Chapter 93: That time when chocolate and cocoa made their debut in the shop
Ugajin-san was able to recover the next day after his spirit was terribly broken so I brought him and Aida-san with me to the shop in Corundum where we’ll split up to do what we planned.
「Well then, we’ll go ahead and do some prep work so you can just keep doing your thing till we’re done」
After saying that, Ugajin-san and Aida-san went towards the inn.
「Caam-san, that person from earlier was one of the heroes I mentioned before!」
「It’s fine. I already spoke with them and I don’t think they’ll bring too much harm to the island」
「What do you mean by that?」
「Well, it’s a long story but…… They requested for us to shelter the heroes」
「That’s the normal reaction when you hear about heroes and Demon Lords coexisting. However, because of various reasons I cannot talk about, I already made a promise with them so just treat it like we’ve signed a temporary peace treaty with the heroes……」
「At any rate, we’re now ready to produce the chocolate and cocoa that I mentioned before so I think we can start selling them as early as tomorrow. But before that, would you guys like to get some time off and go home for a bit?」
Hearing that, I looked at his partner who gave me a slight nod. It seems like they both agree on that.
With that settled, I went to the kitchen to begin preparations.
I took out the cacao that I already processed into cacao mass then started grinding it with the new quern I brought with me.
「It’s that simple. You grind this in the quern until it becomes powder then you put a cup of this powder into a pot and knead it together with a small amount of water. After that, you mix it while slowly heating it up then remove it from the heat just before it boils. I would have brought finished products but I was worried about how it will react to the moisture so I just brought this instead」
I poured a cup of the finished cocoa and presented it to the two of them.
「Like the last one, it’s bitter on its own so I recommend adding sugar」
Even though I said that, they just took a sip of it then closed their eyes while holding it in their mouths for a bit as if to ascertain the taste. No matter what other people say, I think that it’s a good trend to not add anything to something you’re tasting for the first time. If you don’t like it, you can just add stuff after to suit your tastes.
「It’s also good if you add cow’s milk to it so why don’t you guys try adding some」
I took out the shop’s milk stock and presented it to the two of them which they then added to their drink.
「It gives it a smoother taste as expected」
「Well then, how about you try adding sugar this time. I personally use warm milk instead of hot water but add as much sugar as you’d like and you’ll have a drink that helps you relax in the middle of the night」
After I said that, they started adding stuff to make it suit their tastes before drinking it again.
They continued to drink the warm cocoa while letting out a sigh of relief.
While they were finishing their drink, I opened the lid of a thin wooden box, took out the chocolate that was being covered by the cocoa mass, then presented it to the two of them.
「Next up, this is called chocolate. It’s made by mixing the liquid that comes out after grinding the cocoa seed with oil and sugar. Once that hardens, it becomes sweet」
I gave them bite-sized pieces for them to try out. When they put it inside their mouths, the two of them looked at each other in surprise.
「It’s sweet and really good」
「It amazing how different it is from regular candy」
「Well, it’s bad for your body if you eat too much due to its sugar and oil content」
「Is it poisonous!?」
「Anything is poisonous if you have too much of it you know? It’s just that, this has high oil and sugar content so you might become fat. The cocoa you drank is also the same if you add too much sugar since it’s pretty much just oil」
The woman worriedly looked at her stomach.
「Ah, it’s also poisonous to dogs and cats so be careful not to feed it to them. Anyway, let’s put it for sale tomorrow. Let’s also think up of what to put on the signboards」
・A new taste! It melts in your mouth faster than candy! You can even take it home and melt it to spread on your bread.
・Introducing a brand new drink from the makers of coffee! A sweet and relaxing taste. You can add things to it to suit your tastes just like coffee.
「……it seems like it’s right but isn’t that too cheap?」
「I agree. I would like to raise it a bit more」
Yep, I knew I didn’t have any sense for this but I was just writing down the facts. I don’t really know how to market it or make it more appealing to buyers after all. It makes me think how amazing copywriters are.
By the way, the price for the chocolate wasn’t increased by just a bit, it became quite significantly more expensive. That’s what was decided after considering the labor among other things but they just want to make it seem a bit luxurious don’t they?
We could buy a balance scale and sell it by weight. I’m curious how they would eat it in this world. I have a sweet tooth so I would enjoy it together with some sweet chocolate milk. I would drink the sweet chocolate milk as the chocolate dissolves in my mouth. That’s just me though and I’ll still do it no matter how people judge me!
