How Kyya Chocolate was born, a story told by Rick Boosey & Ben Butler

How Kyya Chocolate was born, a story told by Rick Boosey & Ben Butler

Kyya Chocolate was born in a converted Mexican restaurant in Elm Springs, Arkansas, where a team of artisans were crafting fine single origin bean-to-bar chocolate. It all started as a result of a trip to Uganda in 2012 when a small team initially took on the challenge of helping an orphanage. As both founders Rick Boosey and Ben Butler have adopted orphans (from China and Ethiopia), engaging in a strategy to help reduce the effects of malnutrition and abject poverty was a no-brainer. The question was how?

As the team analyzed all the natural resources Uganda had to offer, cocoa kept coming up. That birthed the thought that a chocolate company might be the vehicle in which the team could provide long-lasting, sustainable help to the poor and vulnerable orphans around the world.

After a year of testing and creating over 1,000 batches of chocolate, the team identified formulas for excellent chocolate. The team has since expanded their rare find single origin offerings to Hispaniola, Madagascar, Uganda, Jamaica and Ecuador.

Kyya Chocolate has identified one key ingredient that most chocolate makers do not use – salt. It uses 1 tablespoon of sea salt per 40 pounds of chocolate or 0.04% per 2.8 oz bar. In such a miniscule amount, the salt is undetectable. It is used so as to draw out the cocoa's unique characteristics and to heighten the cocoa's intense flavors.

Kyya Chocolate has big plans. It builds relationships with local farmers around the world, pays them above fair trade prices and invests in them, helping them experience better yields and higher quality cacao.

Its vision is to partner with 40 cacao farmers from countries around the world that have unique or exclusive cocoa beans. It hopes to work with these farmers to help them increase the utility and quality of their farm by giving them the opportunity to earn more income as well as invest in the local communities where they live. Kyya Chocolate sticks true to its mission of producing small batches to retain artisan flavors, hand grinding to maximize flavor dynamics, working directly with farmers, investing in communities globally and sourcing from remote cocoa producing countries. It is committed to becoming a purist, a true “farm-to-bar” chocolate maker.

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