CHOCOLATE TOUR
From blossom to bar

Our chocolate tour was so beautiful! It was great to get to see all of the lush cacao plants at the organic farm in Kula.

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Chocolate & Coffee Tour
An Adventure

When I heard about those tours I thought, “Wow, a tour that combines two of my absolute favorite things: coffee and chocolate”.

Learn MoreBook Chocolate & Coffee Tour



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Coffee roasting is an art, and a science. The roasting process is crucial, because it turns green coffee beans into coffee that you can drink! The green coffee beans have delicious flavor and aroma, that can be found simply by roasting them! Say you were to use the green coffee beans without roasting. They would have almost zero flavor! So now you know how important the roasting process is. During this article we are going to teach you about the art of coffee roasting and how it works. Then when you book a tour with Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours, you will already have some knowledge about coffee!

The art of coffee roasting

Roasting Coffee

Roasting involves more than you may think. It can take many years of practice and training to become an expert coffee roaster. Sourcing your green beans is the first step with coffee roasting! Luckily we have beautiful and organic coffee trees at the same location as our tours, Kupa’a Organic Farms. We have 8 different varieties of coffee, each with a distinct flavor.

Coffee roasting machines heat the green beans in-between 370 and 540 degrees Fahrenheit. They are heated anywhere from only a few minutes to 30 minutes. The temperature and amount of time will determine the level of roasting (light, medium, or dark). Which is your favorite type of roast? Many people assume that dark roasted coffee has a higher caffeine content. But… this is actually not true! Light roasted coffee is the highest in caffeine. The roasting techniques develop the different flavors and caffeine levels.

The art of coffee roasting

Light Roast

Light roast coffee beans have the color of light brown and have a more acidic and light flavor. If you would like to make light roasted coffee beans, you will want to heat the bean until the first crack and 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans will not look shiny or oily-this only happens the longer the beans are roasted. The soil, crops surrounding the coffee plants, and weather conditions all play a part in the origin flavors.

Medium roasted coffee beans

Medium roasted coffee beans are slightly darker in appearance in comparison to the light roasted ones. These beans will give off a sweeter flavor with less acidity, and more balanced. The caffeine will be a little bit less than the light roast, but higher than the dark roast.

Dark roasted coffee beans

Dark roasted beans will appear to be oily or shiny and have a less acidic taste. These beans are heated to about 460 degrees Fahrenheit and cooked until near the end of the second crack. Dark roasted coffee can tend to taste a little bit bitter or smoky from the roasting process. This may change the taste of the origin flavor. Dark roast is the best type of coffee to use for espresso.

Cooling after roasting

When the roaster tells you that it’s time a mechanical sweep and forced air efficiently stop the roasting process! When the desired roast and color is achieved, they are quickly released into a box or pan which is called the “cooling tray”. The beans must be cooled off right away, so that they don’t over cook. You want to be incredibly careful with your coffee roasting. A slight change in temperature or inconsistency, and the whole batch can be ruined! There are three things to keep an eye out for when roasting. Colouration, the first crack, and the second crack.

The art of coffee roasting

 

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Here at MCCT, we take pride in our coffee roasting! We offer chocolate and coffee tours that consist of walking through the organic coffee orchards, the picking and processing techniques, tasting, and more! The three main species of coffee are Arabica, Robusto, and Liberica. Liberica is the least known, with only 2% of the worlds coffee consumption. The type grown at our coffee farm at Kupa’a Organic Farms is Arabica. There are 8 varieties of Arabica which we grow: Red and Yellow catuai, Red, Yellow and Orange Bourbon, Typica, San Ramon, Mundo Novo, and Guadalupe. We will walk you through the history of this second generation farm. There are 6 acres, currently organically farmed with plenty of room to grow!

Gerry Ross and Janet Simpson planted 450 coffee trees in 1997, and then permanently relocated to Maui in 2003. The tour starts at the coffee and cacao gardens and orchards, and your guide will compare and discuss the amazing similarities found in the growing and production of both fruits. Your tour will include the full chocolate tasting, demonstration, and is topped off with an exquisite sample of Kupa’a Organic coffee!

We grow coffee under a canopy of that includes native trees that help to create a forest like ecology similar to coffee in its native Ethiopia. The terroir of our coffees reflect the varietals we grow as well as the ecology and cultural practices that we use. The tour includes tasting and the full gamut of picking and processing techniques that has helped us maintain “specialty coffee” status for the last 11 years.

Maui Tropical Plantation

Maui Tropical Plantation is an agricultural plantation that offers visitors tours of the farm featuring Hawaii’s famous fruits and plants. During your tour you will smell the beautiful native flowers, see the fruits and plants, and hear amazing stories. It’s a fun and educational experience! The Maui Tropical Plantation in conjunction with Oma Coffeei roaster is in the process of developing a demonstration on coffee roasting. They plan on opening this demonstration to the public soon. No date was available at blog press time. Check back with us for an update!

The art of coffee roasting

The art of coffee roasting

The art of coffee roasting

Now that you know more about the art of coffee roasting, you are ready for your tour at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours! We are excited to see you. Don’t forget to book in advance, so that you are guaranteed to experience this! Follow us on Instagram for more info, photos, and farm fun!


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February 7, 2022 Tess PitzerChocolate0

Although chocolate is known as a key sweet ingredient essential for rich and delicious desserts, you shouldn’t limit it to this! When chocolate is incorporated in small quantities, it provides silkiness and complexity to an abundance of savory preparations. We have put together a few of our favorite Savory Recipes that incorporate Chocolate! Valentines Day is right around the corner. We thought that these recipes might help bring some fun ideas to the table. Surprise your significant other with something tasty and new, or make a date night out of cooking together!