「Well, this shop is pretty much like a billboard so as long as word gets out, it sells, and we make money then that’s all that matters」
「It’s like a sign that you put up in a high place that stands out to advertise something. To put it simply, I guess it’s kinda similar to the planks we used to advertise the shop. Wanna do that again?」
「N-no, that’s a bit……」
「Even if you say that using that method brings in more people, I just can’t do it. It’s too embarrassing for me」
「Well, I guess it can’t be helped. I’ll just do it myself. I’m already used to being embarrassed but I guess it would help to know what you’re getting into I suppose」
With that said, I went into the storage room I used to teleport to the shop and took out two boards I already made beforehand back at the island. Dual-wielding like this makes me feel like I’ve become stronger but I guess that’s just my imagination. I can’t go into battle with just these after all. It’s perfect for hate-mongering though.
Writing something like, “I have 3 gold coins in my pocket”, is probably a quick way to get attacked. That might be good when trying to attract mercenaries or something…… I won’t do it though.
「Well then, I’ll leave locking up to you」
After saying that, I wore my sandwich man costume and went out to the town.
『Coffee shop・New drink and sweets are now available』
I had that sign hanging over me as I called out to people.
「We have a new product that’s sweet and tastyー! We have free samples for those who want to tryー! It’s freeー! If you find it tasty, make sure you bring your friends and family to Coffee Shop, okay~!」
I pointed at the sign on my chest with my thumb while giving out small pieces of chocolate inside a box.
Every human and demonkin who took one reacted in the same way. They were like, “What’s this? It’s sweet and different from candy.”
While I was at it, I also handed samples to a listless, large-breasted woman from the red-light district while pointing at the sign on my chest.
「It’s alright. Some men are into ennui women after all」 1
I said that to try and cheer her up but it may have been too much as she tried to send me flying. I blocked her attack using the plank I was wearing but she just kicked my shin instead. This equipment is seriously lacking in the feet area. Maybe add a chainmail-like armor to protect the sides with a skirt armor made from molded steel and shin guards. Then, using it in real battle ……is not something I should do. What the heck am I thinking?
After managing to distribute five boxes of chocolate, I decided to call it a day and went to Nils-san’s place. I’m going there without removing this! 2
「Good afternoon. Is Nils-san around?」
「Huh? If it isn’t Caam-san. I see you’re wearing planks again. Oh? So you have a new menu huh?」
「If I had to say, this one is geared towards children and it’s pretty high-class treat」
As I said that, I opened the box’s lid and let them eat a piece of chocolate.
「Oh, it certainly does seems like something kids would be happy to eat」
「Thank you. This is expensive though. Well, I have ten boxes for advertising that I’ve brought as a gift. Nils-san probably knows of some large households and nobles so I’m thinking of asking him to sell these to them」
「You still have questionable business practices I see」
「Wouldn’t a merchant take a plunge if it’s something that might lead to a profit?」
「I’m a bit biased but it’s annoying how I can’t deny that. Isn’t that right, Caam-san?」
Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice coming from behind. When I turned around, I saw Nils-san who had a huge smile on his face.
「Iyaー since I’m here, why don’t we head inside?」
With that said, he led the way inside then took a seat.
「So? I’ve already heard about it so please let me have a taste of it first」
「Go ahead. These are samples I’ve been distributing earlier」
I opened the box and gave it to him. Nils-san took a piece then put it in his mouth.
「Let’s see. It certainly is a taste children will love. It’s completely different from last time’s sample. It would be a good present for a large clientele’s children huh……? If you were to sell these to me wholesale, how much would it cost me?」
His facial expression instantly changes whenever he throws a piece into his mouth.
「……hmm. This is the price per piece. Considering the time and effort required to make it, including the harvesting and cost of other ingredients, I’m thinking that this should be the wholesale price. If you buy in bulk, you can lower the transportation costs so it would cost even less. Also, since you’ve been a huge help to me, how about this as the price? To be honest, we can use transfer magic to completely cut the transportation costs but even then, we’re barely able to make more than two hundred」
While I was talking about that, Nils-san was all clickety clackety on his abacus. He was surprised at first when I told him about the price per piece.
In the olden days, cacao beans were used as currency. They’re still quite rare so I’m thinking of two copper for each bean. That means one box would be two large copper. It’s pretty expensive if I do say so myself but I want it to proceed in this direction.
