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FOR SALE / BARGAIN / FINE CACAO LIQUOR, COLOMBIA ORIGIN

Enjoy a delicious premium chocolate from the Boyacá region of Colombia, considered among the best in the world. We offer a 200 kilograms lot of pure origin cocoa liquor,  fair trade / ethically sourced. No other ingredients added.

The price for this high quality product is as follows:

1 kg - US$ 13

100 kg - US$ 12 per kilo

200 kg - US$ 11 per kilo

Inquires: equalcolombia@gmail.com

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Chocoa 2017 Prologue


By Clay Gordon, 2017-02-20
Chocoa 2017 Prologue

I am getting ready to head to the airport tomorrow afternoon to travel to Amsterdam for Cocoa 2017.

I am going to be moderating both days of the Chocolate Makers Forum, so part of my preparation is thinking about the program and what my I want to achieve. Last week I had a conversation about the Chocolate Makers Forum program with Caroline Lubbers, one of Chocoa’s main organizers. Some of that discussion was about the wording of the program description and some of it was what the goals of a session might be. We also talked about the speaker list and how the Forum would be moderated.

It took some persuasion (not a whole lot, really, but some) to convince the organizers to let me moderate the entire program.

I don’t know how other people approach their duties as a moderator, but I definitely believe that my roles as a moderator are more than just introducing the speakers and making sure that things move along and stay on time.

My reasons for wanting to moderate the entire program include providing continuity and connection. By being an active participant in each session I can, by interjecting observations and questions, provide a through-line for the entire program. This is especially valuable, at least in my experience, when attendees miss a session for one reason or another, because I can help bridge gaps.

In past program where I have not been the moderator I routinely ask to go last. When that is allowed, almost I never prepare remarks in advance, or if I do, I only fill up half the time. What I do is listen to what has been said and then seek to summarize what I think are the key points as brought up by the other speakers.

As the moderator of the Chocolate Makers’ Forum at Cocoa next week on thing I want to do is get people to think about diversity in a slightly different way by suggesting that all kinds of monocultures, not just agricultural monocultures, are bad ideas.

Examples of possible monocultures in chocolate include monocultures of ideas, production pathways, and even types of chocolate. 

One of the strengths of Chocoa is that it encourages diversity of ideas and does so, in part, by involving actors from every facet of cocoa and chocolate, from farmers to small makers to industrial giants, from banks to brokers to scientists and researchers and sustainability experts to logistics companies and the companies that provide equipment to makers of all sizes. And it does so in the atmosphere of openness and collaboration that has been one of the hallmarks of the extended cocoa and chocolate family (sometimes I find it difficult to use ‘chocolate industry’ in this context, because it’s so much more).

I am looking forward to Chocoa next week and seeing many of you there.

:: Clay

Our second batch!!!


By Coco Queens, 2017-02-08
Our second batch!!!

Our second batch will be made with the same cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic. Our first batch consisted of 60% cocoa and 40% sugar. This time we are using 70% cocoa and 30% sugar. It was a first try at winnowing. We used sylph winnower and assembled it in class. For our first time using the winnower we were pretty successful. Not a lot of shells got onto our bowl.

Buying Chocolate to gift for Valentine’s Day - or any other

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular occasions for gifting chocolate. And, yet, many people pay surprising little attention to what they buy. If it’s in a red, heart-shaped box, and it costs more than $20 it has to be good, right?

Maybe not? Where did you get that box and how much thought did you put into purchasing it? Was it a last minute purchase from a drug store on your way to dinner – because it slipped your mind? If so, it’s not likely to deliver the message or impact you want.

Chocolate is known for its ability to forge strong emotional connections and memories and the best way to gift chocolate, for Valentine’s Day or any other day, is to recognize that and work with it. A nice two-piece box that you thought about can say a lot more than the boxed assortment you picked up in a chain store - even if it’s a chocolate chain store.

