One-man Chocolate Factory Flourishes


Vocabulary 単語

[ˈwɪnoʊər] (noun)
– a machine that blows air through grain in order to remove its outer covering
e.g.A winnower cracks and discards the husks in the process, grinding the beans into small bits.

[ˈɡraɪndər] (noun)
– a machine or tool for grinding (breaking or crushing) a solid substance into a powder
e.g.The old coffee grinder is so loud!

[ˈgʊrmeɪ] (adjective)
– of high quality and often expensive
e.g.Every time she cooks for me, she makes some kind of gourmet meal.

trial and error
[ˈtraɪəl ənd ˈerər] (phrase)
– a way of finding a good method that involves trying several possibilities and learning from your mistakes
e.g.I figured out how to use the new machine by trial and error.

[bætʃ] (noun)
– an amount of food, medicine, etc. produced at one time
e.g.She took the first batch of cookies out of the oven.

Article ニュース記事

One-man Chocolate Factory Flourishes

The main ingredient in Ben Rasmussen’s one-man chocolate factory in Woodbridge, Virginia, is cocoa beans.

“Once the beans are cracked in the winnower, the nibs, which is the meat of the bean, goes into the grinder. … And it just spins round and round and grinds the nibs into liquid called cocoa liquor. To that I add sugar. That is all my chocolate is. Just cocoa beans and sugar,” he said.

Rasmussen’s love of chocolate started about eight years ago when he tasted a sample of gourmet dark chocolate. He said he fell in love with it instantly and started learning to make it himself.

“I learned how to make it just through the Internet and trial and error and kind of teaching myself on reading old books and just doing it, got some used equipment and started messing around with it, fell in love with the process, and that’s basically how it started,” he said.

In very short order, his company, Potomac Chocolate, was born. The bar from the first batch of chocolate he made in his kitchen was a finalist in that year’s Good Food Awards, which is based out of San Francisco.

“That bar also won an Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2011,” Rasmussen added. “I won a couple of Academy of Chocolate Awards and a few International Chocolate Awards for four different bars.”

Winning those awards led to a high demand for his chocolate, and soon he moved his production out of his kitchen and to his basement, where he now makes the chocolates. Rasmussen also has built most of his equipment by himself. But chocolate-making is not his full-time job.

“I’m a Linux system administrator, a computer nerd,” Rasmussen said. “So finding out how to balance the work at my day job and chocolate is a real struggle, especially considering the fact that I’ve got family, four kids; I am a busy guy.”

The busy guy makes about 140 kilos (300 pounds) of chocolate every couple of weeks, and sells it online and in high-end gourmet specialty stores and coffee shops.

Rasmussen’s cocoa beans are from four places: Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Each of his 10 flavored bars indicates the origin on the wrapping.

“I make all of the chocolate myself, so it’s a very small company, but it continues to grow,” he said. “Every year has been better than the year before. Last year was the best by far.”

Questions 質問

1What ingredients does Rasmussen use to make chocolate?
2How did Rasmussen learn to make chocolate?
3What is Rasmussen’s full-time job?
4Where can one buy Rasmussen’s chocolate from?

Discussion 議論

1What do you think about Ben Rasmussen?
2Do you generally buy craft products?
3Do you eat a lot of chocolate? Why or why not?


Advanced Exercises 発展問題

The following exercises are for an additional lesson.

Summary まとめ

Please make a short summary of the article that you have just read. (1-2 minutes)

For and Against 同意と反対

Bring arguments first in favor of, and then against the idea that small businesses like Rasmussen’s can’t survive for a long time. (2-3 minutes each)

Discussion 2 議論

1Have you ever owned a business? Why or why not?
2If you had enough money at your disposal, what business would you like to start? Why?
3Can small businesses be competitive in today’s market? Why or why not?
4How important do you think marketing is for a business? Why?
5If you’re going to run a small business, you need to know what everyone is doing, be the first one in and the last one out, and work weekends. Glenn Mazzara. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
6You are not your résumé, you are your work. Seth Godin. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

Video Exercise ビデオ問題

Watch the video in the article and answer the following questions.

1Take a look at the video. What do you think about the equipment Ben Rasmussen uses to make chocolate?
2Does the chocolate-making process seem difficult to you? Why or why not?
3After watching the video, would you describe Rasmussen as being passionate about his work or not? Why?
4What surprised you most about Rasmussen’s chocolate-making operation? Why?

Quoted from VOA:
*The present article might have been slightly altered to suit the purpose of English study.
*The original article is subject to deletion or changes by the publisher.