It’s been about 8 months since we starting playing around with chocolate. And in that time, we’ve collected quite a bit of equipment, tools, and ingredients that now fill an entire area of our apartment. We like to call that area our Chocolate Factory.
We started with just a bag of cocoa beans from the Grand Central Market in LA and some white cane sugar. From our very first coffee grinder to the old fashioned grain mill to the melanger we use today, we’ve gone through more than a few iterations of our process.
I’d like to show off a little about our current set-up, in the hopes that it will be useful to other chocolate-makers or aspiring chocolate-makers out there!
Let’s start with our documentation board. Here’s where we keep track of our batch sizes, temperatures, and results. We also keep a list of interesting R&D ideas that come to mind.
Then we have our new peg board system that Richard built from Home Depot parts, where we store tools like thermometers, spatulas, molds, and safety goggles. We’re also intending to try out a new storage method for our finished chocolate. The Rubbermaids are drying out after an initial cleanse before we stuff them with chocolate bars! And finally, the beautiful homemade quartz table is for tempering.
Here we have our current chocolate storage system. Have I mentioned we’re in the market for a wine fridge? We realize this method isn’t quite sustainable at our rate of churning out delicious chocolate bars!
What’s a chocolate factory without some fun decorations? Check out our map, where we intend to document the origins of the chocolate we’re producing. And this is our awesome cocoa bean bag given to us by John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy, when we visited Eugene last month.
Here’s our fun bean cooling station, handmade by engineer Richard. I’m excited to use this for our next batch!
Our shelves full of tools, beans, and documentation, are topped by our beautiful Premier Wonder Grinder, one of the key pieces of equipment in our process. We also have a gorgeous marble display slab, which we bring to parties to show off our different varieties.
Our winnower, still very much a work in progress, has developed since the last time I photographed it. We now have an additional entrance spout and a much stronger shopvac than our home vacuum. Hold onto your horses, because a guest post from the engineer will provide more detail on the winnower soon!
And last but not least, a good chocolate factory must provide inspiration and guidance to its chocolate-makers. Take a look at our chocolate library to see what we’re reading these days. The books lean heavily toward entrepreneurship & chocolate science!
Here are a few of our favorites:
- The Chocolate Tasting Kit (Tasting Kits), Eagranie Yuh
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams
- Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate, Pam Williams & Jim Eber
- Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup, Bill Aulet
- The Science of Chocolate, S. T. Beckett
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), Timothy Ferriss
- The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone With a Passion for Chocolate, Chloe Doutre-Roussel
- Discover Chocolate: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate, Clay Gordon
- Small Business Management (yes, the textbook)
What does your chocolate factory look like? As I’ve mentioned before, even if your factory is just a coffee grinder and paint scraper, you’re a chocolate-maker in the making!