Venezuelan batch

Last week, we made a batch of chocolate from some very special beans. They are Carupano Corona from Venezuela, 2014. The Chocolate Alchemist describes them as “Criollo/Trinitario with clove and soft fruity high notes and very low bitterness.”

And the exciting part – John Nanci roasted them right there in his workshop with us watching (and smelling) on! In his homemade roaster with temperature gauges inside the drum roaster and in the oven itself, these beans smelled amazing. I’ll write another post just on his roasting style and tricks, but for now, suffice it to say that it was quite an experience!

John Nanci's homemade roaster

John Nanci’s homemade roaster

With these beans that Richard describes as spiced, we’ve made our most recent batch of chocolate. Since we brought them back from Oregon in our suitcases (we’re shocked that TSA did not even double check our bags full of cocoa beans), they had almost 5 days to cool after being roasted in Eugene. We used the winnower Richard has been working on (guest post to come soon) with a slightly lower vacuum power and ended up with an incredibly 80% yield of nibs! We did a little hand sorting after roasting, which resulted in this beautiful picture (if I do say so myself!).

Venezuelan cocoa nibs

Venezuelan cocoa nibs

We put the 802 grams of nibs into the Premier Wonder Grinder at 7:45pm on Wednesday night and added 283 grams of sugar as soon as the nibs had taken their liquid form. Thanks for the advice in your comments, Dave and Olivier and Ritual Chocolate! The grinder ran overnight, smelling delicious and creating that white noise that puts us to sleep.

Thursday evening, we added the two new ingredients – soy lecithin (0.9 grams) and cocoa butter (50 grams) – and waited another hour and a half before pulling out the chocolate to temper. With these ingredients, our final chocolate is 75% cocoa mass + cocoa butter, assuming a 50% cocoa butter content in the beans themselves. See more on our two new ingredients here.

Venezuelan chocolate liquor - yum!

Venezuelan chocolate liquor – yum!

Tempering is now the trickiest part. I brought the temperature up to 128 in the microwave, then lowered it to 122 by stirring continuously before pouring it onto our tempering table. I agitated the liquor (which was quite liquidy) for maybe 5-10 minutes while it dropped in temperature. It dropped to 82 on the tempering table and I raised it quickly to 90 with just a few seconds in the microwave. Then, I poured the liquor out into the molds, filling them faster than we’ve done before and shaking them by hand to raise all the tiny air bubbles.

bloomed Venezuelan chocolate

bloomed Venezuelan chocolate

The final product – 947 grams of 75% Venezuelan chocolate! The final taste is amazing – almost savory with the fruity spicey flavor of the beans coming through and the mellow earthy tones from the cocoa butter. The texture is crisp and smooth – no grains and with a solid break. Visually is where we’re still having issues. As I mentioned earlier in the week, the lecithin and cocoa butter did not prevent the white swirls of fat bloom from occurring. I felt great about getting the temperatures right the first time.

Final Venezuelan chocolate

A challenge to the small scale chocolate makers of the world… what do you recommend? The one who provides the tip(s) that results in successfully tempered and bloom-less chocolate gets a prize!*

*exact prize TBD, but it might just be a shipped sample of our finished chocolate of your choice!

9 thoughts on “Venezuelan batch

  1. FYI, for the cacao percentage, you add the liquor and butter together. I would love it if chocolate makers put percentages of butter separate from liquor, but that is the way it is.

    I was getting inconsistent results table tempering and use a pound and half chocovision machine that does the trick. I did get a lesson from Hakan at Fika Chocolate when I needed to do 50 lbs. a day or more, and ended up getting a 50 lb. Savage Brothers instead.

    What he did was pour about 5-10 lbs. of melted chocolate out of his melter into a plastic container rather than metal. He also placed the plastic container on a towel rather than directly on the marble..

    Anywhere from 115-118 degrees is good to break up the crystals. The Alchemist John does a nice job of explaining how the crystals all come back together as the temperature lowers. I never use a microwave but double boilers for smaller amounts. Just make sure you have a towel handy to wipe off the bottom of the bowl when you pull it off the boiler.

    He then stirred it for a bit before pouring two thirds on the table and working it. He used his upper lip to decide when the temperature was low enough. He was very anti-thermometer and wanted me to learn by feel. Then poured, pushed it back with the remaining third and stirred again for a while, did a test, and then molded it. He had me do it 10 or times and seemed easy with him at my side. I have read and watched videos on youtube where various methods are used.

    From reading your previous posts, the filled molds need to go into the refrigerator after you tap them for around a half hour to an hour depending on your molds.

  2. @thomasforbes
    Great post with good description of the the tempering process.
    Not much more to add .

    Tips :
    1)I do suggest to try the double boiler.You’ll find chocolate melts almost as fast.
    It’s my prefered method and also handy to have a gentle heat source on hand to keep the chocolate at temp.
    2) I do not recommend microwave (no heat control) or glass bowls (holds heat too long)
    3) Use SS bowls and triangle… metal transmit heat faster and gives better temp control. All bowls in tempering units are metal for that reason.
    4) Cooling … yes please! 15 minutes in the refrigerator should do it.
    longer if silicone or cheap pvc (floppy) moulds.

    As it is cold and snowing today, I was thinking of keeping warm by trying the Jamaican beans I got a while back after I finish my new test batch of gingerbread spiced Bolivian dark milk.
    Have a great weekend, guys!

  3. You gotta admit though, the bloom streaks on top of a few of your bars are beautiful! I second Olivier’s comment about 15 mins in the refrigerator. I tend to leave my molds (polycarbonate from Tomric) in the fridge between 15-20 mins at most. I have actually had condensation problems when I forgot about the molds and they were in there much longer. NOTE: I’m talking about my home refrigerator (i.e. temp about 43 F) not a wine refrigerator (temp about 60 F).

  4. Hm, thanks for the feedback! I’m noting the refrigerator idea after the chocolate has been poured into the molds. If that’s the trick that does it, Thomas, you’ll be our winner! Next experiment will be Olivier’s double boiler idea (though we don’t have a double boiler, so we’ll need to make a small investment!). Thanks again for the comments and stay tuned for our next batch!

  5. I second Dave’s suggestion of the refrigerator to stop the bloom. My bars came out pretty similar to yours until I started putting them in the fridge which solved the problem instantly. I usually leave mine in for about 10 minutes, not wanting to risk longer since it could cause condensation when you take them out.

    I also picked up a cheap humidity sensor that I place on my fridge and I try to temper on days below 50% just to decrease potential issues.

    Great blog by the way 🙂

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