How Elisia of Raphio Chocolate started making craft chocolate
Elisia of Raphio Chocolate was born and raised in Indonesia. She pursued higher education in the US at the age of 17 when she attended Fresno State. She received two degrees in Business Management and Interior Design. After finishing school, she worked full time as a design professional for a few years. Later, Elisia switched her focus to be a stay-at-home mom to care for her two boys.
With no culinary background, Elisia took an intensive chocolate course with Chef Melissa Coppel to learn the chocolate-making process. It was through a process of trial and error that made her improve her craft and become who she is today.
Together with her full-time civil engineer husband Yohanes, they started Raphio, which is a portmanteau of their sons’ names – Raphael and Rio. The couple’s mission is to produce pure chocolate that is good and healthy for everyone including their children. Raphio Chocolate’s pure chocolate is made from ethically-sourced cacao beans, organic sugar and a touch of cocoa butter to yield extra smooth and melty chocolate. No lecithin or preservatives of any kind are added.
Elisia and Yohanes started with the idea of importing cacao beans from Indonesia as they were not available in the US due to FDA Import Alert caused by the historically high violation rate in the import of raw cacao beans. It was a challenging process and they jumped through many hoops to get the beans into the US. Even with all their efforts, they were not successful in penetrating the US market.
They learned that Indonesia’s cacao beans do not match the quality standards that craft chocolate makers are looking for. They have not given up though and will continue to work on bringing the beans into the US as they believe that Indonesia, along with the other Southeast Asian countries, possess huge potential for producing high-quality cacao beans as proven by the success of some well-known pioneers in the craft chocolate world such as Marou and Askinosie.
Elisia and Yohanes point out that most of the chocolates that people love are industrial commodity products, made with a long list of ingredients. They believe that chocolates shouldn’t be made that way. Pure chocolate is easy to make using simple ingredients such as cocoa and sugar. To them, knowing where the chocolate comes from and how it is made is the key to understanding and enjoying chocolate in its purest form.