Maui Food and Wine

Maui Food and Wine was created to help you create a perfect meal for your special event. They source only the finest Maui ingredients, and provide wholesome, handcrafted, and innovative dining experiences. Owner and Founder of Maui Food and Wine, Katarina, has been living and working in the food and beverage industry on Maui for years. She has built a trustworthy network of professionals here to serve and work with you on putting together a memorable dining experience. Below we have listed the services offered at Maui Food and Wine.

Private Chef & Catering

If you are looking for someone to provide the food for your next event, you have found the right place! They will help you plan the perfect meal whether it’s for a family dinner, wedding, birthday party, cocktail reception, etc.

Sommelier

Maui Food and Wine works with the top Wine distributors on Maui. They have access to the perfect pairings and their team is certified through the Court of Masters Sommeliers.

Themed Dinner Parties & Menus

Their clients have a few favorites to choose from the menu! They can also help you create your own special themed dinner menu. How cool is that?!

Maui Food and Wine also offers additional services such as special menus for diets including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free, prepared foods for delivery, farmers market to table delivery service, and filling your fridge with local products!

Here is one of our favorite recipes from Katarina at Maui Food and Wine!

Chocolate Rubbed Pork Chop

This is a savory dish where the essence of cacao really shines through!

Ingredients

Rub
1 tsp Cacao Powder
1 tsp Cacao Nibs
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Salt Chards, Maldon if you have it
1 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Rosemary

Fruits & Veggies
1/4 Cup fresh Whole Cranberries
3 baby apples
1 fresh Julienne Jalapeño Pepper
1/2 small onion

Liquids 
3 oz local beer of choice
1 tsp local honey
1 tbsp cold butter

Pork
1 Large Pork Chop (8-10 oz) or 2 small chops

Savory Chocolate Recipes

Directions
  1. Create a dry rub for the pork and rub it generously, covering all sides. (They went with a boneless pork chop)

Savory Chocolate Recipes

2, Let the pork chop sit while heating the skillet. Now’s a good time to chop the veggies!

3. On medium / high heat, place the rubbed chop onto the dry skillet.

4. Sear each side of the chop

5. Add oil and vegetables. Move the veggies around while the chop cooks and deglaze with about 3 ounces of beer.

Savory Chocolate Recipes

6. After the beer has reduced for a few minutes, reduce the heat to low and put a lid on it. Let it sit for a few minutes. (Until pork is cooked how you like it)

7. Set the work on a plate

8. Add a slice of butter and little spoon of honey to the pan. Toss until the sauce is brought together, then pour over the chops.

Savory Chocolate Recipes

Thank you Katarina for showing us that wonderful recipe! 

Here are a few more fun recipes to incorporate chocolate into a savory dish!

Roasted Baby Carrots with Balsamic-Bitter Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients

For the carrots 
3 lbs baby carrots
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Salt
5-6 sprigs of fresh Thyme

For the syrup
1/2 cup aged Balsamic Vinegar (5 or 10 year aged)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 ounce 85% dark chocolate of your choice, chopped
1/2 tsp honey

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place carrots on top of a sheet pan and drizzle them with Olive Oil. Spread them into a single layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly on the carrots. Add the Thyme sprigs on top. Roast the carrots until they are tender and brown in spots. Shake the pan and turn over a couple of times. This will take about 35 minutes in total.
  3. As the carrots are cooking, take this time to make the syrup. Put vinegar in a very small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. You will do this until it’s reduced to a 1/4 cup. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt for 30 seconds. Take a small spatula and gently stir the syrup. Once the chocolate has melted and the syrup is smooth, add the honey and salt. Mix well. Cover the pan in order to keep the sauce warm until the meal is ready to be served.
  4. Once the carrots are ready, discard the thyme and place the carrots nicely on a serving dish. Now, drizzle them with a generous amount of the syrup. Enjoy!

Cacao Nib Pesto

Adding Cacao Nibs to traditional pesto sauce provides your menu with a smoky dimension. You may use this pesto with pasta, salad, or as a spread. One of our favorite ways to use pesto is spread on toasty bread topped with grated Italian Cheese which makes a tasty and unique appetizer!

Here’s what you’ll need

1 1/4 ounces fresh Basil leaves (remove the stems)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
1/4 cup Cacao Nibs
3 tbsp Toasted Pine Nuts (divided)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Pink Peppercorns
1/4 tsp Salt

Directions
  1. Place Basil leaves in a food processor or high powered blender. Add 2 tbsp Olive Oil, Cacao Nibs, 2 tbsp Pine Nuts, Lemon Juice, Peppercorns, and Sea Salt. Turn on your food processor or blender and pulse until well blended with some texture. Add more oil if needed, and blend into a creamy paste. Mix the remaining pine nuts into the paste.
  2. Use pesto immediately. If you would like to store it, refrigerate in a glass container topped with Olive Oil in order to avoid browning.

Bon Apetit!

We hope you enjoy these savory recipes that incorporate Chocolate. If you are looking for something fun to do on or around Valentines Day with your significant other or loved ones, we highly recommend booking a Maui Chocolate Coffee Tour. What better way to celebrate this holiday then to see exactly where chocolate comes from and how it’s turned into something we eat?!


