Failed Attempts

It seems less than optimistic to talk about failed attempts when the attempt isn’t finished yet, but I guess it’s a good time to say that an attempt can still be worth it even if it doesn’t succeed. I have a lot of confidence in myself and my projects, it’s just that from experience I know that many of my attempts will fail. They fail because I attempt things that I have no idea how to do, have never done before, and maybe just am not capable of or equipped to do.

My current endeavor is to try to make chocolate from raw cocoa fruits. On a hike last week we found a lot of trees with ripe cocoa and the boys picked a couple to eat (you open them up and suck the mucus/fruit off of the beans). I picked a bunch to lug around imagining in my head how I could make chocolate and how cool that would be. 

I looked up how to make chocolate from raw cocoa fruit and discovered that it’s a very long process. I’m going to be here for just less than the amount of time that it supposed to take, so I’m trying to speed things up just a tiny bit (although that seems dangerous since  I’ve never done it before and if the timing is off it will apparently taste terrible).

The first step was fermentation. I read articles about how you need a box, the right type of box and the right type of environment, et cetera. Of course I just put them in an old cardboard box in which I punched a few holes so it could drain out the bottom a bit. The beans were supposed to ferment for five (to seven) days, but I cut it down to four to try to gain back a little time. I am inclined to believe that the fermentation worked, because after four days in the box smelled like old wine. That means they fermented right?

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The beans inside are covered in a mucus that is somehow both sweet and tart.
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My awesome fermentation setup.

The next step is drying them, which is supposed to take about a week. Since I leave a week from yesterday I’m hoping that they’ll dry faster than that. I read that to dry them they are sometimes left out in the sun or put through an industrial drying machine. I certainly don’t have the drying machine and the sun option is shaky as it supposed to be kind of rainy the next week. Still, it’s at least sunny today, so I have them sitting on the roof. In a few days I may put them in the oven at a low temperature for a little bit to see if that will speed the drying process without making them bitter.

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Drying the beans on the roof!

Sometimes I feel trepidation about telling people about ventures like these because I already know that my chances of success are low, and then when I talk to people I feel like they tend to look at me like “that’s never going to work because you’ve clearly never done it and you don’t know what you’re doing and why are you wasting your time.” But I think it’s important to try stuff like this out because even if even if you fail you’ve learned something or had fun, hopefully, and if you succeed then you’ve really learned something and have a cool outcome. At this point maybe I should write something inspirational about how you should try random new things out but I don’t know that that would help because you’re probably either believe that or you don’t.

Here is a quote from a famous guy about whom I know very little:
“The greatest failure is the failure to try.” – William Ward

And we’ll see how the chocolate-making goes 🙂

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