Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cappuccino chocolate bar (or, using espresso beans to make "chocolate")

Bryan G., one of my pastry sous, had the notion that it was in fact possible to make "chocolate" using coffee beans. So of course it cannot be considered chocolate in the strict technical sense, but the result would be chocolate-like. After all, the nature of the coffee bean and the cacao bean are similar, and they go trough a similar process (drying, fermenting, toasting, etc.) before they are used for what they are intended. This is what brought the idea about.

The method was to make the "chocolate" exactly the same way it would be made if cacao beans were being used.
The final texture and consistency were identical to chocolate. Except it tasted as if you were drinking a quintuple espresso in one shot.

At the end of the day we had to combine it with another house made chocolate (the Cote d'Ivoire) to make it palatable. At this point, it only made sense to make it a mocha themed bar, or cappuccino, which made the selection for the filling obvious: white chocolate, since it contains the largest proportion of milk solids of any chocolate. We didn't just make a white chocolate ganache, we made the bubble chocolate using the whipper and nitrogen charges. This would give the chocolate and aerated look and feel, meant to emulate the foam in a cappuccino. I know, clever huh?


  1. This is interesting - does that mean a coffee bean has roughly the same amount of fat as a cacao bean? So did the "coffee chocolate" become liquid-ey when you were refining it? Did it set hard afterwards?

  2. Gareth: no, what the coffee bean contributes would be the equivalent of the liquor in cacao beans. We added cocoa butter and sugar. The resultin "chocolate" was identical to actual chocolate.

  3. On the flip side, there's a company in Utah selling ground chocolate to be brewed like coffee. I think this is a dialogue that has a long road ahead . . . and you've started the conversation.

  4. i made a "false chocolate" using this same method a while back, but using amaretto teeccino as my base. unfortunately, i didn't have access to anything that could grind the teeccino and sugar down finely enough to make a smooth texture, so i guess it was more of a false mexican chocolate!

  5. this isn't related to the post, but i thought you should know...
    i made my first ice cream using a recipe formulated with the modern mathematical method in Frozen Desserts today - the results were terrific! however, i did find a few things that could use correcting in future editions of the book:
    p 59 - step 12 instructs the reader to "see photo on page xxx" (the photo is on page 60)
    p 62 - step 2 refers the reader to the chart on page 69; there is no chart on page 69. rather, it is on page 61.
    also on page 62, you instruct the reader to convert various weights into kilograms in the formula to find the amount of nonfat dry milk needed. i have found that this is unnecessary; if all the measurements are left in grams, you will still arrive at the same measure of NDM. the simplified formula i use is:

    [(required weight of nonfat solids in grams) - (weight of liquid in grams x 0.092)] / 0.878

    I have also found some errors in the example calculation that follows:
    in the first step, the weight in grams of nonfat solids in 1 kg of NDM is written as 0.97, when it is actually 970 (i.e., where is "(.97 x .001)" is written, it should actually be "(970 x .001)"
    in the second step, you round (5.488 x .092) to .504; it is actually closer to .505
    in the third step, you show .64 - .504 simplified to .158. this is incorrect; .64 - .504 = .136 (alternately, .64 - .505 = .135. i will use this result from hereon)
    with this final correction, the answer should be .154 kg NDM, not .179 kg.

    when this correct amount of NDM is put into the calculations to find the measure of milk, we end up with 1946 g (not 1966 g) of all the nonmilk ingredients and 6054 g milk (not 6034 g).
    with these updated values, the final recipe comes out to the intended 8000 g base without vanilla pods.

    i hope you don't find this too critical - in fact, i am very grateful to have your book as a resource to learn from. i do hope, however, that these corrections will be made in a future edition to spare others of some confusion!

  6. Thank you Jeffrey. I hate to place the blame on the publisher, but they totally dropped the ball on that one. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page and you will see a link to where the original document is for the formula. In fact Ifirst started this blog for the people who bought my book to have a resource for the correct formula.

  7. first off, i would like to begin by saying that your creativity and ingenuity has served as neverending inspiration for me and several of my pastry colleagues. Moving right along, i was wondering what ratio you utilize for the white bubble chocolate filling in this bar. I have only attempted the technique with dark chocolate and was wondering what kind of container you utilize when you make your bubble chocolate. I have used deep hotel pans, cambro lexans, you name it, ive used it. Moreover, do you use the vaccuum technique to create larger bubbles, or just the whipper and cartridges? Lastly, have ever tried to incoporate any kind of texture or flavoring within the actual bubble chocolate? i know its alot of questions, but this is a technique i am very eager to comprehend completely and eventually master. by the way, do you know of any other professional pastry blogs that are experimenting in the same manner as yourself? i would love to explorew any suggestions you have. Thanks alot and good luck with your next post. i am looking forward to seeing what direction you will take next.

  8. Mixture is 90% white chocolate and 10% canola oil, which gives it fluidity to take in the bubbles. I use the iSi whipper only, keeping it warm throughout the process so that it does not seize in the canister. I tried the cryovac method in the past but I didn't see any worthwhile improvements.
    You can glavor the chocolate. I usually like to cryovac it with a certain ingredient, and then place it in a 32 Celsius water bath for a few hours. This completely infuses th chocolate without adding any solis to it. The best was when I used douglas fir to infuse dark chocolate, it was terrific.
    Thanks for reading.

  9. thank you very much for your advice and info chef. I really appreciate it and look forward to achieving the same fantastic results. it was a pleasure.

  10. This is amazing, although I'm unsure as to what you actually added to the cocoa butter... brewed coffee? coffee grounds?

  11. Nice to see this finally got made! I suggested the idea to Bryan while I was in class one day after I got back from my coffee expedition to Nicaragua and I wish I was there to try it. Great blog by the way chef, it's at the top of my BlogRoll.

    -Bernie Tostanowski

  12. Bernie, all due respect, this was not your idea, it was Bryan's. Come on now.

  13. That is awesome. Although the bar format makes the most of the new ingredient, I'd be really excited to see it used in applications where we'd typically use chocolate, nut pastes, or coffee. Time to revise coffee granita and sorbet.

    I'd also be curious as to the 'by-products' we can get out of this. If you were to centrifuge it, perhaps you can extract a kind of 'coffee butter' and make a 'white coffee' of sorts? Is the fat saturated? If not, we'd at least have a beautiful coffee oil. Could be a fun component in future tiramisu-inspired dishes. Was it possible to temper the chocolate prior to blending it with cacao chocolate? If the fat isn't the same, finding the right temperatures must have involved a lot of trial and error.

  14. It actually tempered exactly the same as chocolate, since cocoa butter was the main fat.