The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Koa Kahili
  • Male
  • Hanalei, Hi
  • United States
Share on Facebook
Share Twitter

Koa Kahili's Friends

  • Carla Martin
  • dalia schwartz
  • Ma. Delpha Estrada
  • Bong Willy
  • Jacob Royer
  • Chad Settlemier
  • Nathaniel Sol Finkelstein
  • loretta slessor
  • Moran Rudnik- Morane Chocolat
  • Sirius Chocolate
  • Laura Marion
  • deedee devi
  • Seneca Klassen
  • Cesar Lovon
  • Robert Stout

Koa Kahili's Discussions

Cultivars and Related Species

Started this discussion. Last reply by Tom Feb 4, 2009. 3 Replies


Garden Island Chocolate

Latest Activity

Koa Kahili replied to Pixie's discussion Stone Grinder for Raw Chocolate
"Every time I see a new package in the health food store with "Raw Chocolate" I just can not get into it.  Just a marketing ploy, not the best tasking chocolate or the most healthy chocolate.  And when ever I do buy a…"
Jul 26, 2013
Thomas Forbes liked Koa Kahili's photo
Mar 7, 2013
ChocoFiles liked Koa Kahili's photo
Mar 7, 2013
ChocoFiles liked Koa Kahili's photo
Mar 7, 2013
ChocoFiles commented on Koa Kahili's photo
Mar 7, 2013
Koa Kahili's event was featured

chocolate club at Kauai Hawaii

April 1, 2013 at 6pm to April 1, 2014 at 7pm
Aloha,  E Komo Mai Welcome to the first chocolate club of Hawaiian chocolate.  We now have started a chocolate club where you will receive 4 one ounce bars a month. The 4 bars will be from a wide selection of unique flavor creations, only available to chocolate club members. Some of the bars are: mole coconut milk curry Chinese 5 spice garam marsala spicy pepper (chipotle and cayenne ) mint butter cream allspice sea salt saindoux almond butter garlic blueberry single varieties from Kauai…See More
Mar 7, 2013
Clay Gordon might attend Koa Kahili's event

chocolate club at Kauai Hawaii

April 1, 2013 at 6pm to April 1, 2014 at 7pm
Aloha,  E Komo Mai Welcome to the first chocolate club of Hawaiian chocolate.  We now have started a chocolate club where you will receive 4 one ounce bars a month. The 4 bars will be from a wide selection of unique flavor creations, only available to chocolate club members. Some of the bars are: mole coconut milk curry Chinese 5 spice garam marsala spicy pepper (chipotle and cayenne ) mint butter cream allspice sea salt saindoux almond butter garlic blueberry single varieties from Kauai…See More
Mar 7, 2013
Koa Kahili posted a status
"Starting a new chocolate of the month club."
Mar 7, 2013

Profile Information

Dark, Milk, White?
Most memorable chocolate experience:
making a 100% criollo and becoming a believer.
My favorite chocolate is:
Garden Island Chocolate

About our Kauaian chocolate

Mahalo for supporting local Kauai agriculture and community. The chocolate in this bar was grown on Kauai using organic and sustainable agricultural standards and practices. All processing of the chocolate from the bean to the finished bar is done on Kauai. This bar is the result of many different farmers working together in a co-operative nurturing mutually beneficial relationships. Garden Island Chocolate is dedicated to propagating cacao trees,sharing permaculture techniques and processing expertise to any farmer who desires to grow Theobroma Cacao.
Our mission statement is to produce the best chocolate in the world. We belive we have accomplished this. Our primary endeavor is not only growing and producing superior quality chocolate, but in providing a secure food source to the people of Kauai, helping to create a strong independent self-sustainable island. In the next few years Garden Island Chocolate will be planting enough cacao trees to supply the resident population with chocolate year round.

