BETTER BEANS MAKE BETTER CHOCOLATE: TCHO’S EFFORTS IN QUALITY DEVELOPMENT

In 2008, we installed the first TCHO Flavor Lab, a bean-to-bar lab with the basic equipment needed to turn cacao beans into cocoa liquor and chocolate.
November 30, 2021
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The very first chocolates made by TCHO were a collection of single-origin dark chocolate bars featuring the distinct flavor profiles found naturally in each origin’s cacao beans. We quickly found that crafting these chocolates was more than a little difficult to source cacao consistently from one harvest to the next with a specific flavor profile.  Some of the biggest challenges we faced were:

  1. Cacao producers not roasting and tasting their cacao beans.  Producers generally follow industry standards of rating the quality of the cacao beans based solely on the physical attributes of the beans. This form of quality control prevents the worst defects (mold) but does nothing to illuminate the flavor profile of the cacao.
  2. All the cacao beans gathered by cooperatives from their members were being processed in the same way without consideration for the flavor nuances in the beans.
  3. The standardization of producing and processing of cacao made it unclear which factors (like genetics, fermentation time, drying time, terroir) were the leading influencers of certain flavors.  Treating all cacao beans as though they are the exact same makes it very difficult to intentionally draw out positive flavor notes that develop during cultivation and/or post-harvest processes. 

RECIPES MADE BY PASTRY CHEF JESSICA