Buying chocolate for someone you know

The key point to remember is that the gift is about them, it’s not about you. Never buy something you know the recipient does not like.

Buying a boxed assortment says that you punted on thinking; the choice was more about convenience or quantity or price, not quality. When you walk into the store, go to the case (no case? you are not in the right store), and tell the person behind the counter that you’re buying chocolate for a gift - and that the recipient really likes the following flavors. Then ask what they have that matches what you know the recipient likes. If there are five that might work and the choice is either a four-piece box or a nine-piece box, go for four.

Take your time deciding which four and remember the reasons why you chose the ones you did. Then, when you present the box, tell the story about buying it … being presented with so many options and having to make choices and then connecting your reasons for purchasing with something you know, like, or admire about the person … or connect it to a shared experience.

Or maybe the person you’re gifting to is really adventurous when it comes to eating. A selection that is composed of unusual flavors (which you might not like) could be a big hit as it would acknowledge their desire to explore new flavor combinations.

What you’re doing by selecting a gift this way is showing that you thought about the process and the person who the gift is for - while also revealing what it is about the recipient that either attracts you or that you admire, and you’re looking to establish, or reinforce, a strong emotional connection.

That four-piece box selected with care will get you many more props than a larger boxed assortment – even from the same store — unless, of course, you know that the recipient is a fan of a particular brand of boxed assortment chocolates from childhood. Then by all means gift one of those. What’s important is that the gift reflects your understanding of what the recipient likes and values.

Buying chocolate for someone you don’t know

This advice is mostly for selecting chocolate for someone you’d like to get to know better, and it’s basically the inverse of the advice for buying for someone else.

Approach the case and ask the person behind the counter if they have flavors that are what you like, or that you have a special connection with – maybe something from childhood. Select those and be prepared to tell stories about what the pieces mean to you: why you selected them. By sharing the stories behind the chocolate you tell the recipient a lot about yourself. Hopefully in a way that is totally endearing. This is what you want.

For example, growing up in Southern California, we would gift my mother a box of See’s Victoria English Toffee – a childhood favorite of hers from growing up in LA in the 1920s and 1930s – on Christmas Eve. If I were gifting chocolate to someone I wanted to get to know better I would definitely include a piece of toffee covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with roasted almond pieces and tell a story about the ceremony around gifting the box, my mother unwrapping it, and then sharing the box around so everyone got a piece.

Still don’t know what to gift?

If the gift is for someone you are romantically involved with (or want to declare those intentions) - you simply cannot go wrong by selecting nicely decorated heart-shaped pieces with a filling flavored with passionfruit. Two - one for each of you. And you’ll find that a nice rosé or Prosecco is a tasty pairing.

A great technique when you’re gifting for a boss or other colleague is to go into the store and ask the person behind the case what the most popular items are - what sells best is also often the freshest. You can ask them their favorites, as well, and I sometimes ask to be pointed out a selection that they think represents the best work they do. Pick an unusual flavor - something you might never buy on your own but that is really popular. You could even buy one for yourself (packed separately) and then suggest you both eat the piece at the same time and figure out whether you like it or not.

And in closing ...

Whatever you do, make it fun. If it involves chocolate and you are not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Turn outs


By Coco Queens, 2017-01-24
Turn outs

Okay followers since our last batch we have made amazing progress!!!! OUR CHOCOLATE HAS WENT THOUGH THE WHOLE PROGRESSES AND WE GOT TO TRY IT TODAY!!! attached are some pictures through out of process!!! We had a lot of  fun and our chocolate came out tasting really good Erika didn't like it because she doesn't like dark chocolate!!! but its okay because she still had fun the whole process was fun and we cant wait till next batch!!! we will make it 10X better!!! We as well has a picture of our happy customer (Erika's parents). We want to know what do you guys do to make the temping step easier any tips for us!?!? thank you ahead of time.

(look at our gallery for more pictures!!!) 

