Archive by Author

Drug Lords? What Drug Lords?

In the United States, what crosses many people’s minds when they think of South and Central America is that it’s home to drug lords: visions of great big haciendas with enormous spreads of land perfectly manicured, guards dotting the landscape, armed to the teeth with machine guns, waiting for an armed encounter with the Federales […]

How I Crashed in the Dominican Republic

I start to write this from my hospital bed in the village of San Francisco in the Dominican Republic. We buy some of our cocoa beans from this area. Yesterday, I was in a big car accident. What happened? We were run off the road by a bus. Driving in the Dominican Republic is always […]

I Don’t Care What They Pay Me for My Cocoa!

Cocoa Farmer near lake Marcaibo in Venezuela

In my experience, cocoa farmers have an incredible connection to the land on which they grow their cocoa. The cocoa tree, an amazing tree, grows cocoa pods off the side of its trunk and branches. Each pod is shaped like a small Nerf football and holds about forty beans. The pods come in an amazing […]

The History of Amano’s Winnowing Machine

Each piece of machinery at Amano has its own story. One of our most treasured machines is our winnowing machine. It is beautiful and nearly 100 years old, and each and every person who visits our factory is amazed at its beauty. But before I tell the story of our winnowing machine and how we […]

Chocolate for the Farmers in Ecuador

One of the greatest privilege I have is to be able to take finished chocolate back to the farmers who helped grow the cocoa that we use. In most cocoa growing countries, it is rare for the farmers to eat chocolate made with their own beans. The hot temperatures in the tropics where cocoa is […]

How Much Caffeine is in Chocolate?

Caffeine Molecule

How Much Caffeine is in Chocolate? People often ask us, “Does chocolate have caffeine?” and if so, “How much caffeine is in chocolate?” For the record, chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine. Chocolate also contains another closely related substance called theobromine in much larger levels, and the presence of these two closely related substances has […]