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Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours offers more than providing in-person Chocolate and Coffee tours at Kupa’a Farms. We do private in-home chocolate tastings! This is an incredibly fun and unique experience to include in an event or party. Your friends and family will be talking about it for years to come! Below we will talk about private in-home chocolate tastings and recipes.

What is chocolate tasting?

Chocolate tasting is when chocolate-loving friends gather and sample different types of chocolate, and discuss what they taste like. Check out our article to learn more about the art of chocolate tasting. When you book with Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours to do a private tasting, we will provide our very own homemade chocolate. Owner and Tour Guide of MCCT Ann Tuomela will also be there to educate and explain all things chocolate. Chocolate tasting is a fun activity and something that everyone can do! Contact us today to schedule your private tasting.

 

Chocolate Course By Ann

Here is an easy peasy chocolate course by Ann that she made for her family for Thanksgiving.
Cut your chocolate bars into 3-4 gram pieces which allows you to get alot of mileage from one chocolate bar.
Goodnow Farms, Peru 70% made in MA
Dick Taylor, Brazil 75% made in Eureka, California
Marou, Vietnam 78% made in Saigon, Vietnam
Akesson’s, Madagascar Estate, Crillo 75%, made in England
Madre, Nine Fine Mynah’s, Oahu 70%, made in Kailua, HI
Offering a flight of single origin chocolates allows guests to wrap their minds around how chocolate flavor profiles can be so widely and wildly different with only 2 or 3 ingredients. They experience how the “chocolate talks to them”!
You can change it up by having an accoutrement plate which can include your favorite double or triple creme cheese, blue cheese, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and even a slice or two of your favorite charcuterie. We recently paired chocolate with bresaola, which is a wine and peppered cured beef sliced very thinly. Delicious!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse is an ideal dessert. It’s romantic, impressive, and makes you feel special. This recipe by Jana Eats is velvety and utterly decadent. The creamy and rich Avocado Chocolate Mousse is a healthy, dairy free, gluten free vegan dessert! Go check out her website for more amazing recipes!

  • 2 cups avocado (the richer, the better- Haas is a great varietal)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut butter (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons non-alcohol vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (aged balsamic is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon shoyu
  • 1 cup pure cocoa powder
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves

Sprinkle Scharffenberger’s cacao nibs (optional)

How to make

  1. In a food processor: Blend avocado, maple syrup, coconut butter,
    vanilla extract, balsamic, and shoyu until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add cocoa powder and blend until smooth. Sifting the cocoa powder before adding is a good idea so prevent lumps. A simple metal strainer works well.
  3. Allow to chill one hour or more in the fridge for flavors to marry.

Ready to serve

Serve in a parfait, wine, or martini glass garnished with berries, mint
and caco nibs. Bon Apetit!

Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cakes

Here is another Recipe from Jana Eats. Enjoy!

Serves 6 – Silicon muffin cups

Ingredients:

  • 5oz dark good quality chocolate, chopped
  • 2.5oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

2T caster (superfine) sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F
  2. Spray cups with non-stick spray
  3. Place chocolate & butter in a saucepan and stir over low
    heat until melted and smooth.
  4. Place eggs, vanilla and sugar in a bowl and with an electric
    mixer beat until thick and pale. (5-7 minutes)
  5. Stir through chocolate mixture until well combined and then
    pour into cups.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes
    are just set.
  6. Serve warm with gelato and berries OR
    Cool & refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold
    with warm chocolate sauce, gelato and berries.

French Chocolate Mendiants

Chocolate Mendiants are a delicious yet elegant dessert. These treats make for the perfect holiday gift.
If you are not familiar with Chocolate Mendiants, they are chocolate disks that contain nuts and dried fruits. There are many different options for personalizing mendiants to make it more unique and fun!
Culinary Ambition has a wonderful recipe for French Chocolate Mendiants. Go on over and check it out to get some inspiration and learn how to make them perfectly!
These recipes will make the perfect touch to any family gathering, party or event! We hope you enjoyed reading about our Private In-Home Chocolate Tastings & Recipes. Feel welcome to leave us any questions in the comments below!

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There are so many things to be grateful for, and one of them is this beautiful island that we call home!  We absolutely love waking up to the magnificent sun rising above the crater, birds chirping, the smell of tropical flowers, and the turquoise blue sea that meets the sand. Maui has an abundance of opportunity for those who seek it. Here at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours, we wanted to express our gratitude for living on Maui.

Mana’o Radio

We wanted to give a shout out to Mana’o Radio for all of their awesome DJ’s. They provide the island with a wonderful variety of music that you won’t find anywhere else! Jeremy Jarvis gave us the inspiration to write about all of our gratitude when we were listening to his show during the second week of October. Thank you Jeremy for the inspiration!

