Frequently Asked Questions
How is the CocoTerra approach different from personal chocolate-making today?
CocoTerra simplifies the chocolate-making process for experts and novices. Incorporating grinding, refining, conching, tempering and molding into one unified system, CocoTerra provides a complete chocolate-making experience in one compact appliance, producing wonderful chocolate in about two hours. That’s a stunning improvement in time and physical space from what is possible today. And by unifying all the steps of chocolate-making and dramatically reducing the time to go from nibs to finished chocolate, CocoTerra makes home chocolate-making easy and accessible – for kitchen enthusiasts, foodies, professionals, experimenters and even cacao farmers – really for anyone interested in making chocolate at home or small quantities for commercial purposes. While being easy to manage, our machine allows the user to control and modify many chocolate-making parameters, as an experienced user or professional might do. Consumers are always on the hunt for chocolate with the desired flavors, the ideal melt-in-your-mouth experience, a specific intensity, targeted dietary restrictions, even the right allergen profile. CocoTerra provides chocolate personalization and customization that hasn’t been available to the consumer market.
What mechanisms or technologies does the CocoTerra system use for all these different processes?
The basic technology behind the grinding and refining process is called ball milling. This involves stainless steel media that is stirred around with the ingredients to grind them into smaller and smaller particles. Large scale ball mills are in use today by both craft and industrial chocolate makers, but until now, the technology has not been available in a tabletop appliance. The machine also includes an active heating and cooling system that allows for precise temperature controls, which is particularly important during the tempering process. And finally, CocoTerra employs a patented centrifugal molding system that dispenses and molds the chocolate. We will disclose more details about how our system works as we get closer to launch.
What is the output of the CocoTerra machine, i.e. what form and shape is the chocolate in?
A single batch of CocoTerra chocolate is approximately a half pound or 250 grams. Each batch of chocolate is molded into a beautiful ring which can be gifted whole or broken up to be shared with family and friends. The CocoTerra molding system will support multiple mold rings with different patterns. It also supports the use of standard transfer sheets (colorful chocolate decorations) to allow for customized designs. The chocolate can also be re-melted and re-tempered for use with existing molds or in other recipes.
Why does the machine mold the chocolate into a ring?
The CocoTerra chocolate maker uses a patented centrifugal system to dispense and mold the chocolate. There are a number of advantages to molding chocolate using our method. First, chocolate is very viscous and difficult to move. By spinning the chamber, we don’t rely on gravity to move the chocolate: rather, we control the flow rate and force by changing the rotation speed of the chamber. Second, we want to make sure that the chocolate completely fills the mold without any air gaps or bubbles. A centrifuge is very efficient at this, compared to the typical approach of using a vibration table or by banging the mold onto a hard surface over and over. Finally, by spinning the mold, our system convectively cools the chocolate to help with solidification. The resulting output of such a design will be a ring of chocolate. The CocoTerra approach requires little to no user interaction during the molding process (besides deciding on a mold design!). It’s effective, efficient and, we think, pretty cool.
Will the CocoTerra machine do chocolatiering as well as chocolate-making? What about adding inclusions and flavorings?
The initial CocoTerra machine will provide lots of opportunities to decorate, mold and customize your chocolate. CocoTerra will supply a number of recipes which includes different flavors and inclusions such as nuts, raisins and candy canes, but you are also free to create your own. Just be sure not to add any wet ingredients since this can ruin the chocolate. We expect the chocolatiering possibilities to grow over time.
How do you clean the machine?
Cleaning is fast and easy! There are two parts of the machine that require cleaning: the mold and the chocolate chamber. The mold (which is comprised of a top half, a bottom half and a filter ring) can be rinsed in the sink with warm water or simply put in the dishwasher. Our goal is to make the chamber dishwasher safe as well. But even without going in the dishwasher, the chocolate chamber is easy to clean. Adding some warm water to the chamber and swirling around the processing media (the balls) actually allows the balls to clean the entire inside surface of the chamber, and the water just comes out the opening in the bottom of the cup. The lip of the chamber can be cleaned with a small brush. The entire process takes five minutes or less.
Ingredients and Accessories
What products will CocoTerra sell besides the machine? Will CocoTerra sell accessories? Recipe kits? Bulk ingredients?
CocoTerra will provide the complete consumer experience from buying ingredients to selecting or creating recipes, to making the chocolate, to sharing with friends and family. CocoTerra has developed an intuitive mobile app to accompany our machine, giving our customers additional ways to create new recipes, experiment with different flavors, manage their machine, shop for ingredients and accessories, and learn about chocolate. We will also sell ingredients like cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and inclusions, as well as accessories and gifting supplies directly through this app and our website.
Does the CocoTerra machine require ingredient “pods”?
No. The initial CocoTerra is an open system. There are so many incredible chocolate recipes that a pod-based system wouldn’t be able to scratch the surface of what people could make with CocoTerra. CocoTerra will provide all the ingredients necessary to make standard chocolate recipes . The starting input for CocoTerra is cocoa nibs (users who source whole cocoa beans will just have to roast and winnow/de-shell them to be able to use them with their CocoTerra machine).
Does the CocoTerra machine work with different cacao origins and ingredients from other suppliers?
Yes! CocoTerra will be partnering with many companies to provide a variety of nibs and other inputs from around the world, as we want our customers to enjoy making chocolate with the broadest possible range of ingredients. We will offer a large selection of ingredients on our own site that have been tested and tasted, and that are optimized for our machine. But users will also be able to source their own cocoa nibs (it may take some experimenting to come up with the appropriate recipe parameter to yield a high-quality output). We look forward to hearing about how our customers are making chocolate with nibs and flavors from all over.
Pricing and Availability
When will the CocoTerra machine be available for purchase?
We are working on getting our machine into production and will disclose more about launch timing in the coming months.
How much will the CocoTerra machine and app cost?
We haven’t yet disclosed pricing for the CocoTerra machine. We can say that we expect the initial model to be in the range of other new, breakthrough appliances, and that there will range of price points over time, as we expand our product line and ramp our volumes. The companion app, which has not yet been released, will be free.
What is your partnership strategy? How do I partner with CocoTerra?
We are excited to partner with companies who will work with us to bring recipes, nibs, other ingredients, accessories and machines to market, as we believe users should have a range of choices to enhance their chocolate-making experience. If you are interested in working with us, please reach out to us here. We will disclose partners in the coming months.
How will the products be sold/distributed?
Initially we plan to sell our products directly, on our own website, and ship within the United States. Thereafter we expect to sell through additional channels such as online catalogs, cooking retailers and specialty appliances stores as well as countries around the world.
What does “CocoTerra” mean?
While “CocoTerra” doesn’t have a direct meaning, we selected this name because it conveys the essence of our story: chocolate from the ground up, in terms of starting with the basic ingredients, and also with your own ideas for flavors and form factors. In addition, the passion for chocolate is global, so we wanted a name that would have positive connotations and be wonderful-sounding in as many languages as possible. Finally, of course, it’s a name we could protect as a trademark in our relevant product categories.
What does the CocoTerra brand stand for?
The CocoTerra brand stands for the magic of making chocolate. We promise to unlock this magic for customers around the world in delightful and surprising ways. Our values support this brand promise: tradition with technology, accessibility from farmer to consumer, transparency in the making and in our business.
I have a million other questions for CocoTerra. How do I get more information?
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