The longest blogger’s block ever is finally over! Sure, there’s been the intermittent I”graming”, but content writing hasn’t come easy. Keeping up with the non-norm…not the new norm with the world upside down, we will start with the happy inspirations and then close with the unprecedented beginning of the global pandemic and how it has impacted and how it is still affecting Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours’ business and many of Maui businesses. Also, keeping true the rule; TLDR, we want the best and happiest in the beginning and close with March’s reality. We are striving for optimum SEO written by an amatuer!
The biggest blog breaker, inspiration, and motivator that got Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours back in the marketing saddle is marketing mogel, Charles Oreve, the owner of the X Concept, based in San Diego, CA. The many other inspirations come from revisiting Maui as a visitor, and as our last IG post caption; “why should the tourists have all the fun!”
Hang Gliding Maui and Other Hana Finds & Grinds
The most recent Maui fun inspiration was hang gliding with Armin Enget, the owner of Hang Gliding Maui. This has to be one of the most fun things I have done on Maui in a very long time. It is an absolute must do if you are a thrillseeker! Hang gliding over Hana’s lush tropical valleys that were bursting with waterfalls to the pristine Hana coastline….WOW!!!
While we were waiting for the intermittent rain squalls to pass, we found an amazing brand new food truck in Hana just past Hamoa Beach…Tony’s Food Truck where they have plenty of new adorable gazebos for outdoor dining. We had the opportunity to watch the stream across the street swell with rain water until it was gushing! That type of action made my hang gliding flight even more incredible!
Tony’s food truck is on the same property where there is a new campground, Caroline’s, and that is exactly what Hana needs! It is on the coast, no beach access, but amazing views and it is immaculately maintained. They have lots of cows in the vicinity too! So cute!
Wholly Maui…did we have fun in September! Our friends Tina and Mike Wildberger have lived on Maui probably as long as me or maybe longer! They own the sailboat Shadowfax which Mike sailed transpacific solo many years ago…way to go Mike! Anywho, the Shadowfax departs from Ma’alaea Harbor. They didn’t need to reinvent their reservations due to COVID, as they have always operated by privates only. They will customize your sail with a guest capacity of 6. We opted for the 2 hour sunset sail. This was a one of a kind day in that bottle nose dolphins greeted us just outside of the harbor…we went nuts and then the fire inspired sunset put that day to an epic close!
Finally, one of my favorite spots in Hana was available due to the pandemic. This recent trip to Koali Ranch Cottage was my 5th. For over 20 years I didn’t have the patience to book it one year in advance, so yay, I finally got my chance!
It was like stepping in a time machine! Everything was exactly the same with moderate improvements that kept the charm of Koali Ranch Cottage. One of the coolest additions was the explanation the art on the shoji screens and the various art on the walls.
We took in the amazing views, read books, did a puzzle, ate and drank like there may not be a tomorrow! That’s a play-cation!!!
June and July
June and July were busy with practicing what I had been demonstrating to guests for years; however, that was only the “crack, winnow and grind dance” portion. Since we had a cacao souce and the time to learn how to harvest, prep the cacao for fermentation, then ferment, dry, roast, crack, winnow and grind, so basically I taught myself the entire chocolate making process. Oops, did I miss something?! We learned how to use a real melanger rather than our mocajete (mortar and pestle). The melanger is the piece of equipment that refines or conches the cocoa nibs into chocolate. First, there was the research on what machine would be best for this hobby chocolate maker.
We found a melanger from Diamond Machines Corp. which best suits our needs, and then some, if we want to make bigger batches of chocolate in the future. The best feature of this machine is the tilting feature. That makes it so easy peasy for pouring the chocolate, especially if you have a full capacity of 10lbs of chocolate. Now we’re coming down home stretch in the chocolate making process. For artisan chocolate makers, using a small or a melanger used for test batch chocolate, this portion of chocolate making can take up to 48 hours!
And, that is one of my favorite jokes during the chocolate making demonstration…”if you were here for the entire time, you’d be pretty tired of me, and we would need to charge more than what we are currently charging for tours!”
May was the month for volunteer projects. The Maui Face Mask Project, spearheaded by Jennifer Oberg, founder of the Sewing Hui. The first huge feat was the 10,000 medical grade face masks made for and donated to health care providers during the face mask shortage. The Sewing Hui is now working toward becoming a certified non-profit organization. Go Jennifer and all the volunteers’ helping hands!
The Sewing Hui is now making fabric masks for schools’ teachers and students. So far, 1,700 have been delivered all around the island including Hana. The requests are about 5,000 masks, so they are still seeking volunteers.
After loan applications and unemployment were filed, too much time was spent on webinars that only helped in ideas that weren’t applicable to Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours’ business model. There’s lots of great stuff is out there, and lots of super motivated people trying to help others. Fareharbor hosts our reservation system which is integrated with our website and by far offers the best support immediately. Kudos to Fareharbor and your campaign, iwilltravelagain. This campaign assists 4,000 of their customers, from as small as Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours to mega giant activity and tour companies all around the globe.
Chocolate projects during March, April and May really didn’t begin until April 2020. The beginning of March there was business as usual, and by the end of March there was only surreal disbelief, distress, and lastly trying to figure out how to survive. All time spent during the last part of March was desciphering the copious number of loans and figuring how to access the unemployment website as it was over taxed like never before!
On a positive closing note, VOTE!!! This year matters more than ever before!!! We are happy that Tina Wildberger will continue to positively represent district 11, South Maui residents at the state level.