Jeremy, what a great new blog. I look forward to more podcasts…
With regards to Original Beans, I have my doubts. So, they are outsourcing the chocolate making. Very funny indeed. It’s like a wine maker delivering his grapes to a third party for producing wine. You wouldn’t have a problem with that? Chocolate making is a very complex affair, which is critically dependent on controlling processes such as roasting, conching, etc. That is not trivial, requires much fine-tuning, and it is highly unlikely that OB will produce distinctive chocolate of an outstanding quality by outsourcing critical production tasks. Also, consider that cocoa batches may vary from harvest to harvest, and will require the process to be adapted to particular circumstances.
I’d be curious to know how OB is managing quality at the level of the farm? To get small farmers to produce terroir beans, i.e. of a consistent quality over time from defined genetic materials is hellishly difficult. Do they collect the cacao fruits, or the pulp for fermentation and drying in central facilities (community- or company owned/managed)?
Incidentally, chocolate marketing is mostly based on phoney claims, and unfortunately, that appears to be true for many of the specialty chocolate producers as well: lots of pictures of happy farmers and all sorts of claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny.