TheChocolateLifeLIVE | Improving Cocoa Quality – How & Why?

TheChocolateLifeLIVE | Improving Cocoa Quality – How & Why?

Episode 118 of #TheChocolateLifeLIVE is LIVE from 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT on Tue, June 27th.

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This episode discusses the importance of improving cocoa quality and the challenges associated with it. Quality in cocoa beans can be subjective, and farmers are often incentivized to ship more waste along with the beans due to the way they are paid. The host highlights the need for a shared definition of quality and the importance of consistent distribution and fermentation for industrial chocolate makers. However, for craft chocolate makers, inconsistency can be seen as an opportunity to explore different flavors. The video emphasizes the need for education and informing consumers about cocoa flavors to cultivate market demand for high-quality chocolate. It also addresses the subjective nature of chocolate quality and the role of skill and expertise in chocolate making. Furthermore, the video suggests that educating children about quality chocolate can help develop an appreciation for higher-quality products.


The topic of what quality is has been explored in several episodes of TheChocolateLifeLIVE (see Resources section for links to two of them).

The topic to be explored in this episode is “Improving Cocoa Quality – How and Why?”

Clay Gordon on LinkedIn: #thechocolatelifelive #cocoa #cacao #cacau #chocolate #chocolat #quality… | 13 comments
In the Tuesday, June 27th episode of #TheChocolateLifeLIVE the topic will explore the idea of “Improving Cocoa Quality – How and Why?” On the surface, this… | 13 comments on LinkedIn
This is the link to the original post on LinkedIn where I asked the question. Many of the responses to my question are are here.

On the surface, this might sound like a stupid question: “Why not improve the quality of cocoa?”

One answer could be, “Why invest in the training, infrastructure, and other elements required if the price paid to the farmer for the improvements does not reflect a positive return on the investment?”

As with the previous episode Just One Change (in which I asked the question, “If there was *one* change you could make to the way things are today in the worlds of cocoa and/or chocolate, what would that one change be, and why?”), for this episode I am asking members and visitors to think about:

  • What quality even means?
  • What does improving quality means?
  • How quality can (should?) be improved?; and
  • Why should we even be concerned about improving cocoa quality?
TheChocolateLifeLIVE | Just One Change ...
Episode 115 of #TheChocolateLifeLIVE is LIVE from 10:00 MST/13:00 EDT on Tue, June 13th.

Please answer in the comments. If you would like to record your answer as a video (under one minute, please) email it to Member Support. I will share all the comments and play any videos during the live stream and credit you.

Not a member? You must be a member to comment. Click the Join button to become a Free or Premium member.

Please post comments and send submissions by Monday, June 26th. On Friday the 30th there will be a follow-up episode discussing barriers to improving quality.


As of Monday, June 16th at 10:30 MST/PDT there were four response threads.

By email from a ChocolateLife member (edited for grammar and clarity):

At a minimum, Quality is meeting some minimum standards. My pet peeve are producers not minimizing the non-usable material that is shipped in a bag: stems, stones, and other non-cacao materials, flats, broken beans, etc. Better sorting would be a blessing. I do monitor the ratio of waste in a bag and [name not shamelessly used] US cacao bean wholesaler refunded a percentage of the cost when the waste was excessive. Still, the cost of shipping is outrageous. We are attracted to better-sorted beans all things considered.

Why should we even be concerned about improving cocoa quality? Lots of organizations get caught up in defining it for their industry. But we know it when we see it. We will get to a $100 bar when buyers appreciate that the proceeds are reasonably distributed along the value chain, and all contributors are reasonably paid and economically incentivized to produce the best (ethically sourced, chemical-free best-they-can-make) products.


TheChocolateLife :: LIVE – Judging Quality
Episode 30 streams live from 12:00 EDT on Tuesday, April 5th.
TheChocolateLife LIVE - Deep Dive into Cut Tests
Episode 33 streams live starting at 12:00 EDT on Friday, April 15th.
ICCO warns of potential price rises for consumers amid cocoa supply concerns
With supply concerns heightened by recent flooding in some of Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa farms, there are concerns it could affect the start of the next October-to-March main crop, farmers told local media at the beginning of the week, while NY cocoa prices rallied sharply on Monday to a new 1-week high,…
Why are rising prices a bad thing? (Hint: It can raise the price of chocolate (without putting more money into farmers’ pockets).


#chocolate #craftchocolate #cacao #cocoa #cacau
#TheChocolateLife #LaVidaCocoa

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