Maui Bees 

Maui Bees is a family owned operation located in Kula Maui. They produce wonderful and delicious Maui honey. Mark and Leah Damon have run Maui bees for over 10 years. Not only do they share a passion for bees, but they also care deeply about organically grown food. In addition to the honey, they also have a farm stand where they sell their fresh produce and organically fed pastured eggs. They farm uses biodynamic sprays and preparations and builds its own organic compost. Mark and Leah have always made sure that their honey is pure, unfiltered, and raw. Although it may be costly and time consuming, they put in all of their energy and efforts to do things right.
Bees play a huge role in agriculture. They pollinate the crops, increase yields, and make great honey! Did you know that over a third of the food that we eat relies on pollination by bees?!
Maui Bees now has a kitchen, where Chef Larry puts out a new menu every week depending on the produce in the garden. The dishes are fresh and local, from farm to table.
Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Maui Gold

Maui Gold is a pineapple company. These pineapples are grown exclusively by Haliimaile Pineapple Company. The Haliimaile Pineapple company was started by former Maui Pineapple company employees, who were dedicated to keeping the tradition of pineapple on Maui. They have been cultivating the Maui Gold Pineapples for over 20 years. What is so special about Maui Gold Pineapples? They are twice as sweet and less acidic than other varieties. Did you know that it takes a full 18 months to grow one Maui Gold Pineapple?! There is a 2-3 day window where the fruit is perfectly ripe, and needs to be picked. Once a pineapple is picked, it won’t ripen any further.
We want to show our gratitude to this company for keeping the 100 year pineapple tradition alive in Hawaii. This also helps our island sustain itself through rough times, rather than solely relying on the tourism industry for the economy.
Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Hawaiian Lifestyle Studio

Hawaiian Lifestyle Studio is an independent creative agency run by wife and husband, Tess and Mateo! They spent quite some years traveling around the world and doing surf photography. They came to Maui just in time for the pandemic! This is where Tess grew up as a kid. Although they both have degrees in the medical field, they decided to follow their passions and that’s when Hawaiian Lifestyle Studio was born. They specialize in commercial photography, videography and content creation right here in Maui, Hawaii! We use them as our photographers and videographers for Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours. Hawaiian Lifestyle Studio also offers social media management and blog writing (which is also something they help us with)! We highly recommend their services and are super grateful to be working with them!
Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours
We want to extend a huge mahalo to all of these local businesses for doing great things for our island, and also supporting other local businesses! This is what helps Maui keep going round.
It’s now the month of giving and thanks! Share some reasons for your gratitude for living on Maui in the comments below.

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Do you own a business, or thinking of opening one in the future? Here at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours, we prioritize the motto of enjoying what you do, so you never “work” a day in your life. If you work hard enough at it, you too can live this way! We decided to feature Hawaii business owner’s doing what they love.

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours is located in Upcountry Maui, on the beautiful Kupa’a Farms. Barry Allison is a friend of Ann Tuomela General Manager of MCCT.  Barry and Ann are long time friends of over 25 years, and got theirs starts by following along the similar paths of corporate America, until their entrepreneurial spirits were found or reignited. They both followed similar journeys, yet separate paths. Ann’s tenacity and resilience put her back in the “saddle”. Closing one door and opening another by reinventing her life through continuing to love what she does so it seems like she never works another day in her life.

Enjoy an exclusive, fun and educational chocolate and coffee tour, from the farm all the way to the table! Ann will teach you everything you need to know, beginning with the plants on the farm, and ending with the chocolate or coffee that you are consuming. Make sure to book in advance, so your spot is secure during your vacation to Maui! Follow us on Instagram, and read our blogs for more information.

Local businesses of Maui

Local businesses of Maui

Kihei Caffe

Barry Allison moved from Chicago to Maui after working at Nick’s on Oahu back in the 80’s. Opening Roy Yamaguchi’s first Roy’s on Maui brought Barry to Maui as a part of Roy’s opening team. Barry recently opened his 2nd Kihei Caffe in Lahaina. The Kihei location still has customers lining up around the corner to get the famous Kihei Caffe breakfast grinds! Barry’s farm is his sanctuary, which he loves to work with all of his animals, goats, sheep, chickens, and cow’s. He never “works” Upcountry, because he loves what he does and it shows. Very similar to what Kupa’a Farms has going on!

Local businesses of Maui

Local businesses of Maui

Kupa’a Farms

Gerry Ross is the one of the owners along with his wife Janet and her twin sister, Judy at Kupa’a Farms. Kupa’a Farms is a 6 acre family farm that was started by Gerry’s lovely wife’s parents back in the 70’s. They are located at a 1900 foot elevation on the slopes of Haleakala, Maui. They grow a wide variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and award winning coffee! Not only this, but they grow everything using sustainable and regenerative agricultural methods. They also practice the farm to table and table to farm method. Check out our blog to read all about it! Gerry is incredibly passionate about his job, so it really seems as though he’s playing instead of working! Kupa’a Farms has wonderful educational and volunteer opportunities. Check out their website or Instagram to learn more!

Local businesses of Maui

Local businesses of Maui

How to Balance Your Business Life and Personal Life

One of the main questions people ask is: “how do you run your business while keeping your personal life separate?” The truth is, that once you own a successful business, you never truly stop working. Since you don’t clock in and out from a regular shift, you can lose control of your “hours”. It is incredibly wonderful to be fully invested in your business. It is even more exciting to watch it grow! However, if you don’t take the time to enjoy your personal life and take care of yourself and loved ones, then it defeats the purpose of owning your own business and making your schedule.

Here are a couple of tips to balance your business and personal life : 

  • Set regular business hours and days.
  • Know when it’s time to set the phone down, and be with your family or friends
  • Wait until you have had your morning routine before picking up the phone or computer
  • Don’t lose sight of your passion, and why you began this in the first place
  • Embrace failure, and learn from your mistakes
  • Don’t try to do it all alone. Never be afraid to ask for help or outsource employees for the things you simply cannot do.
  • Keep work and life separate.
  • Take time off. It’s important to rejuvenate and come back looking through fresh eyes!

These words of advice can apply to anyone, running any kind of business! It is extremely important to keep the balance.

We hope that you enjoyed reading about Hawaii business owner’s doing what they love. Feel free to comment any questions below! We hope to see you on a tour soon! A hui hou!


