The time has come - earlier this year we opened our factory in Honesdale, PA! While we continue to expand our farm in West Africa, we've taken the leap by opening our own chocolate factory and coffee roasting company.
No Ordinary Barn
The story of the space we chose begins in the 1940's with the construction of a dairy barn operated by a monk monastery. Later, the Himalayan Institute acquired the 400 acres campus and used the barn for its printing press and later its herbal medicine lab. Today, this renovated space is Moka Origins’ fully functioning coffee roastery and chocolate factory, located in Honesdale, PA, and serving a worldwide community.
We began our renovations with floor refinishing, upgrading electricity and constructing a separate production room. Then we repaired and repainted the walls to feature Moka Origins branding.
We built a space for roasting, a workstation for winnowing, tasting areas for our team of experts to test and compare chocolates and coffees, storage and refrigeration spaces, and a temperature controlled room for tempering and finishing our chocolate. And of course, we have a space set aside for the local community to taste and purchase our products.
In this 10-month renovation process, our equipment also got a serious upgrade. When we first started making our coffee and chocolate, we were using a simple one-pound sample roaster to make coffee, and the idea of being able to make mass quantities of chocolate was still a dream.
But as the renovations of our barn progressed and we were able to begin greater production, we upgraded to a brand new commercial roasting machine. We built a winnower by hand after a year of designing and experimenting. We initially did our refining with a traditional Indian dhal grinder fitted for chocolate production, but we’ve recently upgraded to a 600 pound commercial stone refiner.
It’s incredible how much we’ve learned from starting out on such basic and seemingly arcane equipment. Using small, cost-effective machines along with a meticulous and well-crafted process can produce incredible (and incredibly tasty) results if you work hard and absorb all you can about every method used in making your product. This avenue can lead to a strong foundation for greater commercial ventures. The care we have taken at every level of starting this business sees its fruits in how wonderfully our space has accommodated our needs. There can be innovation in the smallest or even the oldest of spaces! A living structure, with a history of its own, this old barn gave us new life, helping us to create a social venture in which we could give back to our community while making ethically sourced and insanely delicious coffee and chocolate.