XOXO,

Coco Queens 

The Importance of Togetherness.


By Enliveninternational, 2017-01-19

Partnering with other organizations and individuals is not just one step in our process, its the crucial step that keeps us alive. As in the lives of individuals, one would have to live a dismal and uninspired life without relationships. Why would the system look any different for an organization? Our partners, and the relationships that they cultivate, keep our fire burning, so to speak.

Last year we were on the hunt to hire a director of operations for our base in Nicaragua. After many long days of back to back interviews and meetings, we were feeling extremely tired and slightly hopeless. Jonathan was our last interview of them all, and within the hour of meeting him in the lobby of a hostel in rural Nicaragua, we were convinced we had struck gold. A long interview turned into a late dinner where we learned that Jonathan would come as a package deal with his fiance´, Anielka. Yes, we found it difficult to pronounce her name correctly as well, so lets just go with Ani. Ani joined us for dinner and ice cream that same evening, and afterwards we each crashed in bed certain that we had found our new team member, but surprised that we had found friends in them as well.

We spent the next day traveling through Nicaragua together, talking about our hopes for this country and listening to one another’s stories. We learned that Ani and Jonathan had met years beforehand when Jonathan left his life in California behind to move to Nicaragua. Ani grew up in rural Nicaragua with six siblings, all raised by a single mother. When Ani was a teenager she witnessed something no child should ever have to watch, her mothers slow death caused by cervical cancer. In honor of her mother’s life Ani went off to university, a rare opportunity having been raised in such a rural environment, and graduated with training in cervical cancer prevention.

You see, cervical cancer is the number one killer of women in Nicaragua and yet is easily diagnosed as well as treatable. What you have to understand is that Nicaraguan women are generally ignored and rarely given the opportunity to give light to their struggles, needs or desires. This has produced a generation of silent, longing women. Not having the opportunity to get health care, education or treatment, an alarming number of Nicaraguan women are dying, rendering an alarming number of children motherless. Anielka took notice to this, and has started one of the only organizations in Nicaragua that is fighting against this disease. Shortly after graduation, she founded The Lily Project alongside a determined team of doctors with a simple yet revolutionary goal:

To be the most trusted provider of health services for women and girls living in rural communities. Their mission is to prevent cervical cancer for over 200,000 impoverished women in Nicaragua.


Jonathan and Ani have relocated to be closely integrated in La Colonia, a community that enliven and Lily Project work within. Anielka and her Cervical Technician, Hortencia, have officially established a Lily Project base in La Colonia and are providing the women and girls of this village with health education and treatment. Within the first 3 months of The Lily Project in La Colonia, 4 women were identified with pre-cancerous cells and were treated. That means 4 families that wont go mother-less. Education and treatment of this killer disease indeed saves lives, but it also speaks value. The treatment that Lily provides silently speaks, “Your life is worth saving.”



Now with enliven’s help, the same women of La Colonia who once had little community are coming together as an organized unit and choosing to change the culture of La Colonia. They have started the first ever organized women’s group, with their own goal, to better their community and the future of their children. So far, they have established their first project, purchasing and reselling clothing at affordable prices to the community at large. This project has allowed the women to begin to work alongside each other while answering the critical need for clothing in a way that keeps scarce funding in the community.

PARTNERSHIPS PROMOTE ORGANIZATION, AND WELL ORGANIZED COMMUNITIES ARE IMMENSELY MORE DETERMINED AND STEADFAST.


Enliven is determined to create sustainable work and added value to the women and men of La Colonia. Lily is determined to promote abundant life in the lives of women and girls. Two organizations working along side each other to support the community’s goals and future. It isn’t the projects that make what we do worth it, its the relationships. It’s Anielka and Jonathan, Hortencia, the farmers such as Harving and Jairo, their children, and the women of La Colonia.

