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Whats New and Updates


Video Tuesday

Every Tuesday, for the next few months we are going to be putting out a new video on our youtube channel, How to Make Chocolate at Home.  In a similar manner to my walls of words in text, I ramble a bit, taking this or that side path as it suites what I am attempting to convey. All about cocoa beans is new.


I hope you enjoy it.



The long dark tea-time of the soul

It's more like cocoa-tea-time but you get the drift I suspect. May I present Alchemist's series #7 - The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul.

TLDTTOTS is replacing Fire and Brimstone #4.  It is a semi-dark, richly chocolate, brewing cocoa.  Very possibly the best yet (at least I like it the best).  I really enjoy it at 202 F in the Brazen Brewer.

New Direct Trade India is in.  It also makes a killer Brewing cocoa.  Hot or cold.

4 new Venezuelan are on the way.  Fruity Sur del Lago, delicate Cuyagua, silky Canoba, and rich Guanino.

Most likely Belize and Maranon....still finishing the tasting and evaluation.

Testing and Evaluation beans are back.

Finally, I am now offering the Behmor 1600 plus with free shipping (lower 48 USA only and with no beans).

Oh, and some of you may have noticed that Ask the Alchemist went AWOL last week.  That happens from time to time when no questions are in the queue.  So, what do you want to know?

long dark tea time.jpg



New Wild Bolivia in is

This is almost, but not quite, an 'it's back' moment.  I have offered a wild Bolivia in the past.  That was from the Alto Beni region.  This time the beans are from the Beniano.  Basically the same local native (heirloom?) stock but a different elevation and soil type.  And still very small and full of flavor. Also, a brand new origin has cleared customs and is in route to the warehouse.  Direct trade India.  I'm very excited working with a group of about 20 farmers there.  Stay tuned.




Organic Belize 2016

We have a lone bag of 2016 Organic Belize in.  At this point, given how the supplier is handling distribution, I'm not confident we will be seeing any more available any time soon. For those unfamiliar with it, the raw beans have an odor of old school juicy fruit hard candy.  While roasting there is toasted macadamia nuts, warm proofing spelt bread and a lovely savory quality with a touch of tang from fermentation.  Once in chocolate form (75% for my tests) there is sweet caramel......go read about it.



Direct Trade Vietnam is in

Today is all about Direct Trade.  It's been six months coming, but 3 new beans are finally here from Vietnam.  And all of them are big, bold, intensely flavored beans.  Just look how round the displays on all the spider charts are.  They are just big everywhere. Ben Tre - The flavor is big and intense. It is tangy and the deep sharp flavor of raisins and a hefty doses of chocolate.

Lam Dong - Fruit cake.  In so many ways that sums up this bean.  Chocolate aroma with a touch of allspice. I have to admit,  I actually moaned (just a little) with my first bite.

And Tien Giang - This chocolate is high in spice, tobacco and nutty flavors.

And on the chance you missed it, go check out the other new Direct trade bean that is in.

Honduras Wampursirpi.  In particular, check out the Details tab.  I just updated a bunch information about Biosphere and what they are actively doing to support the farmers and communities in the region long term.  I'm really stoked about all they are doing.



Two new cocoa beans from Ecuador

Both are brand new beans that I've not had in before.  Lush chocolate and nutty flavors.  And very clean.  Check them out.


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Three brand new products

First and foremost, I want to present the NutraChef 'cocoa press' oil expeller.  You can now make your own cocoa butter at home at the press of a button.  I tasted the most amazing milk chocolate made with some fresh pressed Madagascar cocoa.  The caramel notes were amazing and fully due to the single origin butter, as it was totally missing from the 'control' made with the natural cocoa butter we offer. IMG_3699

The next new product is a variation on whole milk powder.  This is Heavy Cream powder.  So, instead of milk chocolate, you can make Cream Chocolate.  At 72% butter fat, you can add it directly to an existing dark chocolate recipe without adding any extra cocoa butter like you would with a milk chocolate.

