So I went to Mast Brothers Chocolate to see the chocolate process in action and meet the Brothers. Like I said in Mast – I, Rick Mast was our tour guide for the day. One thing about Mast Brothers Chocolate that catches most people right off the bat is the beautiful paper they use to wrap their bars. The Brothers are working with a local Brooklyn paper shop for future bars. I took a few photos to remember the process. Here we go!
Rick said all of their current bars are made directly from the bean, which are from Madagascar and Dominican Republic. First step, the dried and fermented beans are ready for roasting. They got this convection oven in trade for chocolate. I’m not sure who got the better deal! You can see the beans on the trays beside and below the oven.
After roasting, the beans are ground with this little machine. Do you see that little handle? Rick said they have a couple of people who come in and just grind beans. The beans go through 7-10 times to get to the right size. He said they had it hooked up to a bicycle at one point. That would have been cool to see!
Once the beans are brought down to the right size, they are put in this machine. The nibs have to be added in steps or the machine will get clogged.
Some companies may “lube” the process by adding extra cocoa butter, but Mast doesn’t add anything extra. The only cocoa butter in their bars comes straight from the bean. I’m told cocoa beans have an average of around 50% cocoa butter, so the bean itself has quite a bit of cocoa butter to offer in this process.
The chocolate is then poured into blocks to age, but the demand for Mast is high. So there is no time to age. On to the bar!
Rick said they used to hand ladle all the bars, but a friend saw them doing this and decided to get them this machine. It takes the chocolate, melts it down and pours into molds. Rick said they weigh the bars constantly to make sure the machine is accurate. Then it is on to wrapping and the bar is ready for us to eat!
I think I covered everything, but, having all that chocolate around me may have made me forget some things! Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to answer them. In the meantime, continue to enjoy great chocolate!
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