Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

delicious & delectable varieties
delivered direct to your doorstep

Lauren Blanco and Preston Stewart of Markham & Fitz, Bentonville, Arkansas

Posted by Coleen L on February 05, 2019. 0 Comments



Lauren Blanco and Preston Stewart jumped in to the bean-to-bar business in 2014 with the desire to make amazing chocolate and celebrate people in the process. 
Lauren spent five years working in the non-profit sector facilitating small business development in war-torn countries, where her passion for business and empowerment was formed, accompanied by her first visit to cacao farms. Preston studied chemistry in college, and was looking for a new career path after the aspects of a biotech job began wearing on his extroverted personality. They combined their mutual passion and started their business by making and selling two single-origin chocolate bars under the brand name Hello Cocoa. As they dove into the world of craft chocolate, Preston pursued certifications as a Chocolate Maker and Chocolatier from École Chocolat, and Lauren began to lead the company's operations and branding.


By December...

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R.C. and Amanda Gartrell of Seahorse Chocolate in Bend, Oregon

Posted by Coleen L on January 08, 2019. 0 Comments

A single-origin cocoa roaster located in Bend, Oregon, Seahorse Chocolate's philosophy is simple: work closely with farmers, tailor roast each small batch to reveal hidden nuances and handwrap distinct varietals. 


R.C. and Amanda Gartrell of Seahorse Chocolate didn’t start out as chocolate makers initially. They were in the coffee business for years. R.C. started out roasting in Portland and was Stumptown Coffee’s original roaster. After years of sourcing, coffee judging and coffee shops, they decided to take R.C.’s roasting knowledge and translate it to cocoa. 


Back then, many bean-to-bar companies were not roasting beans themselves and not tailoring the roast to each origin, treating each varietal as an individual so the couple set out to educate and fill a niche. Amanda has a history with wine, and combining both hers and R.C.'s knowledge led to the birth of Seahorse Chocolate. Cocoa, like...

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Elisia of Raphio Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on December 06, 2018. 0 Comments


Elisia of Raphio Chocolate was born and raised in Indonesia. She pursued higher education in the US at the age of 17 when she attended Fresno State. She received two degrees in Business Management and Interior Design. After finishing school, she worked full time as a design professional for a few years. Later, Elisia switched her focus to be a stay-at-home mom to care for her two boys. 

With no culinary background, Elisia took an intensive chocolate course with Chef Melissa Coppel to learn the chocolate-making process. It was through a process of trial and error that made her improve her craft and become who she is today.

Together with her full-time civil engineer husband Yohanes, they started Raphio, which is a portmanteau of their sons’ names – Raphael and Rio. The couple’s mission is to produce pure chocolate that is good and healthy for everyone including...

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Rusty Bogart founder of PipeVine Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on November 08, 2018. 0 Comments


After a year of research and development, chocolate maker Rusty Bogart founded PipeVine Chocolate in September 2016. Rusty combined his experience as a scientist and the remarkable shared knowledge of the craft chocolate community to create an incredible line of fine flavor chocolates.


It all happened while he was attending Humboldt State University in Northern California. Rusty became friends with two incredible individuals – Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor. Even though Rusty moved away to Chico, California, he watched as these two men successfully built Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. After tasting a few of their single origin bars, Rusty was hooked by the incredible flavors of craft chocolate and was inspired to start making his own chocolate.


In 2015, Rusty decided to go on a hunt to figure out how to make chocolate. He learned, like most other craft makers, how to...

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Carl & Mary of Altus Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on September 12, 2018. 0 Comments

Altus Chocolate first began as a journey of love and life with a young couple, Carl & Mary. Searching for a love-enriching marital hobby, Mary stumbled upon the movie ‘Chocolat’ at a girls’ night out. Inspired by the whimsical film and the idea of making chocolate in small batches from the cocoa bean, she proposed the idea to Carl, who was instantly intrigued with the idea of craft chocolate making.


After purchasing a Mexican molcajete, a large granite mortar & pestle, they hand ground their first batch of chocolate with a pound of raw cacao beans. After carefully roasting the beans in their home oven, the couple sat outside their home cracking the beans with their fingers to remove the thin paper husk from the bean, like the ancient Aztec’s & Olemecs did centuries before them. Curious neighbors...

