[AfrICANN-discuss] Chocolate.com -- this is fun and yummy

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Mon Apr 21 12:32:37 SAST 2008


there are two articles that I liked in this week's economist -- both have
substances that shoot me the good way. This one is more Internet like so
some of you may not thrown at me ;-) and the other is about coffee :


Technology start-ups

Apr 17th 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO
>From *The Economist* print edition
A start-up innovates in an unexpected field

TCHO, a small company based in a warehouse in San Francisco, sounds like a
typical high-tech start-up. The brainchild of an engineer who previously
worked on computer-vision systems for the space shuttle, the firm is
developing "beta" versions of its new product. Volunteer testers are invited
to submit feedback via the web. Louis Rossetto, the co-founder of *Wired*, a
technology magazine, is on board as chief executive. All the employees have
stock options. But Tcho is not about to launch a new website or mobile
device; it is a technology firm that makes chocolate.

Its founders believe there is vast scope for innovation in the way chocolate
is made and sold. Most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate, and
produce cocoa beans without any idea of how they will be used, says Timothy
Childs, Tcho's founder. The resulting chocolate is classified and sold in a
very unsophisticated way, labelled at best by country of origin and
percentage cocoa solids. (It is rather like labelling a wine "France, 13%
alcohol".) So Mr Childs wants to put things on a more technical footing—just
as Americans formalised techniques for winemaking in the 1970s. He has
developed ways to analyse and grade beans, and a six-segment "flavour wheel"
to map out their natural aromas. Using a variety of jury-rigged spice
grinders, heaters and temperature sensors, he has worked out how to get
cocoa beans to reveal their complex flavours and to get chocolate to
solidify evenly.
Click Here!]<http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/main.economist.com/businessart;pos=v5_art350x300;sect=business;sz=350x300;tile=1;ord=41343992?>

Tcho is also working with cocoa growers, in conjunction with two research
groups it has equipped with satellite-internet connections, to help them
improve the quality and consistency of their beans. Tcho hopes that the most
effective techniques will then spread in an "open source" fashion to other
growers. Beans will be turned into chocolate on Tcho's elaborate production
line, which is being used as a test-bed for remote video-monitoring of
industrial processes by researchers at Fuji Xerox in Palo Alto.

The firm will sell much of its chocolate to other food companies, for use in
other products. Such customers, says Mr Rossetto, like the idea of buying
chocolate based on a consistent flavour profile; Tcho's flavour wheel could
become a de facto industry standard, he suggests, as IBM's PC did in the
computer industry. Tcho will also sell chocolate using its
and through a shop and visitors' centre due to open in the summer.

San Francisco, a capital of food culture as well as technology, is the
logical place to produce a high-tech chocolate. John Kehoe, Tcho's sourcing
director, says chocolate is going down the trail blazed by speciality
coffee, as consumers become more discerning. Chocolate today, he says, is
where coffee was five years ago. Having been ahead of the curve with *Wired*,
which launched just as the web was emerging, Mr Rossetto seems to have
spotted another trend.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://lists.afrinic.net/pipermail/africann/attachments/20080421/05df735e/attachment-0001.htm

More information about the AfrICANN mailing list