OUR NEWEST PROJECT
Posted: November 13, 2014
Project Manager Ethan Hirshberg lets us in on the development of Harmless Harvest’s newest project: 100% Raw & Organic Coconut Water with Dark Cacao.
Chocolate coconut water is by no means a novel concept. There are plenty of chocolate flavored coconut waters on the market. However, the word "flavored" doesn't even apply to this product. We found a way to integrate real cacao solids directly into the beverage. Yes, the chocolate flavor is there--and so is the nutrition, texture, and aroma that come from the addition of a real ingredient.
Researching and developing the blend was a rigorous process. We started off trying flavored extracts, but none of them quite took. After several months and over a hundred iterations, we finally discovered ground cacao nib taken from early in the chocolate production process. The flavor and texture was like nothing we had tried--smooth, round, sweet, and refreshing.
We continued to try cacao from diverse regions of the world, using different harvesting and processing methods, and from varying points in the production process.
The most difficult aspect of sourcing ingredients is always the same for Harmless Harvest: Getting people to do something different. Often, the existing industry standards do not even come close to our expectations, since the bar has often been set very low in the past.
In the case of Dark Cacao, we had to sift through lots of alcohol-heavy extracts and non-organic flavorings before finding a source that worked with our values and our taste buds.
The cacao beans we source are from an organic, Fair Trade cacao farm in the Dominican Republic. Really, the flavor of these beans chose themselves. It was necessary that the beans, or in fact the ground interior contents of the bean called cacao nib, are pulled at the exact right stage in the chocolate supply chain. At the farm, they remove the beans from the purple and brown pods, then winnow the nibs from the beans. To develop the proper flavor compounds, cacao must go through a fermentation stage which, among other effects, removes bitter tannins that give an astringent flavor to cacao. Cacao has a much more raw and bitter flavor than what we traditionally associate with chocolate. However, when combined with the natural sugars in the coconut water, the overall flavor is smooth, sweet, and balanced.
We forego the use of any chemical stabilizers that can be used to artificially homogenize the product, so what you see is what you get. And what you get is cacao at the bottom of your bottle--so shake well.
Read more about our Dark Cacao blend here.