Our NEW ceremonial cacao forge has some incredible new equipment to continue making the best ceremonial cacaos we can.
Although we are still “tiny” for the chocolate industry (and a small, immigrant-owned company), ceremonial cacao has never before been made on tools like ours.
We are bringing together the precision of modern tools with the art of healing and the magic of working with pure cacao!
We strongly believe that many more people will discover and regularly use ceremonial cacao this coming decade, so we’re leaning into how we can produce more while maintaining the same quality, if not improve it.
After a lot of inquiry and guidance from cacao, we know improvements that are possible!
Read on to learn about our improvements from the combination of precision, art, and magic in our new cacao forge!
Improved Quality & Consistency with New Tools
As young chocolate makers, we are constantly honing our craft. And just like a musician does with music, we are upgrading our instruments for making ceremonial cacao :-)
As we’ve seen over the years, new tools often bring us improved control over our process and improved consistency.
They definitely help make it less stressful to produce cacao and improve the lives of our staff, which then helps us innovate and keep quality top-notch.
New Cacao Roaster
This week, we received delivery of our new fire engine red cacao roaster.
After ordering, it took six months to get it built and delivered. And wow, this thing is beautifully built!
Diedrich (the U.S. manufacturer of our roaster) has long specialized in coffee roasting. Now, as craft chocolate grows, they have developed a complete line for cacao beans as well.
Roasting is the first process that activates cacao beans at the forge when we begin a batch.
The aromas are delightful, and it’s here that we taste a lot of cacao beans to find the perfect roast profile for each batch we make.
Getting the roast just right brings out all the flavors later when we grind and conche the cacao. So, precision control is essential for our light heating process.
We are very grateful for this new tool that will help us tease out delightful and flavorful nuances of the premium cacao beans that we source.
Our new winnower (pictured here, undergoing cleaning!) uses a state-of-the-art design employed by the chocolate industry for over six decades.
This particular machine we purchased by a stroke of good fortune at a flash sale from a decommissioned Hershey’s factory!
We have completely taken it apart to extensively clean it, sanding off many layers of old paint and replacing all the electronics to give it a completely new life.
This machine was designed in Germany in 1967 and has been in operation almost continuously since then, so it is a real piece of chocolate history.
The machine is so old that the manual for it was written on a typewriter and all the engineering diagrams are drawn by hand!
Despite its age, the machine is so well built that it can last many human lifetimes. And the design is so timeless that they are still producing new machines that are largely the same design!
We’re excited to employ a machine of this scale and quality for ceremonial cacao, no longer in service to industrial cacao.
This particular design only works at a certain threshold of throughput, so previously, we’ve had to rely on less efficient, custom-built, smaller scale equipment.
This winnower uses a special hexagonal roller setup that minimizes the "cacao fines" created as we break apart the roasted cacao beans.
Cacao fines are very small particles of cacao husk and bean that are impossible to separate after crushing the roasted cacao beans to make nibs.
By minimizing "cacao fines", we can now save more valuable cacao, increase our yield, and reduce our cost of production. Ultimately that means we can sustain higher prices and better livelihoods for our farmers!
New Rolling Depositor
We’re also switching to what’s called a "roller depositor" for producing cacao discs.
Believe it or not, producing cacao discs is one of the hardest things we do! And until now, it’s on equipment that we built ourselves (which is extremely finicky).
The roller depositor is a new design in the chocolate industry overall that should be far easier to maintain and clean in between batches, and we’re an early adopter of it.
From what we’ve seen, it will produce very consistently shaped cacao discs for reliable dosing of your cacao drink! We’ll send you some very cool videos of this once we have it running :-)
(For more photos and details on our new space and equipment, check out our previous blog posts here: See Our New Chocolate Forge and Opening More Hearts With Cacao.)
Cacaos We're Loving
Connected Colombia 100% Ceremonial Cacao Drink
Glowing Guatemala 100% Ceremonial Cacao Drink
Vibrant Vitality 100% Ceremonial Cacao Drink
How can we support your cacao journey? We'd love to hear from you!
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With Love, Gratitude, & Cacao,
Jonas & The Firefly Family
P.S. - ❄️ We are now on a summer shipping schedule. All cacao is sent out with ice packs and recycled + recyclable insulation!
📅 Orders ship Monday through Wednesday.
🕰️ Wednesday @ 1pm PST is the last order time to make the above shipping window, so that we can reduce the likelihood of your cacao being delayed in a hot warehouse over the weekend!
🧠 Please be mindful if you are ordering during a heatwave.
🏡 Bring your package inside as soon as you can after it is delivered!
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