CocoJet: 3-D Printing and Hershey's Chocolate, Together at Last
Chocolate-loving techies, the stuff of your sweetest dreams is here. Meet CocoJet, 3D Systems’ Hershey’s chocolate 3-D printing machine, the “tastiest new technology at CES 2015.”
Let the sweet news melt on your mind for a minute. Mmmm, yes, there’s now a delicious machine that prints. chocolate. on-demand. Imagine a MakerBot exclusively for chocolate and, wipe your lip, you’re there.
Sure, other 3-D confection wonders that came before crank out pointy hard candies and “paste extrude” Nutella desserts. And there’s even a rival 3-D printer that frosts toast and makes cookie dough, also generating buzz at CES. But those might not cut it for hardcore chocoholics.
CocoJet could. It spits out just one thing, our favorite treat -- pure, perfectly cooled mouthwatering chocolate. And somewhat surprisingly not in Hershey’s historic Kisses dollops. Rather CocoJet, designed for bakers and chocolatiers, prints rows of chocolate that add up to a yummy medley of interlocking geometric puzzle shapes.
The custom designs, none too pretty to sink your teeth into that we’ve seen so far, come in smooth dark, milk or white chocolate. Not into edgy, angular chocolate? Dream up your own tasty shapes using the accompanying software and upload away. CocoJet can handle it.
That’s the sweet news. Now for the bitter, but it’s not so bad: CocoJet isn’t a speed demon. The countertop touchscreen contraption takes all of about 15 minutes to produce a single bonbon. They look like they’re worth the wait.
Also not awesome, 3D Systems, which partnered with Hershey’s last year, isn’t saying when the printer will go on sale, nor how much it will put you back. We can’t imagine it’ll be cheap. Today’s hobby 3-D printers ring up for anywhere between $500 and $3,500, and those don’t even cook up edibles, let alone the most perfect taste bud tickler on earth.
Go on, get an eyeful of CocoJet in action below. You know you want to.
CocoJet isn’t 3D Systems’ first lick at the trendy 3-D printed food game. The South Carolina-based 3-D tech pioneer also created ChefJet, the gizmo behind the crunchy printed candies we mentioned above. The company’s first dessert printer, reportedly to come in -- hold your wallet -- $5,000 and $10,000 versions, also isn’t available for purchase yet. And ChefJet doesn’t just make colorful cakes and sugar sculptures (in flavors like cherry, watermelon, sour apple, chocolate, vanilla and mint). It also pumps out intricate architectural cake supports and cocktail decorations. Because of course it does. Keep your eyes open for ChefJet in mid-2015.
CocoJet already has some competition. Print Arsenal launched an Indiegogo campaign just this week to make its $3,800, cocoa bean-liquefying 3-D chocolate printer prototype a reality. Let the 3-D printed chocolate wars begin. We’re happy to sample the spoils.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.