Friday, December 16, 2011

Maker Profile: Mindo Chocolate

company nameMindo Chocolate
chocolate makers
Joe Meza and Barbara Wilson
factory location11061 Trinkle Road
Dexter, MI 48130
(734) 660-5635
factory toursby appointment
direct online purchaseMindo
direct storesN/A
retail store purchasewhere Mindo is sold
selling bars since2009
plantation barsnone
single origin bars 100% (Ecuador)
77% (Ecuador)
67% (Ecuador)
blend barsnone
production cyclebean to bar
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane juice
organicyes (not yet certified)
sustainablerecycling, composting
economicsdirect trade (not certified)
last updatedDecember 15, 2011

In 2008, Barbara Wilson and Joe Meza built a winter home for themselves in Mindo, Ecuador. Over the following year, that home transformed into El Quetzal de Mindo, a restaurant and hostel. In 2009, Barbara and Joe established a cacao processing station to do their own fermenting, drying, roasting, and winnowing of cacao. They ship their cacao nibs (by air) back to their place in Dexter, Michigan, to press cocoa butter and make chocolate. (Note: In the past, Mindo sometimes shipped beans to Dexter and roasted them there). Factory tours may be arranged by appointment. They began selling their single origin Ecuador chocolate in 2009.

Most chocolate makers purchase dried cacao beans and have little control over the fermenting and drying processes. Mindo, however, buys fresh wet organic cacao beans from a small cooperative in Ecuador, and does their own fermenting and drying locally. In making their chocolate, Mindo adds only organic evaporated cane juice and, when necessary for viscosity, cocoa butter made from the same cacao. No emulsifier or flavoring is added (except in their flavored chocolate, of course :-)

Mindo chocolate bars are made from organic ingredients (both the cacao beans and cane juice are certified organic), but the bars themselves have not yet been certified. Barbara and Joe established direct trade with the farmers of the cooperative, but have gone beyond a financial relationship (including teaching the cacao farmers the process of making chocolate). They also use only recyclable or compostable packaging.

You can buy Mindo chocolate online directly from them. Mindo chocolate can also be purchased at retail locations throughout Michigan and some other locations around the United States, as well as at El Quetzal de Mindo in Ecuador (as listed on their website).

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