Chocolate is a true superfood, containing the three essential components of food: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. With the addition of macadamia nuts and coconut, this bar provides a perfect source of nutrition to fuel our bodies and minds. Our chocolate is minimally processed and quality controlled in all aspects of the chocolate making art. Garden Island Chocolate uses a stone melanger to grind the beans preserving the medicinal properties. Consequently Kauai chocolate retains extremely high levels of flavonols (antioxidants), theobromine, phenylethylamine, and anandamide.

The majority of chocolate in this chocolate bar is the Criollo variety. Criollo tends to be more nutty and naturally sweeter. We mix in Forastero and Trinitario varieties to round out the chocolaty flavor and create a lasting sensation on the palate. The right combination of cacao varieties has a synergy, a total effect greater than the sum of the parts. To achieve the full potential of the chocolate flavor we ferment and roast each varietal separately. Kauai chocolate is a single-origin exclusive derivation, distinguished by the local soil and pristine environment that brings out inherent genetic characteristics. We keep the percentages of cacao solids high to ensure the health benefits. The less sugar the better.

I founded this small company with the vision of making the world’s best chocolate. Garden Island Chocolate’s goals are to bring to the visitors and local residents of Kauai an organic chocolate bar made from locally grown cacao. This will greatly stimulate the local economy by providing jobs and a viable and sustainable agricultural crop.

As an avid farmer and father I had a dream of sustainability and always looked to the land and sea to support my wife and children. We plant organic gardens to feed our bodies and enrich our souls. Clean healthy organic food, pure untreated water, and pristine ocean air in our opinion is true wealth. I spear fish along the reefs and forage for fruit in the jungle whenever possible. When our first son Makanakai was still a baby we made money by wild-harvesting avocados, coconuts, and bananas and with the help of some friends built a small fruit stand by the side of the road. We camped and lived off the land for years making fires every night, listening to the surf, nurtured by the Aina. This was a blissful and simple time. Living off the land is an education unparalleled by any university.

I spent 9 years in various colleges, traveling the world, receiving my undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Masters in Polynesian/South East Asian Art History from the University of Hawaii. On my extensive travels I delighted in the different regional foods and always visited the local markets. My friends called me a picky eater, I like to think of myself as a gourmet foodie. We eventually moved off the beach into a little house where we promptly put in a garden and had a surplus of produce. I then started selling at the local farmer’s market in Kapaa. We had a Macadamia nut tree and coffee plant on our property and with lots of patience we figured out how to properly process these. I am not even a coffee drinker, but I was determined to make the best coffee I could, and with a little research on the Internet and a $20 Presto Poplite popcorn popper from the local big box store we roasted our coffee perfectly.

A lot of people ask how I got into growing and making chocolate. When I was a kid some of first memories are of my mother using cocoa butter on her skin. I remembered the rich delicious smell and soothing creamy texture and how my skin soaked up the butter and turned a golden brown in the tropical sun. Later on I leaned that cocoa butter melts at the exact temperature of the skin and is the best thing for stretch marks and rejuvenating damaged skin. I can remember my first encounter with a cacao tree while foraging in the jungle on Kauai over ten years ago. I instinctually knew it was a special tree and had a very strong suspicion is was a cacao tree. I had never seen one before and I was compelled to pick one of the bright yellow pods. Believe it or not plants have a consciousness. They are very intelligent and if you ask they will reveal much to you. I cracked open the pod and tasted a seed. It did not taste like chocolate. I left the seeds to dry in my old rusted out island car where they eventually got lost between the seats. So much for my first encounter with cacao seeds. I was always mystified how they got chocolate flavor out of the cacao beans but this mystery was left to incubate in the recesses of my consciousness. Then a few years later while on a vision quest in Waipio valley on the Big Island I met a Kahuna and we got to know each other while working in his ancestral lohi. Next to his hale I noticed a very healthy cacao tree with a few ripe pods. My curiosity was reignited and I tried to roast the fresh beans in a cast iron skillet. Still no chocolate flavor. When I returned to Kauai a friend who lived up the street had two beautiful fruiting cacao trees. She did not know what to do with the pods and I hated to just see them rot so one day she gifted me with a box of pods. I knew this was the universe telling me something.