「Hmmー. It’s surprising how you can just come up with these numbers without any real experience as a merchant. You even took it to the approximate point of compromise without me having to bargain」
「Well, as I said earlier, this price is my thanks to you. I usually bother you with stuff so I’m offering it a bit cheaper」
「However, I think it would be a shame not to negotiate」
「It’s better this way than having the scope of my trivial layman knowledge slowly getting revealed. That’s why it’s better to give a price ahead of time so things don’t get complicated」
「That certainly is true……」
「And besides, we don’t have a lot of islanders yet so that’s how much we can make at the moment. If it’s a thousand or two, it would take a considerable amount of time. In order to secure more personnel, if we get a big order, we’re willing to trade it for slaves or materials」
「Well, I have a feeling all of it is going to just go flying out of the shelves. That’s just my intuition, however. Would you prefer I pay with slaves for this time’s transaction?」
「As long as they aren’t criminal slaves. I’m trying to keep the island as peaceful as possible after all. With that said, I wonder if it would be better for us to keep enduring for a while and buy supplies while we recruit islanders or just discuss with the local feudal lord to buy a small poor village for us to take in? I wish to have demonkin islanders too but I guess we already have the harpies and aquatic kin……」
「I feel like I heard something I really shouldn’t have……」
「Hmmー. Ah? Ahh! Don’t worry about it. If you can, please stop by the store tomorrow to give our new drink a try. If I had to describe the taste, it’s like this sweet when it’s melted but diluted so it’s easier to drink」
I blatantly changed the subject by saying that while tapping on the sign that was still on my chest.
「Of course. Is that drink something you also want me to try?」
Nils-san said that as he leaned back on his chair while letting out a short sigh.
Seems like he’s also going to act like he didn’t hear anything.
「Yeah. Come to think of it, I need a weighing scale. Do you have any in stock? If not, can you recommend a store that sells them? We’re going to sell the thing used to make the drink but we’ll need a scale」
「Haa. My head’s starting to hurt. Yes, we do have some. I will get it for you so please wait a while」
After saying that, he went out and asked someone who I think was his subordinate to retrieve it before coming back to his seat.
「Ah, so you do sell them. I didn’t think I would be able to buy one right away so can I pay it at a later date?」
「That is fine. It’s just bad inventory that’s accumulating dust so I will give it to you as a present」
I gave him a bow as I said that.
Afterwards, we immediately opened the box it was in then I got a brief lesson on how to operate it. I was surprised when Nils-san touched the weights with his bare hands since I was told in elementary school science class not to. However, I stopped worrying about it after thinking it through.
I didn’t really want to have such a piece of delicate equipment after all. And besides, this world doesn’t have a standard of a kilogram or anything like that anyway.
In my previous life, I heard that they even used the length of a certain king’s arm and the size of his foot as a standard for measurement.
With that settled, I went back to the shop then set up the balance scale’s counterweight. Now that that’s done and the sign that says, “Cocoa for take out, same price as a cup” was finished, I made myself a cup of cocoa with plenty of sugar to help me get a night of better sleep.3
My body’s still hurting as usual from not being used to the bedding.
After putting back my beddings in the storage room, I wrote on the signboard then『New products: Cocoa・Chocolate』 using chalk that some hero probably introduced to this world. I placed the sign outside then waited for the two to arrive.
When they arrived, we talked about the balance scale and the price. I also let them know that I wanted to handle the counter for a while since I’m thinking of looking at the customers’ reactions.
As usual, the first customer to arrive was the clothing store lady.
「Heya. I saw the new sign. I’ll try out that cocoa thing」
She sat at her usual seat after saying that. I poured the cocoa into a cup with a bit of hot water to mix it then topped it off with more hot water afterwards before serving it. I made sure to check that there were no other customers and also served her a piece of chocolate on a small plate as a freebie.
From what I’ve heard, she has a pretty wide social circle and she’s been spreading word about coffee to them so I’ll just consider this as a small payment for that.
「Oh my, didn’t I only order the cocoa」
「You’re our only customer right now so just treat it as a freebie since you’re a regular」
「Then I will gladly accept it」
The lady took a sip of the cocoa then immediately added milk and sugar to it before trying it again. I noticed that her face relaxed after she drank it.
「It’s tasty, but in a different way from coffee. This might be good to drink when I’m feeling irritated」
She kept sipping on the cocoa until she finished about half then tossed the chocolate into her mouth. After chewing on it for a while, she washed it off with the cocoa and she became even laxer.
「These are the types of food that can corrupt people you know~? It’s pretty expensive though」
「I apologize but they are expensive because of how hard to they are to get」
「I guess it can’t be helped then~. Thanks for the treat」
With that said, she stood up from her seat then left the shop.
「Seems like we’re off to a good start」
After that, Nils-san and even the guild staff came. They tried out the drink and it was generally well-received.
It would be great if their good impressions get spread out to other people.
Author’s Note: For convenience sake, unprocessed soy milk won’t curdle in coffee or cocoa in this story.
There might be other inconsistencies to be pointed out but I would appreciate it if you read this without thinking too much about it.