• Ceremonial Cacao
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    Ceremonial Cacao

    What is ceremonial cacao? To tell you the truth we really don’t know. A lot of the pieces are missing from the puzzle. We only have the first hand accounts and records of the Spanish explorers and missionaries who first encountered the indigenous tribes/cultures of the Americas. Cacao was widely used throughout central and south America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Historians and anthropologists think cacao was first consumed as a fermented alcoholic beverage using the pulp from the cacao pod. Over time through trial and error the seeds/beans were elevated to a sacrilegious status. Some research suggests cacao was at first only reserved for high priests. Priests and priestesses…

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    Cold Brew Coffee with a Kick

    I finally got around to stopping into one of the best local coffee roasters in Tucson. I first stumbled upon Exo Roast Co in Edible Baja (a local foodie magazine) a few years back. This was before cold brew coffee was part of the common vernacular it is today. They were ahead of their time, pioneering the coffee movement in Tucson. Fast forward to today and cold brew is now center stage, at least in the hot southwestern desert. The product that caught my eye was none other than their Chiltepin cold brew. There are only 3 ingredients: chiltepin pepper, dark chocolate, and cream. This beverage might be a little spicy for your average…

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    How to make average chocolate

    Don’t ship your work. Don’t open your work to criticism. Don’t listen to customers. Don’t try to learn or improve. Try to please everyone. Copy what everyone else is doing. Do what has worked for others and yourself in the past. Make all your business decisions based on profit. Resist change.

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    Similarities between Chocolate & Crack

    I listed to a great podcast the other day on one of the most notorious drug dealers of the 20th century: Rick Ross. He built the largest crack cocaine empire in American history. He did business in every major city throughout the US for over a decade. For those who don’t are familiar with crack, it is a smokeable form of cocaine, that came into the underground marketplace during the 1980’s. Dealers typically purchase large amounts of cocaine (powder) by the key (1 kilogram) and process in-house. Processing typically involves baking soda and/or ammonia and heat. Often adulterants are added such as laundry detergent, laxatives, boric acid, talcum powder, and other stuff you don’t…

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    Small Batch Chocolate

    What is small batch chocolate? Ask anyone who is in the industry and they will each tell you a different answer. We have many things we both agree and disagree in practice, but in reality we share more similarities than differences. We all share a similar vision of fashioning and bringing into existence something better and more in tune with Nature. Making chocolate is no small task. Somedays I wish I was a chocolatier, but I know I am only fooling myself. I have to honestly say this is the hardest endeavor I have thus far pursued in life. I foolishly thought at the onset this would be a quick easy task and take no time at all to learn. It…

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    Rediscover Cacao for Health & Nutrition

    Forget everything you know about cacao (chocolate). For better or worse, corporations have taught us largely everything we have come to know about chocolate. When we hear the word chocolate, what comes to mind? We often have nostalgic thoughts and images of Hershey’s chocolate and/or hot chocolate (cocoa powder). Both of these products are a relatively new creation born only recently within the last 187 years during the height of the industrialized age. The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 opened the door to new products with long stable shelf lives that could be brought to the masses. Prior to the industrialized age and throughout recorded history cacao (chocolate)…

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    The First Wave of Chocolate

    What do you know about this history of chocolate? For many of us, it is a convoluted story we have been told by large multinational corporations to make us buy products. If you want to really learn about the true history of chocolate and its implications on how it can improve your life then keep reading. To start we need to look back at where it all started: Central America/South America. Archaeological evidence points to cacao usage with a few key indigenous peoples: the Olmec, Aztecs, and the Mayans. It is important to look at how they used cacao. One of the primary ways of consuming cacao was as follows: grind roasted cacao beans to…

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    Arizona Craft Chocolate

    Can you find local craft chocolate in Arizona? Tree-to-bar, Bean-to-bar, Seed-to-bar, Farm-to-bar? Yes. Phoenix and Sedona are at the top of the list. We surprisingly have a handful of artisans spread throughout the state. I will make every attempt to keep this list up-to-date, but I will also need your help, so feel free to email me for anyone I might be missing. PHOENIX: Stone Grindz: First authentic artisan chocolate maker in Phoenix that stone grinds all their chocolate in-house Origins: Ecuador (Camino Verde– company verifies heirloom genetics of cacao plants) Organic and raw ingredients Nutwhats: Established confectioner since 1999 focusing on nut confections and single origin bean-to bar-chocolate Origins: Dominican Republic, Ecuador,…

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    Morning Ritual

    My perfect way to greet the day is with a cup of coffee. But not just any cup of coffee. Through trial and error I have learned how to create one of the most nutritious and cognitively stimulating meals.The first ingredient is coffee. It has numerous benefits, but not all coffee is created equal as I have unfortunately come to learn (disclaimer: I am a coffee snob). I will explore coffee more in-depth in a future blog. In a nutshell, look for single-origin and beans that are as close to fully washed as possible. I prefer to roast my own beans, which anyone can do with nothing more than a popcorn…

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    Cacao (Cocoa) Pricing & Trading in the Markets

    Cocoa futures and options are traded on two exchanges:  ICE Futures U.S. (ICE) exchange and London NYSE-LIFFE exchange ICE FUTURES (ICE): US Trading Symbol : CC Contract Size: 10 metric tons (20,000 lbs) Price Quotation: US dollars per metric tons Daily Price Limit: None Minimum Price Movement: $1.00/metric ton, equivalent to $10 per contract Contract Listings: March, May, July, September, December Deliverable Growths: The growth of any country or clime, including new or yet unknown growths. Growths are divided into three classifications. Group A-Deliverable at a premium of $160/ton (including main crops of Ghana, Lome, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone). Group B-Deliverable at a premium of $80/ton (includes Bahia, Arriba, Venezuela,Sanchez among…