No one on Kauai was making chocolate so I went back online to do some research. Even with the plethora of information available I was still not able to find out how to make chocolate. I learned that fermenting was a crucial step in the process to develop chocolate flavor and my first few attempts resulted in moldy bug infested beans. In school I leaned a lot of fascinating esoteric knowledge about ancient civilizations, but nothing that would help in my quest to make chocolate. I did develop a skill at research, so I doggedly kept at it, knowing the answer was out there somewhere. The libraries and book stores on Kauai had nothing to help in my research on cacao. Online I started buying chocolate books and amassing a small library, not knowing if the book was going to be useful or not. After a year of searching for old used, out of print and very expensive books I finally found out the techniques for proper fermentation. Now all I had to do was adopt them to the unique climate of Kauai and with a lot of experimentation we did it. And so it went with all the steps in the chocolate making process, until we perfected it.

We have seven different varieties of cacao on Kauai and each one has to be fermented and roasted separately. The pivotal moment came when I was making a batch of 100% Criollo and everything just fell into place. All the steps were implemented just right and the alchemy was magical. The resulting chocolate bar was simply divine. I have a confession to make, I am not a chocoholic. I like chocolate but my annual consumption was rather low. It was determination and unrelenting curiosity that led me to unravel the mysteries of making chocolate. Once I tasted chocolate done right I realized I had been eating inferior low grade chocolate my entire life. It is no wonder I never liked it that much. Now that we grow and make our own I just love it. But too much of a good thing is dangerous. The chemical content and potency of freshly made cacao is very high and often when I am making chocolate I stay up all night with my hand shaking from being overly stimulated. What keeps me going is not the drugs in chocolate (they help) but the fact that there is so much left to learn about this amazing plant. We are in a renaissance of chocolate making. The ancient Mayans and other Mesoamerican cultures were far more advanced in their understanding and use of cacao. We are just scratching the surface in terms of chocolate being used as a medicine and sacrament. After all these centuries we are just beginning to relearn the secrets of chocolate. It is the current slow food, organic, fair trade movement that is facilitating the awareness of where our food is really coming from and how it was treated along the way.

Ultimately the cacao grown on Kauai will become part of a sustainable agricultural crop that will nourish generations to come. Cacao enables us the opportunity to become closer to the land, to understand the complexities of the natural environment and how we fit into the web of life. When each of our sons was born we placed their placentas under a coconut sprout, so the tree will grow strong and provide food for the life of our children. When I die a mango tree will be planted over my body so that the tree will produce sweet fruit and cool shade for my grandchildren.

Enjoy a bite and slowly savor the well-rounded, complex flavor and aroma... taste the Aloha.

Koa Kahili's Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Koa Kahili's Blog

Garden Island Chocolate now has a facebook fan page

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 6:49pm 0 Comments

Garden Island Chocolate invites you to visit our new fan page on facebook, you can see us making Kauai chocolate and Kauai Acai, and all the other fascinating agricultural endeavors like dehydrating bananas, planting cacao trees, harvesting cacao pods, harvesting citrus, miracle berries, etc...

We also have regular contests for free chocolate, and you get to see our exciting research and development for our new chocolate products like truffles, and chocolate covered mac nuts and…

Hawaiian Healing Garden Festival

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 2:22am 1 Comment

Aloha chocolate ohana,

Garden Island Chocolate was recently in the annual Hawaii Healing Garden Festival on Kauai, we won best dessert and the people's choice award for best local food item, a coconut butter truffle. We just started making our own fresh coconut butter and it is amazing, very very rich, creamy and extremely decadent.

we even got some press from the local… Continue

Is Chocolate "Raw"

Posted on November 4, 2008 at 12:16pm 9 Comments

Is Chocolate "Raw"?