Finally, a new origin.  A lovely base note cocoa bean from Trinidad and Tobago.  The taste that comes through for me is dried mission fig, date sugar and toasted pecans.

Trinidad and tobago 2016

Might I suggest a Single Origin Trinidad Cream chocolate?

2 lbs Trinidad and Tobago roasted cocoa, winnowed to 24 oz.

5 oz Trinidad and Tobago home pressed cocoa butter (results from a 500 gram batch)

1 lb Heavy cream powder

1 lb sugar

This should be unlike ANY chocolate you have ever tried.



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New Products on the way

No Ask the Alchemist today.  The queue is empty. Mind you, I thought I was setting a new record this week for submissions, but somehow things have become confused.  All the messages were general questions to me.  Do you ship here?  Can you ship this out today?  Do you sell tempering machines?  Where can I buy a Champion?   To clarify, is for 'in depth' questions generally about the chocolate making process.  Not like the above.

So, have I really answered everything you want to know out there?

And to give you something to look forward to, three new products should be available tomorrow.

  • Whole cream powder
  • A deep, chocolatey bean from Trinidad
  • An electric oil press so you can make your own cocoa butter.  I've been having quite a bit of fun testing it out.

Stay tuned and get those questions in.




New cocoa beans

We are kicking the new year off with three new beans. First, the brand new one, and maybe my favorite of the bunch (since I just finished writing up the review, it is of course the last chocolate I ate, so of course it is my favorite).

Peru FT/Org Norandino 2015/16 - There is orange marmalade, molasses and dried pear competing for dominance.

Madagascar Sambirano Valley Organic 2016 - We ran out briefly last year.  This is the newest crop.  Still a powerhouse.  This year instead of raspberry, it is virtually exploding with cherry and raisin.....

Uganda Org 2015 - There is an undeniable roundness to the flavor profile this year.  Very base and solid chocolate.  I find an inherent sweetness that contributes to the perception of a full flavor.

And lastly, I want to remind you of one we put up last month.  Honduras Wampusirpi.  We are down to the last bag, so get it before it is gone.

Honduras Wampusirpi 2016 Direct Trade/"organic"    The first aroma I get is of soft leather, like a supple piece of deer skin.  Buttery almost.  With that comes along flavors of bright dried fruits.  This just might be my favorite bean from last year and this lot is imperceptible in it's differences.



Last minute details

No Ask the Alchemist this week as the queue is empty. And we are packing like crazy for getting your packages out for the holidays.  As a reminder, yesterday was the last day for Ground deliveries to easily make it for Christmas.  But we are accepting orders through Sunday night for Monday shipping. Dominican Republic Rizek is back in stock.

Finally, I had REALLY hoped to be able to tie something into Worldbuilders foundation and their current donation run.  They are raising money for Heifer International.  Really positive, concrete support. They say it best:

"We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps brings sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market. "

I personally donated. Two goats get new homes and help a people and community.  If you can help this season, please do.  You will have to follow the up coming link to get the reference, but Bilbo it up!

bilboitupsm.jpg Happy Holidays all.



Holiday schedule, moving and other things that affect our time and your scheduling.

With the amazing response (orders went up an order of magnitude) to the first ever Thanksgiving appreciate ‘Thing’ I was not able to keep up with a current Ask the Alchemist. We will see how this week goes. From the Appreciation Thing you can see we are moving some time soon. To be able to manage that (permits, holiday rush, contractors, the holidays and certification inspections) we are going to close down a little longer than usual. As always I’m going to keep the on-line stores open, but there will be no shipping for a couple weeks.

The last day we will be shipping is Monday December 21. And hopefully if you need anything by that Friday (December 25 – Christmas) you will have ordered well in advance. It would of course be in your best interest to have your last orders in Wednesday December 16. That will allow us processing and packing time to get it out by that Friday. We will do our complete best to get any order out on Monday December 21 if you have your order in by midnight the day before (Sunday the 20th). To summarize:

December 16 – recommended ‘polite’ last order date for shipping.

December 20 – Last day we will guarantee shipping before closing.

December 21 – Last day of shipping.