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Traveling to Maui, Hawaii is an exciting adventure. Most people only get a small amount of time off from work each year. The most popular times to visit are during the holidays and school breaks. Some have the luxury of choosing to come anytime. Being spontaneous can mean cheaper tickets, and more flexibility with your trip! However, when traveling to Hawaii, pre-planning makes for a wonderful travel experience for you, your family, and for businesses on this island that are ready to share their aloha. Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours may seem like an activity that you would do “spur of the moment”, but booking private tours in advance is a must! This insures the best experience ever! Spontaneity in traveling to Maui can be fun, but everything books up very quickly. Unless you are going to just relax on the beach your entire trip, we definitely recommend planning some things in advance.

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours is a locally owned business located at Kupa’a Farms, in Maui, Hawaii. If you have always wanted to try Hawaiian, handmade chocolate, then this is definitely an activity you will want to book! A fun, educational experience will have you learning and physically participating in the chocolate and coffee making process. We will take you on a beautiful tour of the farm, so that you can observe the process from start to finish.

MCCT

General Manager of Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

General Manager of Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours, Ann Tuomela had her eyes set on a vacation this summer. She was planning a trip to America Samoa! Ann was looking forward to sharing her experience abroad with us. However, due to the constant opening and closing of borders, things escalated quickly again with Covid, causing her to abruptly cancel her trip. Instead of letting this get her down, she decided to take a look at other travel options. San Diego and Vancouver B.C. are both beautiful places, where she has family and friends, so she decided to go there! You will notice some beautiful photos we have showcased from Ann’s trip.

Ann even ended up extending her stay in Vancouver, Canada! “Uncle Fester” decided to bloom! (See photo). The blossom is only open for 24 hours!

MCCT

The titan arum looks like a giant flower, but its structure tells a different story. It can take 2 weeks for a bud to reach full size (a whopping 6-8 FEET!) before opening. The titan arum’s flower is actually a flowering spike called an inflorescence. The spike, or spadix, supports the much tinier true flowers, both male and female, in rings at its base.

MCCT

If a titan arum is lucky enough to be pollinated, it produces a beautiful cylinder of olive-shaped red-orange berries atop the stalk left after flowering, called a peduncle.

Check out this beautiful botanical garden!

MCCT

MCCT

Aloha Bars Maui 

We wanted to feature a wonderful Maui business this month, Aloha Bars. They are a full service cocktail catering company. They create delicious handcrafted cocktails and tropical beverages for guests of all ages to enjoy. Whether it be for a wedding, or private event, if you are looking for great mobile bartenders, Aloha Bars is the best in the business! 

Owner and founder, Kirsty Sinclair, immediately fell in love with the spectacular beauty and Aloha Spirit that embraces the island of Maui. Her extensive background as a bartender and a corporate hospitality trainer for a large restaurant chain in Florida helped her to attain bartending positions at several premier restaurants on Maui including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at the Four Seasons Resort, Chef Yamaguchi’s Roy’s (formerly in Kihei) and Capische?, located at Hotel Wailea. Kirsty also worked at a gourmet cheese & wine boutique on the island… Guava, Gouda & Caviar (formerly Who Cut the Cheese?) for several years. These experiences helped broaden her knowledge of pairing fine wines with gourmet cheese and Pacific-rim cuisine as well as allowing her to think outside the box in creating cutting edge, island-inspired cocktails.

Kirsty has a strong passion for entertaining and making delicious drinks. She has become a bit of a local celebrity on Maui. Constantly being asked to offer her services at weddings, it was this moment that Aloha Bars Maui was born! Since then, she has been focused on filling a very important niche within the Maui wedding & event industry. Clients who want a high quality, professional mobile bar service that gives their guests a real “taste of Maui”, while staying within your budget.

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Supporting local businesses

Kirsty has established meaningful relationships with local organic farmers and unique product vendors from various islands. This way, she can buy directly from them. This is how she supports local businesses and avoids costly store mark ups. The result is a surprisingly affordable, yet extraordinary drink & cocktail menu that uses the freshest ingredients available in stylish & innovative ways!

We highly recommend Aloha Bars, and cannot say enough wonderful things about them. Follow them on instagram and check out their website for all things cocktails and Maui!

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We hope you enjoyed reading about the spontaneity in traveling to Maui. Whether you choose to be spontaneous or plan your trip out.. come book a tour with Maui Chocolate Tours! You will be elated that you did!


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Last month, we talked about the differences between Chocolate Makers and Chocolatiers. This month we will talk about Chocolate Sommeliers. What exactly is a chocolate sommelier? Well, a good Chocolate Taster, is someone who can be defined as a chocolate sommelier. They are able to recognize a wide range of aromas and flavors when tasting a dark chocolate. The cacao releases aromas which the mind connects to flavors and aromas that are already known. Tasting chocolate is an art and ritual. Made for an experience which involves all of the senses. It is important to taste and not only eat the chocolate. While on Maui, come visit Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours to have an authentic tasting experience! Keep reading on to discover more about the art of chocolate tasting.

How to taste chocolate

Like wine experts, professional chocolate makers and connoisseurs use a simple but systematic procedure to unlock all the nuances in a bite of chocolate. With a few tips and tricks, you can learn to taste chocolate like a pro! Slowing down, savoring, and focusing your attention on taste and texture is exactly how to do it. Therefore, you will discover all the benefits of tasting chocolate.

