We got more feedback this week on a few of our bars that we sent out to some of our friends in the chocolate world. Its interesting how different the feedback on the flavors themselves can be. At the same time it reassuring (and educational) how consistent the feedback on physical attributes and deficiencies can be. Flavor feedback seems to have a strong emotional and personal preference component some people absolutely love one bar and suggest that we make it our signature bar while others comment definitely don't like this one.
Feedback on mouth feel, grittiness, temper those seem to be more consistent and objective (and also where we have the most immediate opportunity to improve). One thing we've learned is that (for me) its a lot harder to get a good temper on our chocolate when I table it than when we use our ChocoVision machine. I tend to get a weaker snap, a coarser texture, and more bubbles when I hand temper. For very small batches (down to even 100 grams) for internal evaluation its hard to beat tabling, but for anything that will be sent out to others well default to the machine for the time being.
Things at the shop are progressing nicely. The AWOL legs for the sink were delivered earlier this week, and the sink and grease trap went in today (although I had to have them re-do the grease trap installation one of those not sure what this parts for, so lets just leave it out moments that inevitably turns out to be a bad call not sure if they succeeded in the re-do or not yet). The water heater got installed today, and the oven is on order (Moffat Turbofan E32D5) as previously mentioned, its got a 3 week lead time, so we wont be roasting any beans for a while yet. Aside from some minor electrical still to be done, that will pretty much do it for the contractor for a while.
Next up for us is giving the hanging lights the roll-up doors a thorough cleaning, and then setting up our tables and shelves and the like so we can actually start making test batches of chocolate and working the details of our process flow out.
By the way, if anyone is interested in helping to formally evaluate our chocolate, please let us know wed be happy to send bars your way if you'd be willing to send your thoughts our way afterwards. Were looking for brutal honesty and constructive criticism, and we have pretty thick skin (most of the time) so don’t be shy.
David and Leslie