December 22 – January 3 – Closed for moving and holidays – no orders will ship out but the online stores will remain active.

One final item. When you are choosing your shipping method for the holidays, it is best to add in 3 WORKING days for processing, packing and general mayhem. So if your estimated transit time is 5-7 days (sorry, my software won’t tell you this, you will need to look it up on either UPS or USPS), then you would be well advised to order 10 days before you need it. i.e. December 14 for delivery by Christmas if you live across the country (we are in Oregon). That means, if it isn’t clear, if you order something Monday December 21, Next day Air (or ground or anything) it will NOT make it for Christmas. It will be held until 2016 when we re-open.



Thanksgiving schedule

We will be closed for Thanksgiving and the following Friday. If you would like your order to go out before the holiday, please have it in by midnight Tuesday.  Any orders after that will not go out until the following Tuesday.

Thank you everyone!  I hope your Thanksgiving is fantastic.



Two new offerings

Two new bean offerings.Tanzania - Direct Trade Kokoa Kamili Cooperative.  There is a clean earthiness and up front chocolate aroma.  There are deep base fruits, dried prune and damson plum in the nose. The chocolate has dark flavors of brown sugar, toffee,  coffee  and a fully balanced citrus (lemon?) acidity

The next is #2 in the Alchemist Blend Series.  May I present the whimsical and dynamic:

Alchemist Blend #2 - Floor Sweeper -

Let's get this out of the way first and foremost.  No beans in this blend were actually swept up off the floor.  Okay?  Good.

That said, this blend was totally inspired by the end of day sweepings.  It scary/sad how much cocoa gets dropped while packing, even when we are very careful (it doesn't go to wasite, I use it for my own in house tests).  But it got me thinking.

This is the result.  And I'll tell you the secret recipe.....equal parts of everything in stock at the time.  The result?  Read on...



Ask the Alchemist #136

Warning – not chocolate related this week. But important as the holidays come up.

I got the error saying it is not a valid tracking number. Please give me the correct tracking number.

I ordered Friday. Why didn’t it ship until Wednesday? That’s 5 days!!!! I am so disappointed. I needed it Tuesday. I picked Next Day Air!!!!

I received nearly a dozen of these this week (and another two while writing this). Within an hour of processing the order. Is it the full moon? Do I sound annoyed? Perplexed really.

First off that actually isn't what USPS or UPS says. It says "The Postal Service could not locate the tracking information for your request. Please verify your tracking number and try again later." It is directly because I say "Please allow some time (12-24 hours) for the status of the shipment to correctly display at the above address". We say this because the number is assigned electronically. Then it needs to be packed and actually taken to a post office by a live human. You have to give it TIME!

Here is the routine around here. Usually the day before an order ships it is ‘processed’. This involves making the shipping label, printing and recording the sale. At that time, you the customer are sent a Shipping Confirmation with a tracking number. If you follow the tracking link too soon (read before 12-24 hours – and I am thinking now of changing this to 24-36) then there has not been time to both pack your order AND get it to the post office (or UPS) AND have time for them to scan it into their system. If your order contains roasted beans or nibs, there may be yet another day ‘delay’ as I tend to roast fresh as orders come in. Quite often we have enough around, but not always so it has to be roasted the day after it was “processed” and then is often not packed until the following day so it can cool and not condense in the bags.

I’m sorry, but we are not Amazon here (really, I’m NOT sorry) with a ton of people working around the clock to have your order packed and shipped within hours or even minutes of you ordering. That isn’t an excuse. Just the reality of how this small business runs. My sincere hope here that you appreciate the effort we put in and understand we are working as fast as we can to get everyone’s order out.

All this is in way of saying to plan well ahead and be realistic to ship times during the holidays. From past history I know they are going to stretch out due to just the sheer volume. But also where possible, we are happy to accommodate needs and deadlines if we can. There is a BIG catch here though. You have to make an EXTRA effort to tell us. You have to help us help you. Picking Next day Air does NOT assure it will go out the next day. Putting a note in your cart will NOT assure we can accommodate your request. You need to follow the directions in the Order Confirmation that says EMAIL US (with your order number, right? Right!). Otherwise we will in all likelihood not see your shipping method or note until it is already too late. As much as I would love to review every order as it comes in in detail and intuit your needs and deadlines, I can’t. And surprise, I’m not psychic.

