R.C. and Amanda of Seahorse Chocolate in Bend, Oregon makes craft chocolate
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 wine and coffee, contains layered flavors which vary greatly depending on the region, soil, altitude, farmer and preparation. Roasting for each varietal requires meticulous skill in order to reveal each one's unique aspects. The Gartrell's goal is to inspire appreciation for single-origin cocoa.
The Gartrell’s older 17-year-old son, Hayden, is a culinary student, while younger son Rowan has been a dark chocolate fanatic since birth. Together with R.C. and Amanda, they taste, talk and learn about chocolate.
Seahorse Chocolate's name came about after several weeks of brainstorming. R.C. almost gave up coming up with a name until Amanda casually told him about a seahorse project she and Rowan were working on for school that day. Amanda remembered saying to R.C., “What do you think about seahorse?” He said, “That’s it ...that’s the name... end of discussion.”