Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Theo Chocolates and Chaco Cafe

Leaving school at 5:00 in the morning was tiring; the bus ride to Logan Airport was freezing; the six hours flight was not the greatest thing, but those concerns diminished when Seattle welcomed us with warm sunshine. With “Go Patriot” in mind, we started our first official day in Seattle.

After a breakfast at Seattle’s very own Starbucks, we went off to Theo Chocolate Factory for a sustainable tour. Theo Chocolate is the first organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country with a founding principle that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can be produced in an entirely ethical and sustainable fashion.

Theo chocolate factory uses cacao beans from three organic farms from Panama, Congo and Peru. The factory tour guide specifically introduced the process of how to make cacao beans into chocolate for us. The factory only uses foods grown without synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizer that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO's). The picture is only a couple bins full of cacao beans waiting to be roasted.

All the beans in the yellow bin would go into this giant machine to be fermented. Unlike coffee beans, cacao beans need more monitoring while roasting. The workers have to cut the beans open to see if the beans are ready to be in the next process of changing into a chocolate bar.

The beans in the red bins are already fermented and crushed into cacao nibs. They are ready to be put into the big green machine. The green machine is used to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. After about 12 hours of milling, mixing begins, and sugar is combined with cocoa liquor.

After tasting many different kinds of chocolate in the factory, we took a walk down Seattle’s streets before our sustainable meal in Chaco Canyon café.
Chaco Canyon Café provides a unique, environmentally conscious, and organic dining experience to the Seattle community. The café uses all sustainably produced, organic, eco-friendly, and local ingredients while balancing it with keeping the cost of food reasonable for the community. The manager later talked to the group about how the café was founded and why they decided to be organic. She mentioned in Seattle it is like “peer pressure” to be organic, since organic is everywhere.

After a short rest in the hotel, the group decided to visit downtown Seattle again. On our way to the waterfront, we saw a drummer on the street performing. Even Seattle’s drummer is sustainable!

Next to the waterfront, the view was breathtaking. Part of the group decided to go on a ferris wheel. On the ferris wheel, you get to see the view of the majority of downtown Seattle.

written by: Siqi W 
photo credits: Oscar A

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