The Great Chocolate Boom

The explosive growth of a mass market for chocolate from the 1880s transformed the world cocoa economy more radically than at any other time in history.  The consumption of chocolate increased more rapidly than that of either coffee or tea in the West, and prices held up better…World imports of cocoa beans grew ninefold between 1870 and 1897, whereas those of tea doubled, and those of coffee rose only by about half…Consumption of cocoa per head rose by a factor of nearly six in Britain between 1870 and 1910, while that o f tea did not even double, and that of coffee actually fell by half.

That is William G. Clarence-Smith in the new, excellent, and self-recommending The Economics of Chocolate, edited by Mara P. Squicciarini and Johan Swinnen.


From my encyclopedic memory, the keypoints of this story are: (1) chocolate in solid form is an expensive industrial process, and Belgium was the first to perfect these machines; chocolate in primitive "Mayan" form is a liquid drink, (2) chocolate and sugar consumption both rose dramatically, (3) cacao when in high concentration gives a bitter taste that I enjoy, (4) the cacao nut is found in the Philippines and they make little balls of it for domestic consumption, but it's not chocolate, more like ground cacao (5) Nestle has patented a form of chocolate bar that stores in the tropics better, (6) chocolate is an excellent cough suppressant, (7) artisan chocolate manufacture is making a comeback in Vancouver and/or California, not Belgium, though I'm sure the latter has such shops, and, (8) different strains of chocolate have unique tastes, like the terroir in wine, and the Davao region of the Philippines has more and more durian pulled up and substituted for chocolate (cacao) plants lately (boo, hiss! I like the smelly durian).

That's just from my memory. if the book doesn't cover most of these points it's basura (trash).

First again. I Googled this: "According to an Italian study, a small square (20 g) of dark (bittersweet) chocolate every three days is the ideal dose for cardiovascular benefits. Eating more does not provide additional benefits." That's quite a small dose. Like alcohol, it seems the dosage people want and what's good for you is vastly different.

I don't like dark chocolate.

Should coffee technically be called a soup?


The stuff the chains sell should largely be called coffee-flavoured warm milk drink.

I don't agree but it's probably matter of taste die to the relative poverty of England vis-A-vis the US. Starbucks in the UK maybe cannot afford to use quality ingredients. Overall being able to afford to add milk products and chocolate or other sweet products to ones coffee is a sign of increased wealth. I usually go through my day with 3 or 4 grandee frappes from Starbucks

Aren't those like 450 calories, each? Who are you, Michael Phelps?

Yes ;)
But in truth I manage to keep up a dedicated exercise regimen so I haven't noticed any adverse effects: I Park my car a good 5 min walk away from the entrance of my office Park every morning. I'm usually ready for that refreshing trapped when I get to the lobby.

The Starbucks I have particularly in mind is in Philly.

Well, you've got a better metabolism than I do goin' for ya.

If you drink Starbucks coffee, I am afraid you are missing out on the delights of real espresso (nb: I consider a latte to be a serious coffee, lest there be a purist in the crowd).

So you are comparing the growth of a newly emerging industry from a nerly zero base to the growth of long established relatively mature industries.. It would be amazing if you did not get comparisons of growth rates like this.

If you compared the growth of tea, coffee and maybe cotton in the very early stages of their growth you would get much more meaningful comparisons.

You are not really providing a meaningful comparison of the rapid growth of chocolate consumption.

+1; this was the first thing that also hit me. Tyler's a smart enough guy with numbers that he should not have trolled with this quote.

As I recall, there are very few cacao plantations -- most production is on small mom-and-pop operations in the Third World. They also remove the beans from the pods, then sell to the processor who performs the fermentation step and dries the beans, which are then shipped to First World companies for roasting and the remainder of the chocolate-making process.

I've had a few unfermented dried cacao beans, and they are off-white and almost flavorless, sort of like a cashew. Unroasted fermented beans are a dark purplish-brown color and taste quite good. You can find them in some Mexican food stores. Cacao doesn't become cocoa until it's roasted.

There's a small chocolate factory in Portland OR that ferments, roasts, and processes its own cacao into chocolate. They give free tours; the fermenting cacao smells like ... fermenting something, sour-ish and unpleasant. Aside from that everything smelled good or neutral.

I've read that the liquid which comes off during fermentation is like a flavorful vinegar. The same author speculated it could be commercial developed into a product of its own.

I wonder how they can get the fresh beans quickly enough to do the fermentation in Portland. I suppose they must be importing whole fruit and breaking them up in Portland. That's not very green -- they would be shipping a lot of material which doesn't become chocolate. The pods are very thick. Alternatively, they might freeze the fresh beans and ship them frozen. I'll bet their chocolate must be very expensive.

Hold on, I didn't write that. What sort of numpty would eat choco diggies with tea? Madness!

So who is false-flagging me? And why bother?

The false-flagger is presumably American. Not only is he unsound on bikkies, he writes "a couple biscuits" instead of "a couple of biscuits".

And finally it must be noted that I always take tea with Garibaldis

Tea with Mussolini

That's another fake one. I suppose this amuses a small mind somewhere: loony bin perhaps?

Re previous: Do witchcraft beliefs hurt economic progress?

Chocolate is a by-product of witchcraft

"""Hysteria: From Witchcraft to Chocolate?"""

and Halloween is a significant factor for the candy economy

"""The Halloween Economy: $2 Billion in Candy, $300 Million in Pet Costumes""""

A secret recipe for cocoa drink

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