Sweet Mysteries

The Stories behind our Cocoa Recipes

Tamara Schuhwerk

Unsere Trinkschokolade Beet me up!


Our range of cocoa specialties has grown to 19 flavours by now, all of them made with a whole lot of love and creative skill. Connoisseurs know BecksCocoa is the place where some of the world's best fair trade organic cocoa meets fine spices. In this post we invite you to look over our shoulders to find out how and where we develop the formulations behind our flavours.

 

Often it is a spontaneous idea, possibly a spark with no serious intenions. For instance, our new flavour Beet me Up! (available online starting in August, stationary retail to follow in September) was born during a conference in Berlin. What started as a laugh about a beetroot dish soon became an inspiration. Soon after the response on the trade fairs was overwhelming. So fascinated by the idea to create a beetroot cocoa our brains just couldn't stop pondering about matching ingredients and the workability of the root.

 

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Cocoa Recipes born in the Home Kitchen

For a cocoa manufacturer the raw materials need certain characteristics. Apart from essential oils all other ingredients have to be powders. Another equally important requirement is that all ingredients - even in small quantities and mixed with cocoa powder - need to be strong enough to contribute to a well-rounded aromatic experience. This usually rules out fruit flavours because they don't have enough punch to shine through in a teaspoon of cocoa powder dissolved in a cup of frothed milk. 

Our experiments with the beetroot came off, however. What we needed was a powder that is powerful enough to make our idea a reality. So we started to work on the first three blends in the confined space of our kitchen. Would three percent beetroot do the job or should it be rather ten percent? What's the spices we should add to make this unorthodox idea work?

 


The list of tools was topped by our KitchenAid food processor and the precision balance scale for weighing even homeopathic doses. Another indispensable pair were paper and pen – nothing is more mind-numbing than having found the right formula only to realise that there's no record of quantities and the procedure!

 

Next step is the tasting in the BecksCocoa cups for colour grading. It turns out the frothy pink Beet me up! is a delightful coup. Reason enough for an impromptu dance performance. 


Formulating with Passion, Brainpower and an unrelenting Explorer Spirit

 

Once cocoa, raw cane sugar and aromas are balanced right we have what we call the 'raw formula'. We then take the first blend to Stephanskirchen and let family, neighbours and our staff sample it. Unless at least half of our cocoa testers is delighted we don't take it further. 


The ideas that build up in our minds are the result of countless travels, aromas, tastes, scents and experiences. We soaked them up over decades, tested them at home in the kitchen, refined, discarded and recombined them.

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In Kurdistan, in the shaded bazaars of Aleppo and Damaskus (what a tragedy they don't exist any more) locals used to meet to smoke shisha and drink coffee brewed in little brass pots - never without sugar or cardamom. Those were the images and scents that were in our head when we created  T.E. Lawrence, a cocoa with a subtle mocca note and a trace of the date sweetness that is such an essential contributor to the magic of Arab countries. This cocoa was never meant to be a wake-me-up, instead we want you to enjoy it and daydream.

Pumpkins, gin, rosemary, baobab powder - there are so many more flavours we want to try out. Whether we had a brillant idea or not is revealed during the kitchen experiments. Of course, there's always the risk of a massive flop. After a sauna session imagination ran wild and we figured it might be a good idea to mix cocoa with spruce or pine needle oil and honey powder. The result was quite biting and had not the slightest reminiscence of a walk in the forest.

 

Not that we felt discouraged after that. We continue to try out bold and unorthodox ideas as long as we find the required ingredients in the right quality and consistency - of course with an organic and fair trade history. And of course, we always welcome your ideas. Send them to  kakao@beckscocoa.com and we add them to the list of flavours to explore next.

 

We look forward to find your favourites, ideas and - even cranky - wishes in our inbox!