Dark - 70% (different origins)
Dark Milk - hint of salt
What if you could just pour some cocoa nibs and sugar into one machine and let a magic, personal chocolate-making machine do all the work, including grinding the nibs and sugar into chocolate, and tempering and molding?
Well, this might become a reality sooner than you'd think. I spoke to CocoTerra (Palo Alto, CA) Chief Operating Officer, Karen Alter, recently about a new chocolate making machine they've been developing. (Photo of machine at right from CocoTerra website.)
CocoTerra is not a traditional chocolate maker. A small team of Silicon Valley engineers, designers, and others have come up with a promising design for a countertop machine that will make bean-to-bar chocolate in a few hours.
In the true Silicon Valley inventor spirit, influences on this patent-pending design may have included coffee machines/appliances, multi-function culinary devices, and beekeeping.
Sounds almost too good to be true, right?
I was given two small bags of chocolate samples to try. I did not see the CocoTerra machine, or how these samples were made. However, they were better than expected. The pieces were in different shapes (likely made with different molds).
The different single origin dark chocolate pieces tasted like they might have been Ecuador or Peru or DR grown cacao-based chocolates. The dark milk had a slightly savory (salt) aroma and flavor and a thick texture, as did the white chocolate. The white chocolate also contained vanilla, and was better than most commercial white chocolates.
CocoTerra's take on ruby* chocolate was a pretty pink color, and had cacao fermentation and light red berry notes. It was not overly sweet (thank you).
I was also given a small, jumbo pearl-shaped coffee-flavored "ball" to taste (they're experimenting with different molds, forms and shapes), that was a very pleasing sweet coffee confection.
I asked if this machine could make 100% cacao chocolate (1 or 2 ingredient bars). The answer was yes, although initially they'll be providing supply kits and supplies, and providing customers "recipes" to help ensure correct proportions and optimal results.
No formal launch date (or pricing) have been announced yet, but CocoTerra does have a website, where you can go to check out intriguing details.
Who Might Use a Personal Chocolate Making Machine?
This might be particularly interesting for those who want to run smaller test batches of craft chocolate (to validate a certain origin, or fermentation or roast profile), or for chocolatiers wanting to broaden their offerings to customers.
Last but not least, this may be popular (depending on price point) for home hobby chocolate makers.
Thank you to Karen Alter for providing these chocolate samples and for answering questions about how their machine might work. Look forward to hearing more details about their machine soon.
*Ruby chocolate was introduced in 2017 by Belgian-Swiss chocolate company, Barry Callebaut as a new type of chocolate. An attractive deep pink color, the details of how this "new" chocolate type was created were not revealed by Callebaut.