The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Friday afternoon I still had a few hours to kill. So I paid $30 for a tour company to supply me with a driver who spoke minimal English. Fortunately, Iva and Dani (president of the company that hosted my talks) came along, so communication was not an issue. We drove around in the Yogyakarta area, where there are mostly smallholders growing a variety of crops: vanilla, cloves, cocoa, rice, and bananas.

Cloves drying. They are green, unopened flowers, that are spread out to dry for 3 days. The first day, they're green, the second day, tan, and the third day dark brown.

Vanilla vine. It's in the orchid family. The woman who is growing the vine right alongside the road had just picked all the vanilla beans the day before.

A cocoa grower standing next to her pickings. She had a small grove of trees. In Indonesia, they don't bother to ferment the beans. That and the fact that they are Forastero, produces a very mild-tasting chocolate.

Closeup of drying beans. One has been split open and you can see that it's purple on the inside--a characteristic of the Forastero beans.

Right next door was a small cocoa depot. There are no locks on any doors, as people are completely honest and would never steal each others' crops or products.

Our driver shows how farmers get their beans to the depot.

We drove on farther and our driver found this woman and her daughter to pick a pod for us...

The girl tries to pull a pod out of the tree but proves unable to split one open. She ran across the street to get her mother...

Her mother took a long stick outfitted with a knife at the end and cut a pod down.

Her mother split the pod open with a knife to show the seeds. Typically, there are 30-40 seeds in a pod.

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