Once the cacao beans arrive in our kitchen, we hand sort every bag and inspect the beans for their quality. We cut, taste, roast, and taste again in the process of choosing the beans we use. It’s labor intensive, but we love the work we do and know that in the end, our final product will be that much better for the extra attention to detail.
The beans are slowly and gently roasted to reduce bitterness and bring out the natural flavors and characteristics of the bean. Different origins require different temperatures and roast times. We carefully monitor each roasting along the way to ensure proper levels of humidity, and superior aroma, and taste.
Following roasting, the beans are cooled, cracked and winnowed. Winnowing is the process of removing the shells or husks from around the bean. A vacuum is used to draw the husk away leaving the cacao nib, which is the base ingredient for making chocolate.
Grinding & Conching
Our cacao nibs are stone ground into a paste or chocolate liquor. Later, organic sugar is added in small amounts and thoroughly blended with the chocolate to release and enhance the natural flavor and aroma profile of the beans. Our tour participants giggle with joy as they pass our grinder where the air is rich with the delicious aroma of chocolate.
Our chocolate is shelved and aged for up to 3 weeks as the tannins and flavors mature. Aging chocolate is an unrefined science, but we know from many personal taste tests that the flavor of our chocolate changes as the chocolate is allowed to age, similarly to the way the flavors of wine mature and shift as they are aged.
After the aging process is completed, the chocolate is melted and tempered through cooling and warming to the perfect temperature, creating even crystallization of the ingredients. Tempering is an art which gives chocolate its smooth, creamy texture and crisp snap when broken.
The tempered chocolate is scooped into our bar molds. Our specialty partner bars have inclusions (coffee, fruit, spices, etc.) from Kauai growers and businesses. Once cooled and solidified, the chocolate is gently removed from the molds.
Our finished bars are hand wrapped in gold foil for easy access and rewrapping. You may choose to eat the entire bar and rewrapping isn’t necessary. Once wrapped, the bars are placed in an envelope for storage and reuse.
This step happens before, during and after every batch of chocolate we make. If you come to meet us, you’ll do a lot of this. Much like wine-tasting, chocolate tasting has pleasurable subtleties that change as the seconds pass. We’ll help you to name and appreciate each.