The Saal name is well-known on the Peninsula, where the family has been very involved in the Jewish community. But Nate Saal is hoping to be recognized for something else: inventing the first bean-to-bar chocolate machine for home consumers.
The CocoTerra machine is in production for a release early next year, and is open now for preorders, but the idea for this venture was cooked up in 2013.
The proverbial “aha moment” came while Saal was doing a chocolate tasting years ago with his brother-in-law, who is in the coffee business. They started discussing how much chocolate and coffee had in common — both start out as beans and, at least early on, were used for beverages (solid chocolate came later). And both require processing before they can be consumed.
Saal, a Palo Alto resident, has a background in science and tech, not food. However, he has long enjoyed making his own olive oil and wine and raising bees for honey, and…