There is no “right, or wrong” way to taste chocolate. In our opinion, the best chocolate is the one you like the most. No two people perceive aroma or taste flavors exactly the same way. Each persons texture can differ from one palate to another. Your individual chocolate palate evolves and sharpens over time with experience. When tasting, look for, notice, and describe what pleases you in the chocolates you taste as well as what you find less appealing about a specific chocolate.

Tasting the chocolate

Use your eyes: The chocolate should be compact with uniform color and its surface homogenous, bright and flawless.

Smell: Concentrate on its aroma to discover the intensity and richness of aromatic notes.

Taste: Let the chocolate melt in the mouth slowly, without breaking or chewing it with your teeth. Take the time to appreciate its flavor and all the aromas you are able to recognize. In this way, just one small piece will be enough to give you a lasting and pleasant sensation.

Chocolate Tasting

How to preserve chocolate

Preservation of the chocolate is extremely important. Keep the chocolate away from direct light and sources of heat. Chocolates have a long shelf life, so you can shop early and they will still be good for the holidays. Months after the holidays have passed, you can still dig into those boxed chocolates!

Here’s some tips for chocolate preservation :

  • The ideal temperature is between 16° and 18°centigrade with a relative humidity of less than 50%
  • For best results, store boxed chocolates at a moderate room temperature
  • Wrap tightly to keep the odors away
  • Do not keep chocolate in the fridge or in a cupboard unless it is well sealed, otherwise it may become contaminated
  • If the climate in your home is routinely above 70° Fahrenheit and humid, or if you can’t polish off an entire box of chocolates within a few months…your next best option is to refrigerate or freeze your boxed chocolates.
  • How long do boxed chocolates last in the fridge or freezer? As a general rule, refrigerating chocolate can extend its shelf life by at least 25%, while freezing can prolong it by 50% or more. Place the original box in a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag, seal it tightly and then refrigerate for up to one year or freeze for up to 18 months for best quality. Thaw frozen chocolates in the refrigerator.
  • How long does a box of chocolates last at room temperature? Stored under those moderate temperatures, most types of boxed chocolates will retain their quality for at least 6 to 9 months, even after they been opened.

Chocolate Tasting

Experience Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours is a local business offering tours at Kupa’a Farms, in Upcountry Maui. With our private tours, you will get an exclusive and educational experience. Laughing while tasting chocolate and coffee for the entire duration of the tour is how we do it! The tours include everything from the beginning of the chocolate on the cacao tree, all the way to being made into chocolate! The private group size is limited to 8 people. Smaller groups keep the experience more intimate since there is a hands-on chocolate making demonstration as part of the adventure. We explore the many flavors of chocolates that are single origin sourced from around the world coming from different latitudes. The tasting will include at least 2 chocolates from Hawaii. After your tour, you will fully understand how rare chocolates from Hawaii are, and especially from Maui.

Chocolate Tasting

We hope that you enjoy your sensational time tasting chocolate! Embrace the art of chocolate tasting, and delve into your favorite flavors. Don’t forget to book a tour with us at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours to try our delicious Maui made chocolate!


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There can be much confusion over who makes chocolate, or what “making chocolate” even means. To clear the air, a Chocolate Maker receives the cacao beans, roasts, grinds, and fine tunes it into what we know as chocolate. Chocolate makers can make white chocolate, dark chocolate, and anything in between. A Chocolatier, receives chocolate made by the maker, and uses it to create chocolates, ganaches, figurines, showpieces, confections, and so on. They do not make the chocolate, however they can make chocolates. There are small batch producers who don’t own their own factory but use bigger chocolate makers to work with them to create their own chocolate. Today we will be pointing out the differences on Chocolate Makers vs Chocolatiers, and featuring some local businesses along the way!

Chocolate Maker

A chocolate maker goes through the entire chocolate making process by starting with the raw bean (fermented and dried). There are raw chocolate makers out there, but the bigger part of craft chocolate makers make chocolate as with these steps:

  1. Roasting fermented and dried beans

  2. Cracking

  3. Winnowing

  4. Grinding

  5. Depending on the maker: conching

  6. Tempering

  7. Fill into molds and packaging

We make the chocolate from scratch here at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours. You will get to do the crack, winnow, and grind with your own two hands!

Chocolate

Chocolatier

There are differences between Chocolate Makers vs Chocolatiers. One of the most common misconceptions is that chocolatiers make their own chocolate from cocoa beans. But they don’t!

Chocolatiers leave the purchasing of cocoa beans, roasting,  and grinding them into chocolate to ‘chocolate makers’. The chocolatiers simply purchase couverture chocolate to make their creations.

Great chocolatiers take their ingredients and aim to create something truly wonderful.

In other words, the chocolatier is the person who fills chocolates, makes truffles and creates flavored bars. It’s a very different discipline from making chocolate from cocoa beans.

Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours

Here at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours, we do a little bit of everything! Manager, Tour Guide, Chocolate enthusiast, and now a self-taught fruit to bar chocolate maker, Ann Tuomela, has resided in Maui for the past 35 years.

She graduated from University of Washington, Seattle, WA, with a BS degree in business and marketing. Then, she moved directly to Kihei. You can’t pry her off this rock! She has a self proclaimed club for people like her: The Opihi Club. These delectable tasty treats (limpets) are what fishermen hunt on the ocean lava rocks at low tide. Her friends in the “Opihi Club” have lived on Maui for at least two decades continuously. That means not living elsewhere and then returning to Maui after they miss living here!

