From Tree to Chocolate

From Tree to Chocolate

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Lavaloha, a cacao farm in Hawaii, where I joined their paid tour to witness the fascinating journey of cacao from tree to chocolate. Our guide provided an in-depth look at the entire process, from harvesting the cacao pods to drying and fermenting the seeds.

The tour began with an introduction to the cacao trees. Lavaloha’s lush plantation was filled with cacao trees, their branches heavy with vibrant cacao pods. The sight of these colorful pods hanging from the trees was truly mesmerizing.

Lavaloha's story began with a serendipitous discovery. The founders were gifted cacao fruits and, not knowing what to do with the seeds, threw them into the ground. To their surprise, healthy cacao saplings sprouted, marking the start of their cacao journey. This unexpected beginning laid the foundation for what would become a thriving cacao farm.

 We learned about the initial steps of cacao farming, where the pods are carefully harvested and opened to reveal the precious seeds inside. Below is a short video showing the freshly harvested cacao pods and the seeds within. It’s incredible how these seeds are the starting point of delicious chocolate. The caocao seed is wrapped in a pulp, which is reminiscent of mangosteen taste. The seed itself has a slight bitter taste.


Next, we saw the seeds being dried and fermented. This critical process develops the flavors that make chocolate so irresistible. The video below captures the drying and fermenting process, showcasing the meticulous care taken at every step.

Once dried and fermented, the seeds are ready for the next stage. I had the chance to taste the fermented seeds, which had a complex, slightly tangy flavor. It was fascinating to see how these seeds transform into the chocolate we know and love.

Finally, we toured the facility where the seeds are roasted and processed into chocolate. The aroma of roasting cacao filled the air, a delightful preview of the chocolate to come. It’s amazing to see what the seeds look like prior to being roasted by a chocolatier.

One of the highlights of the tour was trying the chocolate in its conching form. It was a revelation – buttery, chocolatey, and velvety smooth. The conching process, which involves continuous mixing and aerating of the chocolate, results in a superior texture and flavor.

Lavaloha’s dedication to quality is evident in every bite of their chocolate. The rich, smooth taste of their final product is a testament to the hard work and passion that goes into every step of the process.

Visiting Lavaloha was an enlightening experience, showcasing the art and science of cacao farming and chocolate production. Their commitment to sustainability and quality sets a benchmark for the industry, making Lavaloha a must-visit for any chocolate enthusiast.

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