To purchase chocolate in the U.S. visit Mindo Chocolate Makers our artisan chocolate making business in the U.S. visit: http://mindochocolate.com/shop
Tours 7 days per week at El Quetzal de Mindo
in Mindo, Ecuador 4:00 pm or by appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindo Chocolate Makers
We make chocolate from the cacao bean to the bar which is unusual as there are only a small number of artisan chocolate makers in the U.S. who make chocolate from the bean, but this is growing quickly, 10 years ago there were only a handful of companies who made chocolate from the bean in the U.S.
Our goal is to produce the best tasting chocolate while maintaining high ethical standards. We control the quality of our chocolate by following the process carefully from the moment the bean comes out of the pod. We are constantly striving to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly company that pays a fair wage and treats employees and suppliers fairly.
We are helping small chocolate makers to have access to high quality beans. We sell Nacional whole raw beans, roasted cocoa nibs and cocoa liquor for chocolate making. We also offer chocolate making classes and internships.
Information about our chocolate- Why does our chocolate taste so good?
We sell single-origin Chocolate made from what are considered to be "flavor" beans. The variety we use is known for having the best flavor of all varieties of cacao.
Cacao originated in the Amazon basin. The cacao tree varieties that we find here in Ecuador are called Nacional or criollo and are considered to be of the highest quality flavor cocoa beans. The Nacional variety primarily grows in Ecuador. The majority of the cacao in the world are hybrids designed to grow small, easy to harvest, highly productive trees. Unfortunately, flavor was not considered in the design of hybrids.
Our cacao is shade grown. The cacao trees grow intermixed with other plants and trees promoting midge population (cacao pollinators) and also maintains habitat for birds and other animals.
We purchase the beans only from select cocoa pods. Choosing only the best condition pods ensures the best flavor chocolate. We then take them to our property in Mindo, Ecuador where we ferment and dry the beans. We control the fermentation process that is critical for developing the smoothest, best flavored chocolate. We also make sure that the beans are not exposed to any contaminants.
The price paid per pound for cocoa beans is comparable to or better than Fair Trade prices. The farms where we get our cocoa beans are part of a cooperative of small family farmers. They care about their land, the environment and their cacao and are not sprayed with any pesticides and no artificial fertilizers are used, the cooperative is ECOCERT organic certified and are in the process of getting UTZ: La certificacion de la Asociacion Agropecuaria Artesanal.
All Cacao Processing Is Done By Mindo Chocolate Makers
We do all of the chocolate making, from the cacao beans right out of the pod to the finished chocolate bars
We make sure the beans get out of the pod quickly and go directly to our facility in Mindo, Ecuador where the cocoa beans are fermented for six days in special fermentation boxes and dried for approximately 6- 21 days, depending on the weather.
The beans are also roasted, ground to nibs and winnowed at our Mindo (or Dexter, Michigan) facility.
The cocoa nibs or dried raw cocoa beans are next shipped from Mindo to our kitchen in Dexter, Michigan, where they are made into chocolate, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. We also make chocolate in Mindo for our restaurant and visitors there.
All of our chocolate bars are handmade and chocolates are hand dipped
We use our own cocoa beans to make the cocoa butter that we add to our chocolate and we use the same beans that are used to make the chocolate. We do not use soy lecithin or any other additives in our chocolate.
The only ingredients that we use to make our 77% chocolate bars are ground cocoa beans, organic evaporated cane juice and cocoa butter. We use a stone grinder (melangeur) for conching our chocolate. We make the cocoa butter and cocoa powder by separating chocolate liquor into cocoa solids (cocoa powder) and cocoa butter under high pressure.
Our cocoa powder is 100% natural flavor beans and is non-alkalized thus it is one of the best flavored cocoa powders available.
How we got started in the Chocolate Making business
In 2008 a plan to retire and build a small winter home in Ecuador surprisingly turned into a restaurant, hotel and a chocolate making business. Here is Jose's (Joe) story:
Six years ago my wife and I went to Ecuador, S.A. I was born in Riobamba, Ecuador and had not returned for 41 years. We liked it and kept going back to visit every year. In 2007 we bought a piece of land and in 2008 began construction or our "little house". Jose is an entrepreneur (serial entrepreneur as described by one of our restaurant customers) and somehow the little house turned into a restaurant and a hostel named El Quetzal de Mindo, in Mindo, Ecuador. Mindo is about 1 1/2 hours drive from Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
First we began roasting and serving local coffee in Mindo. And in 2009 we turned our attention to chocolate and we have devoted much of our time setting up a cacao processing station. Mindo is cloase to areas where cacao is grows well. We searched for farmers who grow either the Nacional variety or Criollo variety, who care about the environment, birds and growing organic cacao along with other fruits and nuts. And we set up on our property in Mindo the fermentation, drying, roasting and winnowing of the cacao. In 2009, we began importing to Michigan green coffee and cacao, most of the cacao is in the form of nibs. We ship cargo by air, that makes the shipping a little expensive but it arrives quickly and has less chance of having problems along the way. We have also been able to press the cocoa liquor and separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa powder.
To see regularly updated information and photos of the chocolate making process, the farm where the beans are purchased and other photos of Mindo and Ecuador visit our Facebook page: http://facebook.com/mindochocolatemakers
For information about our Mindo Chocolate Makers our artisan chocolate making business in the U.S. visit: http://mindochocolate.com
Barbara Wilson (734) 660-5635
Jose Meza or Joe (734) 660-5636