After a fulfilling career in the Wine industry for 15 years, she re-evaluated as to why she moved to Maui…not to work for corporate America! Ann opened and operated Who Cut The Cheese for 10 years before opening and looking beyond the chocolate wrapper! For those not familiar, Who Cut The Cheese, was a gourmet cheese and wine shop in Kihei.

“A place for those with fine taste AND a sense of humor!”

Who Cut The Cheese, offered monthly wine and cheese tastings for 5 years at Stella Blues and various other restaurants such as Spago’s at the Four Seasons Wailea, Mala Tavern, and Capische?

 

Chocolate

Canadian Chocoholic

We adore Cyndi from @Canadianchocoholic, and wanted to feature her in this month’s blog! She is a true chocoholic with an extensive background.

On Vancouver Island, she worked as a Chocolatier, becoming more interested in chocolate. Since then she has taken tasting classes through Ecole Chocolat and the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting, led chocolate tastings, judged the International Chocolate Awards and always continues to learn and read about chocolate.

She is a chocolate sommelier/certified chocolate taster and is always happy to create custom tastings and pairings for all occasions and group sizes. She now offers tastings online for any size of group. Check out her website to learn more! 

Cyndi also does consultant work in setting up pairings, offering education around
chocolate, or finding the perfect chocolate to go with your product.

In 2020, she launched a line of hand-sewn, silk screened face masks that allows chocoholics to wear their love of cacao amidst the pandemic. When she struggled to find fabrics she loved, she just designed them on her own! Following this, she created other sewn products and produced fabrics with a chocolate theme including tote bags, zippered pouches and masks. How cute!

Cyndi was also the sponsor of Cacao Magazine issue 3 #womeninchocolate and has an article about her work with jewelry in it. A magazine about all things bean to bar chocolate.

Chocolate

In 2020, she also joined The Chocolate Notebook team for edition 2 of The Chocolate Notebook, an atypical calendar/planner/notebook that takes you on a journey through the year with a focus on chocolate. All the illustrations in the book are created by herself.

Cyndi also brings her love of chocolate to the world through her skills as a goldsmith,
having a line of chocolate-themed sterling silver cacao pods and cacao beans. Using various techniques, she hand crafts and creates unique, wearable art. She designs and makes jewelry, drawing on her professional training and experience as a goldsmith. Her two years of school in metal smithing taught her so many skills that she was able to use to create her sterling silver, bronze and gold cacao inspired pieces of jewelry. Cyndi’s favorite techniques include lost wax casting, construction, and enameling.

In 2021, she stepped away from her full time job due to some health issues that are still in the process of being pinned down… and moved to working more on the art and chocolate side of things. She then launched Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers in March of 2021, a monthly subscription that allows her to share her creativity and love of chocolate with other chocolate lovers.

You can subscribe to receive digital happy mail, a
physical postcard with a personalized note written on it, or an envelope in
the mail full of chocolate themed goodies each month.

Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers has been arriving digitally to inboxes around the globe
twice a month, and Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers postcards and envelopes have been traveling to three different continents each month, bringing joy and surprise to all who receive them. It’s a great treat for yourself, or makes a great gift for a friend.

Being a maker, Cyndi has an appreciation for small batch, one-of-a-kind, local products, produce and small businesses. She shares the joy of chocolate with others through chocolate tastings, sharing bars, reaching into her purse, as well as her handmade jewelry. When she’s not busy eating chocolate, you can find her posting often on IG
@canadianchocoholic and writing her blog.

Chocolate

Although there are vast differences between Chocolate Makers vs Chocolatiers, we all have one thing in common…our love for chocolate! Stay tuned on next month’s blog, where we will dive into the depths of the Global Chocolate Movement and Chocolate Sommeliers!


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What are the health benefits of chocolate and CBD? Well, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, can be quite nutritious. Nutritious foods don’t need to be bland or flavorless, they can be decadent and satisfying! Dark chocolate contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals. It can be a source of powerful antioxidants, may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, may protect your skin from the sun, and more! Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments. It is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa.

THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and that is what causes the feeling or sensation of getting “high”. However, unlike THC, CBD is NOT psychoactive. This feature makes CBD a very attractive option for those looking for a pain reliever, or other symptoms without having the mind-altering effects of marijuana or other pharmaceutical drugs. Not only is CBD a pain reliever, but it can also reduce anxiety and depression, alleviate cancer-related symptoms, may reduce acne, and benefit heart health, along with many other potential benefits. What about CBD and chocolate combined together?! Well, I am here to give you the scoop.

CBD Chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate stimulates more than just your taste buds. Some reasons people choose to indulge is because they understand the chemical reactions caused by chocolate. CBD generates very similar chemical reactions in your body. This makes CBD chocolate a functional method of administering the health benefits of the hemp plant. “Edibles” made with CBD are made differently depending on taste and desired effect. Many different types of reactions and benefits can occur with a variety of CBD products, so it is of value to learn how to take CBD oils in ways that will benefit yourself. It is important to listen to your body and what it needs. After all, you are reading into this to possibly improve your quality of life!

CBD Chocolate and its effects on the brain

Apparently the cannabis industry calls chocolate the “soul mate” of CBD. They are perfectly compatible! First, lets learn about Anandamide. This is a chemical messenger in your body- a powerful neurotransmitter, that targets the same brain structures as THC. Anandamide prompts regulation of serotonin and dopamine, which can balance your mood, appetite, and cognitive functions. Chocolate contains small quantities of anandamide. There are fats aka lipids in CBD chocolate, that help to extend the duration of the CBD effects. This means your dosage lasts longer, and your money that you spent goes further!