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Ned and Debi Russell from Nevada City

Posted by Coleen L on May 07, 2018. 0 Comments

For some, retirement means winding down and relaxing. For Ned and Debi Russell, retirement has been a time to focus on their passions and interests. The result is Cello Chocolate, a handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate company that they founded in 2013, in Nevada City, California.


After years of working in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ned and Debi moved to a quiet town, nestled in the foothills of Sierra Nevada. Ned has decades of experience in industrial food processing, including 12 years as Quality Manager at Ghirardelli Chocolate. Debi has helped to develop business at several technology corporations such as Apple, Oracle and Sybase.


After giving informal chocolate-making classes and “Death by Chocolate” dinners to friends, they began to fantasize about a new project, turning a hobby into a business, with Ned as the chocolate maker and Debi as the sales and business manager....

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Joel and Gila Dar of DAR Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on April 12, 2018. 0 Comments

Husband-and-wife team Joel and Gila Dar of DAR Chocolate create chocolate bars that highlight the true and surprising flavors of cacao. Their aim is to keep their recipes simple, clean and healthy, with a range of surprising flavored bars. They both work in their commercial kitchen, making chocolate and creating new recipes. As of late, Gila handles more of the sales and marketing, while Joel takes care of production. The brand's name originates from Joel's last name which has Yemen origins: Dar in Arabic means "house"; in Hebrew, it means "to live"; in Polish, it means "gift"; and in Spanish, it means "to give".


After leaving their country of origin (Israel), Joel and Gila were swept into an unexpected turn of events which led them to Costa Rica, where they lived and learned chocolate for 1.5 years. Introduced to the cacao fruit for the...

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Stuart and Mhairi Craig of Double Spiral Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on March 15, 2018. 0 Comments

Double Spiral Chocolate is the first handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Delaware, located in the arts and crafts community of The Ardens.


Chocolate makers Stuart and Mhairi Craig are originally from Scotland. Possessing a doctorate in biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Stuart is a scientist at DuPont Nutrition & Health working on the nutritional benefits of food ingredients. During his career, he has published research on dietary fiber and micronutrients. A registered nurse with a BA in Nursing Studies from Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, Mhairi practices her profession in Delaware.


Being Scottish, Mhairi and Stuart are familiar with the ancient Celtic double spiral that has similarities with the Taoist Yin and Yang concepts. Two opposing spirals emerge from a single line to signify how opposite components can find balance. The double spiral was, therefore, a perfect fit to symbolize their philosophy:

  1. Balance taste and nutrition...
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Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates

Posted by Doreen L on February 04, 2018. 0 Comments

Cao Chocolates was founded in 2009 after owner and chocolate maker Ricardo Trillos had a life-changing event and was laid off from his position as an accountant. He then turned his hobby and sweet obsession of chocolates into a business, and started Cao Chocolates. 
Ricardo moved to the US from Venezuela in 2004, looking for new opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Ricardo explained during our interview, "As an accountant by trade, my professional life quickly flourished, and I was soon comfortably settling in my new South Florida home. Meanwhile, my conscience kept reminding me of my lack of personal fulfillment, and not before too long, my yearning and stewing passion for the rich, succulent chocolate of Venezuela sparked my inner chocolatier." 
After years of loving everything about chocolates, Ricardo's passion turned into more than just a hobby where he purchased books and attended chocolate-making classes...

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Another chocolate maker from Utah - Taste Artisan Chocolate

Posted by Doreen L on January 04, 2018. 0 Comments

Taste Artisan Chocolate was started by a group of friends who love chocolate and had a dream of creating a chocolate company to highlight flavors in each variety of cacao bean.


Nestled in the shadows of Mount Timpanogos in Downtown Provo, Utah, Taste Artisan Chocolate is currently owned by the Coleman family. What started as a fascination and connoisseurship of artisan chocolate grew into a passion to be involved in the chocolate creation and flavor development process. The Taste team had never dabbled in the culinary sphere prior to opening their own chocolate company, but all it took was some tenacious self-teaching and a drive to create flavorful, ethical and sustainable chocolate that helped kick-start this local family business to success.


Morgan and Char Coleman are both Utah natives and habitual entrepreneurs. Morgan, an artist, met Char on a...

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