By Armando Choco, Executive Chocolate Maker,
Mahogany Chocolate, Our business model is focused on high quality, craft chocolate.
To produce a consistent, high quality product, you need full control from “seed to bean to finished product” and you need top-of-the-line equipment.
Since we started in 2017, our chocolates were produced at our retail store and kitchen in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In 2018 we moved to Punta Gorda, Belize, now home of our 1st chocolate factory.
Since our move, we have added equipment with larger production capacity that allowed us to add 4 new bars to our existing product line and increase production of our now celebrated Belizean and Brukdown chocolate bars!
Now, we are opening our 2nd chocolate making factory, in Panama!
We already have an established Team and reputation in Boquete, Panama so the location decision was not difficult. After all, it is the home of our 11 specialty coffee farms, processing mill and laboratory, The Perfect Pair coffee and chocolate shop and our executive headquarters!
When selecting a supplier for the new factory equipment we had to consider product quality, efficiency, ease of use, cost, practical equipment and personnel safety.
Thus, in collaboration with our legendary Swiss Chocolate advisor, Werner Ruegsegger, we decided on a state-of-the-art Selmi production line from Italy.
It is simply the best in its class, with “artisanal friendly technology” that will enable us to control and make unique chocolate products (with our own proprietary recipe).
In this next stage of our development, we have opted to integrate the use of the 5-star “ball mill” refining equipment in our production process. This equipment will allow us to refine our chocolate faster, yet, have the fervent control over quality we desire.
Thus, the new micron 25 ball refiner will enable us to refine up to 25 kg of chocolate per hour; a huge step up in production compared to our 3-day production cycle with stone grinders. That’s a lot of chocolate!
It meant that we also needed an improved and compacted roasting and pre-grinding process. The Roaster 106 from Selmi boasts a vertiflow exclusive air roasting system that will yield consistent roast profiles. This is a critical stage of our production that defines the flavors of our products!
Selmi’s conching machine, revered for its easy regulation and automatic conch program give us “peace of mind” knowing our chocolate will develop just the right flavor while we perform other tasks.
After much research, on-site visits, email exchanges and discussions over specifications, the desired control at every stage of the process and with our chocolate bar recipe in mind, it was clear that Selmi’s equipment will give us the finest results.
We pulled the trigger and we are happy to say that, even smack in the middle of the Coronavirus, our equipment arrived at its new location in Boquete, Panama 30 days after we ordered it, and from all places…Italy!
Our team is elated and eager to make more Chocolates!
Stay tuned for a series of live online events as we will take you through the remodelling and construction process of what will be a factory like never seen before in a cacao producing country.
Watch this space for Willy Wonka!