American Village in Chatan has a new chocolate cafe that you can’t miss. It’s on the 2nd floor of Zhyvago Coffee.
They handmake everything from bean to bar in the house. I didn’t know what that exactly means until the owner Hayashi-san explained to me later.
They all looked good, but we had to skip it because it was just before dinner.
I had a hot chocolate.
YuYu had a Cacao Pulp Juice. Never heard of cacao pulp juice… I didn’t even know cacao beans had pulp, and enough pulp you can get juice out of. It says it’s 100% cacao pulp juice.
Oh my goodness!! Delish!!!
I’ve never had a hot chocolate like this before. So rich in aroma and flavor. Each sips fill your month and nostril with sweet nutty savory fragrant and you don’t want it to end. It’s surprisingly refreshing too. I didn’t get that sticky oily aftertaste of normal chocolate.
Oh, wow. This cacao pulp juice. Very good. It’s very fruity. I would never guess what it is if I only taste it. It’s very light sweet sour taste with a little bit of creaminess.
It was so good that I needed to talk to him.
Here’s the owner Hayashi-san. He was an very enthusiastic guy and he told me a lot of stories over the counter.
Here is what I learned.
What I had known as chocolate is what big confectionery companies make with cacao mass along with sugar, vegetable oil and milk. Cacao mass is a ready-to-use product from cacao beans after all the process of roasting, grinding and aging. Cacao mass contains about 50% cacao butter. Lots of chocolates are made from cocoa powder, which comes from cacao mass after reducing cacao butter.
I found later that some chocolate products are mainly made from vegetable oil and sugar, together containing over 75%!! And because they need to mix in vegetable oil or maybe they want smooth texture, they use emulsifier too. But cacao mass and cocoa powder is ready-made and lighter to import than beans. More convenient for mass-production. I laughed when I saw a very popular chocolate bar in Japan had a label that shows “low-fat cocoa powder”. What a joke. You remove cacao butter because it’s cheaper to import and you sprinkle a bit of the powder into a pot of vegetable oil and sugar. And you wrote it as if it is a healthy low fat chocolate.
Anyway, Hayashi-san wanted to make real chocolate from scratch. He wanted to feature Okinawa black sugar in the first place. Black sugar is unprocessed sugar, still containing molasses which is basically minerals from sugar cane like iron and calcium. And chocolate seemed to be an ideal match to feather black sugar. But to him, the matching chocolate has to be real and full like black sugar.
In a corner of the cafe lie sacks of cacao beans he imported.
The wall board shows all the process from bean to bar. They do all this here in the house. Sounds crazy actually, but precious when I think of that beautiful hot chocolate.
High-tech? Low-tech? Whatever this machines does, probably it can’t be done in other ways. This machine has to be made just for that purpose.
Many different chocolate or cacaos are available for tasting and for sale.
Cacao nibs. It’s crashed cacao beans. Simply a super food packed with minerals and polyphenols.
They had ones from Ghana, Cuba, Vietnam, and Colombia. Just like coffee beans, they all tasted and smelled different. Surprisingly different actually. We bought a pack of Cuba. Sprinkling over cereal is popular, but I want to try to mix it into spice rub or steak sauce.
Chocolate bars from 4 regions. Of course they all taste different. They use granulated black sugar. So at first the aroma of cacao dominates your mouth. But then you feel the sugar crash to your teeth and the sweet catches up to spread into your mouth. You kind of enjoy 3 or 4 different steps of taste in one bite.
Timeless chocolate is another landmark of crazy creatives.