp range must be pretty universal.     The "white cacao" is very rare indeed, and for good reason: the pod walls are…See More
Dec 6, 2010
Frank Homann replied to John Hepler's discussion Fermentation and old varieties in the group The Science of Chocolate
"Hi John and J Sandy, Great blog, and I am totally aligned with your quest to promote "heirloom" cacao from Nicaragua. Just to add a few facts that we in my company, Xoco (, have laerned over the past years: Today most…"
Nov 12, 2010
John Hepler replied to John Hepler's discussion Aging and Conching in the group The Science of Chocolate
"Hello ms Laura Lovechock First if your chocolate is grainy, we must guess that you do not have a melangeur. It is very difficult to make commercially acceptable chocolate without a melangeur. For me conching is about losing acidity and disagreeable…"
Oct 24, 2010
Miss Lovechock replied to John Hepler's discussion Aging and Conching in the group The Science of Chocolate
"Hi John, What a good question you state there. What does conching do to the healthy compounds, apart from the taste ? Allright, that is also the question we have. We make raw chocolate here in Holland, using cold-grinded paste from the Arriba…"
Oct 20, 2010
John Hepler left a comment for Sebastian
"I will not likely be back in the States til mid-December, at which point I'll share out some beans. PLEASE remind me with an email at that time, and I'll be glad to send you some."
Sep 27, 2010
John Hepler and Sebastian are now friends
Sep 27, 2010
John Hepler added a discussion to the group Classifieds - For Sale or Wanted

Cacao testing needed

I will be buying, and shipping cacao beans and cacao paste (aka liquor) from Nicaragua in late November, to the USA. This is a mix of their native stock, several different criollo-based hybrids. To my palate, the taste is lovely.Any serious buyer ought to come down and taste these before buying.Shipping cacao out of Nicaragua (and other places I think) is not for the faint of heart. Getting it into the US is easier, but not a walk in the park.Lacking folks' ability to travel for the cacao…See More
Sep 11, 2010
John Hepler replied to Casey's discussion Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51
"Interesting, and pertinent, Samantha. Love that erudition. The marvel to me is somehow from those original cacaos somewhere near the confluence of what is today Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil; some of it travels south, some eastward that become…"
Sep 9, 2010

Profile Information

Dark, Milk, White?
Most memorable chocolate experience:
A recent biggie: finding White CAcao in northern Nicaragua, then realizing there will be enough to ferment, and enough for me to buy 40 or 50 lbs.
We are NOT talking about white chocolate, we are talking about a type of cacao that is indeed different, and that the local cacao growers believe is very old.
My favorite chocolate is:
Dark, made by me from Cacao coming from Mt Mombacho, southern Nicaragua

Comment Wall (7 comments)

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At 11:12am on May 26, 2010, Sirius Chocolate said…
Save the Chocolate looks awesome! Id love to be a part of your project. And in the mean time, if you have stock of special criollo varients, I would love to support the farmers you are in contact with and pay premium for the old, unique varieties.

At 10:22am on April 20, 2010, Elaine Gonzalez said…
John, forgive me for not continuing our discussion but you've caught me at a very busy time. I'm the keynote speaker at PMCA next week and I'm swamped with prep work. I'll be in touch. Elaine
At 3:16pm on April 7, 2010, Elaine Gonzalez said…
Regarding fermentation in Mexico: some of the latest archaeological findings suggest that beans were sometimes fermented in pre-Hispanic times. Since the beans were so valuable, it is likely that they were sometimes buried in the ground where fermentation may have taken place. Today there are several commercial fermentation plants throughout the cacao zone in Tabasco but many farmers prefer to ferment their own beans themselves. There was a time when the farmers were obliged to take the beans to the cacao union's fermentation plants. Imagine the hodge podge of beans thrown together. The result? Some were under-fermented, some over-fermented. La Joya's neo-criollo beans, for example, were thrown together with beans of lesser quality.

more later....
At 3:51pm on April 5, 2010, Elaine Gonzalez said…
Hello John/Sandy,
I would like very much to talk to you about the fermentation of cacao in Tabasco. I would also like to hear more about the "white cacao" you discovered in Nicaragua. I presume it is the same as pataxle in Mexico.
At 3:19pm on March 26, 2010, deedee devi said…
excellent john ... what do they call this variety of young green leaf / white cacao in nicaragua that you are importing? are you aquiring seeds to plant as well?

and your original post went out as an email only ") aloha! love love love ...
At 3:01am on March 26, 2010, deedee devi said…
john dear ~ is this white cacao you mention above called CUPUACU? aloha!
At 9:11pm on March 25, 2010, Jon Ellsworth said…
Welcome...Jon with Divine Specialties

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