Chocolate is a fermented food.

A lot of people have been asking if Garden Island Chocolate is Raw. My answer is, "there is no such thing as Raw chocolate", leads to only more questions, hence this simple blog. The white pulp that surrounds the beans in the pod is most definitely raw and a delicious refreshing treat. The beans eaten straight from the pod are raw but rather bitter and astringent, the health benefits from choking down some wet viable cacao… Continue

The World's Best Chocolate

Posted on October 5, 2008 at 4:05am 4 Comments

what a claim! you might be thinking its just another chocolate fanatic blissed out boasting, full of it, yea right the best chocolate in the world, come on, how can this be, when folks have been making chocolate for centuries, for thousands of years in central america. Yes it is just an opinion, but after many years of R&D working with very talented farmers we have done it. A 100% criollo bar 93% cacao solids that is very sweet and amazing. It is so smooth you can eat a lot of it, but watch… Continue

Comment Wall (19 comments)

You need to be a member of The Chocolate Life to add comments!

Join The Chocolate Life

At 11:11am on December 29, 2009, Kristina said…
Great images, thanks!
I was told by one experienced Maitre chocolatier the chocolate from Hawaii was the best he has tasted so far... I believed him at once and I am sitll a believer :).
I wonder, if some oh your photograph would be available as caption...
At 11:14am on September 8, 2009, Vanessa Barg said…
i would love to trade some bars :)
At 12:29am on April 1, 2009, Tina Tweedy said…
Koa - your images here and on your website are phenomenal and so much great info - thanks for sharing!
At 4:13am on February 3, 2009, Melanie Boudar said…
I'd love to know more about your bars, I get a lot of requests for Hawaiian Chocolate in my store and like to support all of the farmers out there. That red pod picture is awesome!!
At 10:58pm on February 2, 2009, H.C. 'Skip' Bittenbender said…
Did you get a chance to show the old Criollo tree to Chifumi Nagai or Ray Schnell when they were on Kauai a few weeks ago ? If not you can send dried leaves to Chifumi or me and we'll forward to Ray's lab. The red criollo in the picture you sent looks like the one we have on Oahu . Very straight tree. Looks like there are plenty of pods to harvest soon. As for the name it doesn't I don't recognize it.
At 9:26pm on December 17, 2008, Jim said…
I am a cocoa farmer in Brazil and I congratulate you on the excellence of your farms. I am very impressed at the quantity of fruit produced on the young trees.

My wife and I manage a cocoa farm that was established by her father more than 100 years ago and I dream of having cocoa production similar to yours.

What is the size of the farm and what are the ages of the trees displayed in your photos.

Jim Lucas
Floresta Azul Bahia Brazil
At 3:43pm on November 18, 2008, ChocoFiles said…
Hi. Is Garden Island Chocolate available anywhere in O'ahu? More specifically, is there any for sale in or near Kailua?
At 11:11am on November 12, 2008, Jingle said…'samazing Cacao Beans!!! I wonder if the Chocolate you produced was really excellent.... I am a Chocolate Lovers..and i would like to try your chocolate one day soon...i have read as well that you will held a seminars on this coming December..I would like to attend but unfortunately, i am so far and i cannot get my holiday that's December, busy Month for Hotelier.... Thanks
At 7:04pm on November 5, 2008, lexbast said…
At 4:52am on November 2, 2008, Ilana said…
Hi. I put the link to your album on my site. When checking that all was in order, Idiscovered that after a few seconds of barely looking at your album, the page jumps to the homesite of chocolatelife and does not stay on your album. Do you know any other way??

Member Marketplace

Promote TheChocolateLife

Bookmark and Share

Follow Clay on:
Twitter :: @DiscoverChoc
F'Book :: TheChocolateLife
F'Book Group :: LaVidaCocoa :: @DiscoverChoc

© 2014   Created by Clay Gordon.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service