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What does “bean-to-bar” mean?

While all chocolate is technically bean-to-bar, craft and artisan chocolate makers use it as a shorthand way of saying that we buy raw cocoa beans and refine them into finished chocolate ourselves.

What’s more, since we often use our chocolate for other products, you may see us refer to bean-to-bonbon or bean-to-brownie and so forth.

What is “single origin” chocolate?

It means that the cocoa beans in that chocolate all come from the same place, usually either a single farm or a cooperative of farms in a limited geographic region. This gives transparency in the source of the cocoa, but also allows the unique flavor notes from that origin to shine!

Other chocolate is made from a blend of cocoa beans from many different places. This makes the flavor more “consistent” but hides the unique flavor notes in the cocoa. Blending is also a way to hide poor quality cocoa.

Look at the descriptions on our products, and check out our Origins page, to learn more about where our cocoa beans come from. Then order some different bars to experience single origin chocolate for yourself.

What are “tasting notes” or “flavor notes”?

Chocolate should be much more than just sweet and brown. While eating fine-flavor chocolate, you can taste many different flavors, aromas and finishes. They may be fruity, floral, herbal, woody, spicy, or a combination. You may also taste specific flavors; for example, a fruity chocolate might have flavor notes like raspberry, melon, berry, raisin, etc. Check out the descriptions on our products for flavor notes you might experience.

I taste something different than the flavor notes listed. Am I wrong?

You are never wrong about what flavors you experience! One of the fascinating things about taste is that we each experience the tasting process differently. Our lists of flavor notes are ones you might taste, based on what we and our customers often experience.

You might taste something in addition, or something different, or taste them in a different order. In fact, the flavor notes you taste might change each time you try a bar. Let us know in the comments what you taste!

What does the percentage on your chocolate mean? For example, Fiji 71%.

The percentage shows the ratio of cocoa (cocoa nibs plus any extra cocoa butter) in the chocolate. For example, our Fiji 71% Dark Chocolate contains that percentage of cocoa and the remaining 29% is the sugar.

Does a higher percentage chocolate mean it’s better?

Not necessarily. If the cocoa beans are poor quality, you won’t get good chocolate. That’s why we make so many test batches when we are trying a new cocoa bean—to ensure the cocoa beans are excellent and the chocolate will be yummy.

Also, cocoa beans from different origins can have very different flavor notes. Compare the descriptions of a few bars and you’ll see. Or better yet, taste them for yourself! You might prefer some flavor notes over others. Our descriptions can help you find others you may like, or find something altogether new.

Finally, because each bean origin can be different, some might need less sugar to be “tasty.” We experiment and have a lot of people taste-test to find the right amount of sugar for each bean.

Why do you add extra cocoa butter?

To make the chocolate taste better!

Chocolate researchers have shown that adding a little extra cocoa butter at the right time makes the chocolate flow better and melt in your mouth faster. That means the flavor compounds are released on your tongue faster and the chocolate has a better mouth-feel.

It only takes a little extra cocoa butter—typically 2 or 3 percent—to make a big difference.

Our taste testing has shown the same thing: comparing our otherwise identical recipes (same origin, roast, processing, etc.), the one with a little extra cocoa butter is almost always preferred.

What is the difference between “cocoa” and “cacao”?

In many cases, the terms are just used interchangeably (for example, cocoa beans vs. cacao beans, and cocoa nibs vs. cacao nibs).

A distinction we like (but don’t always follow!) is the difference between the living plant and fruit before fermentation (cacao tree, cacao pod, cacao beans) and the beans after fermentation (cocoa beans).

What varieties of cocoa beans do you use?

Until a few years ago, cacao was classified into three varieties: Criollo, Trinitario, and Forastero. However, recent research has shown that cacao genetics are much more intricate than that, and there are at least ten identifiable genetic “clusters.”

In the end, we typically don’t choose cocoa bean origins because of their genetic variety, but instead decide to use them because they make great chocolate!

Can you tell me about actual or potential allergens in your products?

We take great care while making our products to provide allergen isolation and minimize allergen contamination in every step of our process. Where possible, we isolate equipment for use with products with certain ingredients. We also double or triple clean between uses.

Please see more about allergen information here

What kind of sugar do you use?

We use high quality, certified organic, vegan cane sugar in all our products. Unlike highly-refined white sugar, our organic sugar goes through minimal processing, resulting in a delicious, all-natural taste that helps enhance the flavor of the cocoa beans.

Are you certified organic?

Our facility is not certified organic, but we do all we can to buy and use organic ingredients. Our sugar is organic, and most of the cocoa beans we use are organic. Our product labels identify each ingredient which has been certified organic.

Are you certified fair trade?

We are not fair trade certified, but spend a great deal of time researching our potential suppliers to be comfortable with their trade and sustainability practices. To ensure a high level of transparency, we buy all our cocoa beans directly from the producer or its US distributor. We pay a premium price for premium cocoa beans—much higher than the price producers and farmers would receive on the commodity market.

Please check out the information on our Origins pages for more information about our cocoa producers.

Why is craft and artisan chocolate more expensive than what I find at the grocery store?

Most chocolate produced in the world is manufactured on an industrial scale with commodity quality cocoa beans. They typically blend cocoa from different places and add flavorings to make the flavor “consistent”, while adding fillers to extend shelf life and make distribution easier.

Craft and artisan chocolate makers work on a different model. We buy premium cocoa beans and pay a premium price, so that small cocoa producers and smallholder farmers can earn better living wages. We make our craft chocolate in small batches, which increases the costs but creates an artisan product you just can’t find in mass-produced, industrial chocolate. Try our chocolate and we’re convinced you’ll taste the difference.

What is the difference between a chocolatier and chocolate maker?

Nate’s father and grandfather were chocolatiers—they purchased chocolate and used it to make all sorts of fine confections.

Nate worked as a chocolatier in his dad’s shop, but later became a chocolate maker—he buys cocoa beans and performs all the magical steps to turn them into wonderful chocolate.

What is the difference between milk chocolate and dark milk chocolate?

The main difference is the amount of milk in the chocolate.

In the US, the FDA regulates the content of chocolate. To be called milk chocolate, it must contain at least 13% milk. But some of our cocoa origins shine better with less milk, so we call it dark milk chocolate to be clear. You’ll also note that dark milk also typically has a higher cocoa percentage.

Be sure to try our milk and dark milk chocolate bars. Even die-hard dark chocolate fans love them.

Other FAQs

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How long will it take to receive my order?

o On the East Coast, it may take 2-3 business days to receive your package. In Central States and West Coast, it may take 3-5 business days.

Can you expedite my order?

Of course! At checkout you may select an expedited shipping option.

Do you accept returns?

Please see our Refund Policy