That order on Friday? No note or email. 6 pm Friday BTW. Processed Monday. I spend the weekends with family. We process shipping ‘in bulk’ so were not aware it was Next Day Air. I hate this, but our system only shows “UPS”. It was 10 lbs of roasted beans that had to be roasted Tuesday. And thus shipped Wednesday. With an email, I would have found time to roast early Monday and get it out the same day. Without, it was processed as normal.

Communication please. I’m begging you. Keep the a minimum, communicate your special needs if you have them, and it’s all going to go much smoother for all of us, and result in less frustrations and disappoints all around.

Send in your Ask the Alchemist questions to



Northwest Chocolate Festival and two new beans

We will be closed and away starting Wednesday 9/30/15 - Sunday 10/4/15 at the Northwest Chocolate Festival.  Please let me know if you will be there.  I'd love to meet up!  If in doubt, look for the kilt and vest - I should not be hard to find.No orders will be processed during that time, nor will emails be read or answered.  I travel technologically light.

In the mean time, we have two new elegant Guatemalans in.  Chimelb and Lachua.  Both are very restrained chocolates.  In a world of super IPA's, massively hot spices, monster quadruple shot power drinks and general 'how big can we make it' there is something to be said for a nice, well balanced restraint chocolate that you can enjoy.  Don't undersell 'approachable' - in this case it's a compliment.

Also, supply is very limited.  Enough so that I won't be offering them Wholesale.  So get them before they are gone for good.



Beans from Eden and more

The new crop of 2015 Belize is in.  Organic and Fair trade.  Full of juicy blackberry this time.  At this writing, half is already gone so act fast and stock up if you want it. Although La Red is gone for now, we now have two new  beans from the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Rizek - Fair Trade /Organic - It's been a couple years since we last had this.  Dark fruits like plum and fig, There are also hints of holiday spice particularly cardamom and cinnamon.

Dominican Republic Eden O Organic - This is a elegant bean and brand new in our offerings. There is a fruity tang of kiwi and passion fruit.  Also the pretty classic light leather of the Dominican Republic.  But everything here is soft and balanced.

The new crop of Organic Bolivia will be in next week, plus a great new smaller lot of Papua New Guinea.. In the mean time, don't miss out on the last of last year's crop of Organic Bolivia - we were able to get one last bag.



Ask the Alchemist #125

"Have you tried the EZ Temper and how in the world does it work?  I don't understand it."

Yes, I've have one (Thank you Kerry).  You can go read the Review.   It outlines what I think of it, how it works and the theory behind it.

The short of it is it works and I like it.  Get one if you want to make your tempering life easier.  It's well named.

Send in your Ask the Alchemist questions to



Ecuador Micro lots are in

First off, there is no telling how long these will be around.  I have a few hundred pounds of each at the moment.  If one or two in particular go over well, I may try and bring in a bit more.  Regardless, get them while they are here.

Ecuador - Cedeno  - The chocolate carries that aroma of fresh wheat and bright tangy rose.  There is a solid chocolate base, a touch of earthiness and a balancing acidity and fruit.


Ecuador Cultivagro  -A touch of oak wood plays well with the leather leaving a dry yet satisfying finish.


Ecuador - La Buceta - The chocolate’s aroma is tangy (a nice way to say softly acidic in a nice way) in the way of mace and cinnamon.


Ecuador - Pichincha - There is a floral malty sweetness over a solid chocolate backbone.  There is virtually no astringency


Up coming beans: A savory Mexican that I have approved the evaluation sample should soon be on the way.

And if you like this kind of thing (just business as it were) you can subscribe to our newsletter where we make this same announcements when beans and new products come out.  Usually about once a month.  Sometimes a little more, sometimes a bit less.