Josh Bahen is one half of Josh and Jacqui – the duo that is Bahen & Co. Based on the family farm in Margaret River, Western Australia, Josh and Jacqui swayed from their careers in wine making to chocolate. They produce a traditional style of chocolate that returns to a slower pace of a previous time.
We asked Josh to take us through a typical day behind the scenes of this beautiful brand.
“My day starts early. The alarm goes off at 5am but it’s not straight into work. Most mornings I hit the beach for a walk. We live in such a wild and remote part of the world and my morning walks keep me very grounded before the energy of day-to-day life comes into play. If it’s light enough and there is surf I’ll often jump in for a quick paddle.”
Josh and Jacqui both work to their strengths, which has defined quite separate roles for them within the business. Jacqui manages the design elements and new concepts for the business while Josh focuses on the farming, beans sourcing and chocolate making.
“Bean sourcing is by far the most rewarding part of my job. Working with a farmer who grows, ferments and then sun dries the crop is a complex and artful process. As cacao is an agricultural product there are many variables from nature that come into play. You never know what the quality and flavour of the beans will be like until they are slowly roasted in our vintage German roaster. This is the point in the journey where you can grasp the potential of the harvest.”
Josh has sourced, developed and nurtured relationships with farmers in Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and Brazil. By trading direct, Bahen & Co exceed Fair Trade and pay prices they believe respect the farmer’s efforts.
And the least favourite part of Josh’s job? No surprises there.
“Paying taxes. Haha – as the proverb goes, ‘nothing is certain but death and taxes.’”
While lunch could be anything for Josh on any given day (the only constant is at least one bar of dark chocolate), dinner is a little more routine.
“We always sit down for a family dinner. It’s the best part of the day – eating something tasty and simple. Our life revolves around family and food. It’s a simple life in our small beach side town and we like to keep it that way.”
It’s a philosophy that flows through to the chocolate making – the two ingredient, small batch product respects flavour and connects back to the source, preserving the taste of distant flavours.