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Mar 27, 2014

Chocolate 302: The Story of Cafe Ingredients (in Hawaii)

Last April, a bunch of us Dandelions visited Steelgrass farms in Hawaii. It wasn’t what I was expecting from a farm. Steelgrass was lush and somewhat hilly, and nothing close to the monoculture farms I had always driven past on roadtrips as a child. Mostly it was beautiful, serene, full of interesting tropical plants, and warm hosts who quickly became friends.

The big house in which we stayed had an open living room/kitchen which was the perfect place for all of us to converge for communal dinners and conversation. Even now, a nostalgic feeling of enchantment sinks in when I think of the outdoor shower surrounded by brightly flowering bushes for privacy.

Fun in Hawaii

Enjoying Hawaii: Relaxing morning at Steelgrass Farms, Hiking, Snorkeling, Beach Time, Tasting new tropical fruits, Feeding the chickens at Steelgrass,

Exploring the cacao farm felt like an Easter egg hunt searching for ripe cacao pods.  While I knew a lot about the theory of harvest and fermentation, it’s the little details you can only learn from actually doing it yourself.  Like the sour smell of fermentation, the feel of an overripe pod, and the delicately sweet taste of fresh cacao pulp.

Exploring Cacao at Steelgrass Farms

Exploring Cacao Processing at Steelgrass Farms

We had such a great time visiting Steelgrass Farms, that we decided to invite all of you to join us and include some of the other ingredients we use in our cafe. So, we’re excited to announce Chocolate 302: The Story of Cafe Ingredients at Steelgrass Farms, Hawaii.


Participants will get their hands dirty harvesting cacao pods, fermenting beans, and preparing them for drying. You’ll also have informational tours and hands on experiences to learn about other foods used in our cafe: sugar, honey, vanilla and coffee. You’ll make you’re own vanilla extract to take home, try your hand at beekeeping (if you’re willing) and even plant a cacao tree. It will all be interspersed with down time to hit up the beach, hike nearby trails or head off on your own.

Chocolate 302: The Story of Cafe Ingredients Itinerary
Note: Agenda is tentative & subject to change

3 Harvest 3

June 29th – July 6th

Steelgrass Farms, Kauai, Hawaii (near Kapaa)

  • Introduction: Arrival July 29th
  • Chapter 1: CHOCOLATE PART I – Tour Steelgrass Farms, chocolate tasting, harvest cacao pods, start cacao fermentation
  • Chapter 2: VANILLA – Vanilla processing demo & tasting, Make own vanilla extract
  • Chapter 3: NON-CAFE FOODS /ACTIVITY DAY – Macadamia Nuts, Coconuts, Snorkeling, Beach Time, Hiking
  • Chapter 4: COFFEE – Farm & roasting tour, Sunset at Waiamea Canyon
  • Chapter 5: SWEETENERS – Sugar cane demo, Honey & Beekeeping, Mead making demo, Luau
  • Chapter 6: CHOCOLATE PART II – Finish cacao fermentation/start drying, Beach Bonfire Dinner
  • Conclusion: Departure July 6th


Prices Start at: $1770 (including lodging, meals, ground transportation, activities; excluding airfare)

For more information or to reserve your spot, contact us at Trips@dandelionchocolate.com. Or attend our Info Session on April 15th in our Cafe.


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