Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

delicious & delectable varieties
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Santa Cruz's Stephen Beaumier of White Label Chocolate

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

Stephen Beaumier of White Label Chocolate loves food, and came to love and appreciate cacao. Hailing from the hospitality industry, he found cacao to be the most challenging ingredient he has ever used. Stephen has no formal training; just an unending quest for unattainable perfection through repetition and dedication to his craft. He taught himself, through trial and error, how to make chocolate. He would constantly reach out to his culinary community for feedback.


The first moment that he visited an origin in the jungles of Guatemala near Coban and saw what the cacao farmers had to do to ensure the quality of the cacao is of the highest blew his mind. Watching the men, women and teenagers harvest pods, cracking them for hours and finishing the day humping all the seeds in 150-pound sacks of wet cacao through the jungle to the fermentation beds was an incredible sight for...

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Oliver and Jay Holecek of Primo Botanica Craft Chocolate

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

Oliver and Jay Holecek of Primo Botanica Craft Chocolate are cousins living on opposite coasts of the US. 

Jay became a certified natural chef at Bauman College in Berkeley, California. As a chef consultant, Jay has an immense amount of knowledge in therapeutic cooking. After purchasing a riverfront property in Costa Rica, Jay began developing strong relationships with Costa Rican cocoa farmers. 

Oliver grew up in a small rural town, 30 minutes south of Troy, New York, called Dormansville. He and his family lived the homesteading life, raising chickens and selling eggs alongside an abundant vegetable garden. In 1996, his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness that gave her about a year to live. As a result of the diagnosis, his mother had an impetus to show her family the world, so she eventually sold their 5-acre...

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Steve and Andrea Prickett of Eldora Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on April 10, 2019. 0 Comments

Steve and Andrea Prickett started Eldora Chocolate as a way to satisfy Steve’s curiosity and love of chocolate. 

His engineering background in food manufacturing and 32-year career as a financial advisor taught him the discipline and love for beautiful companies, whose practices could be sustainable, and whose process and place of business could be a generous, loving atmosphere where customers and employees alike could enjoy and thrive. These qualities are evident in the building designed by wife Andrea, whose 30-year career was in the design industry. The building design was named “Modern Barn”.

Meanwhile, Steve sharpened his chocolate-making skills by taking classes with Ecole Chocolat, a Canadian firm. He furthered strengthened his experience by being under the tutelage of ChocoSol in Toronto and Mindo Chocolate in Dexter, Michigan. 

Eldora’s ethos is “just use Real Ingredients”. No artificial colors, artificial flavors, lecithin or preservatives...

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Enna Grazier of Enna Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on March 07, 2019. 0 Comments

Enna Chocolate was founded in 2016 after a long fall-down-the-rabbit-hole obsession of learning how to make chocolate by Enna Grazier. Enna's tiny factory is in Epping, New Hampshire, and it focuses on creating small batches of chocolate that emphasize the flavor potential of various cacao origins from around the world. Enna explores the flavors of the cocoa bean and loves introducing customers to the very broad and diverse experience that is offered by fine single-origin chocolate.

We asked Enna about her passion for chocolate making and this is what she had to say: “I love the creative process. To me, creative work is a magical journey, a process of enlightening and expanding our sensory experience. Making chocolate is deeply personal to me, and in this vein, it is an honor to create something that can be experienced in a deeply personal way by others.

“I have...

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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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