WE WANT TO BE AN ORGANIZATION THAT READILY ACCEPTS THAT WE CAN’T GO AT IT ALONE. TO LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT WHAT A PARTNERSHIP WITH ENLIVEN LOOKS LIKE, CLICK HERE.

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Poverty Isn't Pathetic.


By Enliveninternational, 2017-01-19
Poverty Isn't Pathetic.

When thinking of poverty in direct terms of a person’s (or a nation’s) livelihood, we generally call to mind starving refugee children, squalid living conditions, unprevented preventable diseases, seemingly incapable people, and a routine feeling of guilt. Guilt that perhaps we are not directly assisting those impoverished nations well enough, and if we are – why are the statistics about those living in poverty still paralyzingly huge?

There is a constant murmuring in the general public when speaking about charitable giving that says “We are not doing enough. We are obviously not doing enough.” or “We are doing too much.”

Two Arguments


There are two highly contrasting yet valid arguments here, but I’ll allow people that are much smarter than me do the talking. Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University argues that foreign aid is key because

“IT CAN KICK-START A VIRTUOUS CYCLE BY HELPING POOR COUNTRIES INVEST IN CRITICAL AREAS AND MAKE THEM MORE PRODUCTIVE.”



 

On the other hand William Easterly from Columbia University contrasts that “Aid does more bad than good: It prevents people from searching for their own solutions, while corrupting and undermining local institutions and creating a self-perpetuating lobby of aid agencies. The best bet for poor countries is to rely on one simple idea: When markets are free and the incentives are right, people can find ways to solve their problems.”

So, is there no middle ground here? Is it possible to merge these two solid arguments to create an influential force against poverty? Or shall it always be a warring choice between not helping, and avoiding dependency or helping and avoiding poverty but risking a myriad of generations dependent on outside aid and unable to problem solve themselves?

Overwhelming, yes? Lets take a step back. We enter a crippling zone when thinking about the poverty trap in terms of millions of unseen faces instead of just people. People that are stuck in dreadful circumstances and yes, they need help and money. But these people that make up the overwhelming statistics need us charitable givers to speak to their value as a people group as well as our skills and money. When thinking of poverty, all of those things listed above sure are huge factors. But what about these thousands, millions, of people that operate with the mindset that they don’t deserve to be freed from poverty? What about lack of cultural worth? Value and worth may sound like emotionally flippant concerns but the lack of value and worth in people is as constant a variable in impoverished communities as economic dread.

When we walk into poverty stricken places and say “Here is money, do this or that with it”, we are communicating lack of trust in the fact that these people have minds of their own. Thus, communicating that we are much smarter than them. Thus creating dependency.

But what if we looked less at statistical graphs and looked straight into the eyes of an impoverished person and asked, “What do you need? What do you dream of? Where do you want this money to go?” What an abundance of value that would speak to the mindset of these fatigued cultures. Philosopher Peter Singer from Princeton University points out that the majority of us would jump into a shallow pond to save a drowning child, then says that everyone with the ability to do so should help a little to prevent the thousands of child deaths occurring every day in the growing world. Essentially, none of us would decide against saving the child in order to teach them a lesson about how to swim. YET, once that child has been rescued a valuable second step might be to invest in swimming lessons. Go to Singer’s website www.thelifeyoucansave.com to learn more about what they do.

We must break the belief that lack of resources speaks directly to a person’s value.


We have the ability to give greatly, yes. But we also must harness our ability to speak to the destitute and say, “You are worth wading in the pond for. You are worth investing in. Your situation is miserable but you are not.” This is not to say that a few words of encouragement will terminate poverty and all of its traps. We are not “off the hook” by hoarding our resources as long as we speak nicely to those in need. As an organization we believe in both. We believe in investing in people and we believe in empowering them to believe that they are worth investing in, thus creating a culture of autonomy. We have seen people that were once trapped set free simply because we believed in investing in them, and they learned to believe it as well.

Our First Batch!!!!


By Coco Queens, 2017-01-18
Our First Batch!!!!

We are a group of high school girls from Aurora Colorado.

We are making our first batch of chocolate.

1.What do you guys do to make the batch what you would call"perfect"

2.What are good tips for making the batch?

3. what was the hardiest  part that you think is during the process?

Thank you for the help before hand!!!

xoxo,

Coco Queens

Nature vs Nurture in Cocoa


By Clay Gordon, 2017-01-14
Nature vs Nurture in Cocoa

There is a lot of discussion and interest on this point: what are the contributions of genetics, terroir, and post-harvest processing when it comes to the flavor of cocoa (and how chocolate gets its taste).

Let’s conduct a thought experiment to examine the complexity of looking for answers.

Imagine that you have the ability to plant grafted seedlings from the same mother tree on 1Ha of land in two very different locations - different altitudes, different soils, different rain and wind patterns, different slopes so even the pattern of the sun is different. These differences related to place are what we think of as terroir.

We would imagine - and would expect based on our experience with other crops - that the fresh cocoa beans, and maybe event the fresh pulp, would taste different. The genetics of the tree are modified by the terroir.

However, we don’t eat fresh cocoa beans as a general rule. They are fermented. In order to test the relative contributions of genetics, terroir, and post-harvest processing we need to control for all of the variables.

Going back to the above scenario with exactly the same genetics planted in two different places.

If the post-harvest practices between the two places are different - the resulting beans will taste different. And even if the post-harvest practices are substantially the same, differences in the presence and relative dominance of yeast and bacteria strains play a part in flavor development. What’s the more important contributing factor here? Genetics? Terroir (and this includes microbiology, not just factors we can see and taste and experience physically)? Fermentation? Drying?

To find out, it is necessary to be able to control fermentation and drying precisely enough to be able to understand their influences. And this means applying science, rigorously.

Based on my experience working with Ingemann in Nicaragua and with Zoi Paplexandratou on my project down in Mexico, it is possible to take the same genetics and terroir and generate very different flavors consistently. You can see this in the Friis-Holm double turn and triple-turn Chunos. The same variety and the same overall length of fermentation, the primary difference is that one pile gets turned twice and another gets turned three times. Ingemann has expanded on this concept and now markets Chunos (i.e., the same genetics) with six different flavor profiles. The differences are created by differences in fermentation protocols, which are in turn driven by an understanding of the microbiology and chemistry underlying what’s going on. And, our understanding of fermentation is much better developed than drying.

And this is before we event start talking about other confounding factors, one of which is the presence of other varieties of cacao within pollination range - now known to be 3km. If the varieties close to one of the two areas are different from the varieties in the other, then there is the possibility that differences in pollination could be a part of the difference in flavor. Is that genetics? Terroir? What? Another confounding factor is the introduction of tailored cultures. (BTW, everything that Ingemann is doing in production is done with naturally-present yeasts and bacteria not the introduction of cultures.)

In some places, “pre-fermentation” techniques are implemented. One such technique is resting pods between harvesting and opening. In other places, “pre-drying” techniques are implemented. One such technique is to put the beans in sacks after fermentation is complete and letting them sit in the sacks overnight. IMO this is another fermentation step, not a drying step because there is little to no moisture loss in the beans and temperatures in the center of the bag may still be elevated.

In my mind, it’s impossible to say reliably that beans of the same genetics grown in different places will have the same basic flavor profile ... unless the basic microbiology and post-harvest protocols are substantially the same. The same genetics, planted in different places, subject to different post-harvest processes should have recognizable differences in flavors (that will result in chocolate with different flavors even when processed substantially the same way).

I am working on a project proposal for #CacaoMEX in Central America right now (ahoritita!) and one sub-project is to run an in-situ test with the same variety (grafted monoculture) in different locations to increase our understanding of the nature/nurture question as it applies to cocoa.

Posted in: CacaoMEX | 0 comments


By Vercruysse Geert, 2016-12-21
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