Saw the article in N&O about Raleigh factory, I'm very excited about having a full operation in town and can't wait for a tour. Let me know if you need the factory photographed for your marketing collateral.
I was reading your comments in the "Startup" section and very much impressed with your systems approach. I would like to have a brief history regarding your business. A general time line for when you began the process and how long before you were up and running.
I am a cacau producer in Brazil and like most producers are slowly growing old and poorer. We have received proposals from a chain of huge shopping centers in Sao Paulo Brazil (20 million)to mount a series of bean to bar operations. This would solve a great deal of my problems as the primary problem with our cacau production is getting it to N. American and European markets. Although our superior quality bean prices are acceptable to bean to bar operations, the shipping cost and hassle of exporting are monumental.
You may also want to take a look at our beans the next time you head out on a bean shopping spree. Although our annual production is only on the order of 60 metric tons, it is rated Superior+ and very well managed.
Your story would be very much appreciated in helping us conclude whether to "bar" or not.
Hmm... would I would love to be added to your mailing list about when the transition happens. I'm not a huge fan of El Rey and your bar seemed night and day different in structure from what I've had by El Rey.
Yeah, I figured it was something like, hence the comment about what makes sense. As your comments in the Re-melter thread, I too really understand the joys of limited start-up capital. Sacrafices must be made, though I am excited to hear that you are moving toward phasing out extrenal couverture.
I am curious, which coucerture do you currently use? Your chocolate seem quite discrete from any bulk chocolate that I've tried. (At the same time, I think you have one of my favorite melts that I've found in a small batch bar.)
I was able to try your 78% Carenero the other day during an expensive trip to Fog City. I've never had your product before so I have no idea how this compares to past... but if this was any indication, I'm a big fan.
I was disappointed to read that you typically buy couverture for your other products. This is a shame when you have such a great and unique product on hand, but I guess you gotta do what makes sense to do.
Hal: Glad to hear the bar I have is bean-to-bar! Another TCL member (Jay Olins) picked it up for me at Fog City News. I have yet to try it though. I plan to fit it in a comparitive tasting with some friends once I decide on the theme. Hopefully soon, as I'm looking forward to trying it. Regardless of what my perceptions of your bar may be when I try it, I will wish you success in your bean-to-bar venture. Brady
Hal: I recently read your reply to Olorin back in May about early batches of your bars being made from couverture. I have a bar of your Occumare from Batch #4. The label indicates bean-to-bar. Please verify this for me. Thanks, Brady
I also have a question, on the American bean to bar thread you said, "When our made from the bean bar comes out next month, it will be available in the shop and through our website only". I'm wondering about the bars you currently offer. Are they also bean to bar too?