Benefits of CBD

CBD Oil

Research into the benefits of CBD has shown that it has potent antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.

Additionally, it may help to reduce the symptoms of the following conditions :

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain, such as arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy

Not to mention, CBD also has an excellent safety profile and rarely causes side effects. However, it can interact with a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications. We recommend that anyone looking into using CBD for a specific medical condition should consult with their physician first.

Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties just like CBD! Did you know that it actually contains more antioxidants than most foods?! Chocolate also contains a variety of essential minerals which include magnesium, copper, potassium, and iron. Consuming a good quality, high-percentage dark chocolate in moderation can possbily offer the following benefits:
-Anti inflammatory
-Protects against cardiovascular disease
-Reduces diabetes risk
-Stimulates the central nervous system

Is CBD Oil Legal?

CBD Oil

CBD is readily available in most parts of the United States, however it’s exact status is in flux. “All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it.”

Is CBD Safe?

There are possible side effects to anything that you ingest into your body. The side effects are highly unlikely, but can include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It can have negative side effects when combined with certain pharmaceuticals such as the blood thinner Coumadin. CBD is sold as a supplement, not a medication, so it is not regulated by the FDA.

This is what we have learned over time, researched, and discovered! Now, it is up to you to decide whether CBD or Chocolate…. or chocolate and CBD oil combined, are right for you! Remember, we are professional chocolate makers, but we are not here to give any medical advice. Like I said earlier, it is always best to consult with a physician first.
Hopefully you too will be able to jump on board, and experience the health benefits of chocolate and CBD together! Book a private tour with us today to have a fun and exclusive chocolate making experience. 


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One of the most impressive flowering tree’s of Maui is the stunning Jacaranda. You might be familiar with this tree, as it is a hard one to forget! The tall and full amethyst shaded blooms announce the arrival of spring time. They drop their flowers between May to mid June creating a beautiful carpet of purple and blue colors beneath the trees. Now, are these trees native to Maui? What is the history behind them? Keep on reading to learn more about these breathtaking parts of nature, and learn where you can go to view them! Maui’s Jacaranda spring into bloom right about now!

History Behind the Jacaranda

The Jacaranda’s were originally found in Brazil but spread across many tropical locations in the world including South America, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and all the way to Africa, Pakistan and even Portugal! The ‘Upcountry’ part of Maui was settled by Portugese farmers and ranchers. We think that this is how the Jacaranda found it’s way here from Portugal.
A man named Elmer Cravalho grew up in the Keokea area where the first trees appeared.
Cravalho became a legislator in the 1950’s and on to become the mayor of Maui County between 1969-1979. In the late 1950’s, Elmer pursuaded the Territorial Highway Commission officials to plant the Jacaranda trees along the upcountry highways including the Pukalani and Kula areas.

 

How big do the Jacaranda Trees grow?

Jacaranda Bloom

These trees can grow up to a whopping height of 60 to 90 feet, and their canopy can spread as large as 30 feet! Depending how much water they receive, in 7 to 14 years a Jacaranda can reach a height of 25 to 30 feet.
Seedlings typically take up to two whole years to bloom! The purplish blue flowers have a small hint of a honey smell to them. Once the flowers have dropped to the ground, they lose their scent completely.
In some parts of the world, there are Jacarandas that are over 200 years old!

Where to find the Jacaranda

Jacaranda Bloom

After all this talk, you must be ready to see the Jacaranda, and even take some photos too!

Upcountry is the beautiful countryside part of Maui. You will find this area on the Haleakala mountain side, away from the shoreline. The largest towns found Upcountry are Pukalani, Makawao, Kula and Haiku. This part of Maui is a very rural, agricultural and residential area. However, there is also quite a bit for visitors alike!

You definitely won’t be able to miss these trees during your drive up the mountain. Our favorite place to view the magic is on the road toward Maui Winery which is on Kula Highway. The Kula baseball park also has some beautiful views!
After visiting the Jacarandas, get ready for some coffee and chocolate!
Come visit us a MCCT, and you will even be able to spot Jacarandas on your way to us on Naalae road.

Breakfast at Grandma’s Coffee House

Would you like to make a full day of your trip Upcountry? First stop on the list, we would recommend having coffee and breakfast at our beloved Grandma’s Coffee House. You will find this cozy cafe with a scenic deck at 9232 Kula Highway. Relaxed vibes and organic coffee made from local, house-roasted beans. This is a great way to start your day off right!

A little bit of history on Grandma’s Coffee House. Grandma AKA Minnie Franco, was just 16 years old when she started hand-picking, drying and roasting wild coffee beans grown on the slopes of Haleakala! Back in 1918, water was extremely scarce, and this was the only stop for coffee Upcountry. Grandma would barter her brewed coffee with the ranchers and paniolo (cowboys) on their way back and forth from Ulupalakua and Kaupo.

To this day, the beans are still roasted in a century-old wood-fired roaster, the same one which Minnie acquired in 1885.
You can feel the history when you walk into this coffee shop. It is just like you are at Grandma’s! Not to mention, the baked goods are so very tasty!

Whether you come up country to see the Jacaranda, visit us at MCCT, or are heading all the way up to the volcano of Haleakala, we recommend putting this beautiful gem of Maui on your bucket list. It really is such a special place! Now that you know when Maui’s Jacaranda Spring into Bloom, tag us on instagram so we can see your photos of the Jacaranda!


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