PipeVine Chocolate: A Combination of Experience and Knowledge

PipeVine Chocolate: A Combination of Experience and Knowledge

After a year of research and development, chocolate maker Rusty Bogart founded PipeVine Chocolate in September 2016. Rusty combined his experience as a scientist and the remarkable shared knowledge of the craft chocolate community to create an incredible line of fine flavor chocolates.

It all happened while he was attending Humboldt State University in Northern California. Rusty became friends with two incredible individuals – Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor. Even though Rusty moved away to Chico, California, he watched as these two men successfully built Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. After tasting a few of their single origin bars, Rusty was hooked by the incredible flavors of craft chocolate and was inspired to start making his own chocolate.

In 2015, Rusty decided to go on a hunt to figure out how to make chocolate. He learned, like most other craft makers, how to make his own equipment and modify other equipment to work with chocolate. For him, the hardest and most frustrating part of making chocolate was tempering. So, instead of learning how to hand temper on a marble slab, he purchased a small tempering machine that could temper about 15 pounds of chocolate at a time. He was now committed. 

He later learned to master the art of roasting. He thought, “I could roast two ways, by placing beans on trays in a convection oven or with a rotating drum. The drum offered two important advantages – even roasts as the beans tumble, and I could get better repeatability, not having to open the oven door to stir the beans and lose heat.”

After being inspired by another craft chocolate maker, he decided to build his own roaster using an electric oven, a recycled half horsepower motor and stainless steel pipes from an old juice factory. Working with a welder friend, they designed and built a roaster that could handle 10 pounds of cacao per roast.

Now with the equipment set up, Rusty and his wife spent weeks roasting and evaluating flavors from different cacao beans. They would taste the beans right out of the roaster, recording how temperature and flavors change over time. Rusty said, “I remember roasting Belize for the first time. At lower temperatures, I tasted a banana flavor, and then after letting the roast continue, I only tasted pistachio nuts. I soon realized the importance of roasting profiles, and I learned that I could truly craft my chocolate into the flavors I liked best.”

PipeVine Chocolate focuses on creating sustainable relationships, while also supporting ethical and environmentally friendly farming practices. PipeVine teams up with farms and co-ops from around the world to bring out unique flavors of the beans.

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