Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

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craft bean to bar chocolates
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Radinal Latuconsina and Yohanes Makmur founders of Molucca Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on February 03, 2016. 1 Comment

Two longtime friends, Radinal and Yohanes, started MOLUCCA with a vision to introduce rare origin chocolates to the US market.

The friends began their chocolate-making adventure in late 2013 after noticing that the New American Chocolate Movement was gaining a lot of momentum. Craft-chocolate makers were popping up all over the country and great chocolate bars were produced and consumed by the market that was ready for something other than ordinary sugar-loaded commercial chocolate products. As both of them were born and raised in Indonesia, it was only natural that they would use cacao beans from Indonesia to make their chocolate bars. They were surprised that they could not find raw cacao beans easily in the US from Indonesia, the third largest cocoa producer in the world. The closest they got was Papua New Guinea.

They saw that as an opportunity to re-introduce the...

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The Maloney brothers of Sol Cacao

Posted by Coleen L on January 04, 2016. 0 Comments

The Maloney brothers were born on the beautiful Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up, they were surrounded by cacao trees and enjoyed eating chocolate made from the beans. Of course, the strong passion for chocolate came along with them to New York City. It was in New York where they realized that the most popular chocolate products did not have the same distinct taste as those found in their country of birth.

Their early childhood was filled with animals and fruit trees which instilled in them a love for the sciences. Dominic majored in biotechnology and is Sol Cacao's head chocolate maker as well as one of its quality assurance testers, while Nicholas is a registered nurse who uses his background to research the nutritional and health benefits of chocolate. A licensed electrical engineer, Daniel is in charge of Sol Cacao's supply chain...

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How Milford Dennison started KTO Bean to Bar Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on December 07, 2015. 0 Comments

Milford Dennison started KTO Bean to Bar Chocolate after his wife became allergic to soy. Milford was a professionally trained chef for about 14 years. For his formal culinary training, he attended Pennsylvania Culinary Arts school in Pittsburgh and then worked as an Executive Chef for 10 years. He had always loved chocolates and when his wife became allergic to soy, his intention was to make a soy-free dark chocolate for her to enjoy.

Milford researched on how to make chocolate and found a documentary on the Mast Brothers and how they started making chocolate in their two-bedroom apartment. He then decided to do more research on the chocolate-making process. He specifically researched the bean-to-bar process because he knew he could control the ingredients that would go into the chocolate bar. He acquired the equipment needed, found some organic beans and started experimenting with small batches of chocolate.


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Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates

Posted by Coleen Leong on November 05, 2015. 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...

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Brian Flick of Pitch Dark Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on October 05, 2015. 0 Comments

Pitch Dark Chocolate is a fine cacao-focused chocolate company based in Portland, OR. Its approach from the beginning has always been to elevate the perception of craft chocolate. It has moved away from simplistic methods of manufacturing to those which provide more control over how they shape the inherent flavor profiles in the cacao they source.


Since Pitch Dark Chocolate’s inception, it has focused on connecting more with its cacao suppliers. Its founder Brian Flick lived with cacao farmers in rural Fiji for 3 months while conducting fieldwork for his thesis. And it was upon his return to Portland and after reflecting on over 10 years in the pastry industry that he decided to venture out on his own, and pursue his passion for high quality traceable chocolate. Pitch Dark continues to source cacao from Namau, Fiji, where Brian spent his time, as well as...

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Jennifer Wicks of Burnt Fork Bend Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on September 02, 2015. 1 Comment



Inspired by her love for chocolate and a preference for keeping things simple and pure, Jennifer Wicks began experimenting with the art of chocolate making in her home seven years ago. What started as a hobby to satisfy her own chocolate cravings as well as those of her family and friends slowly turned into a business in 2011.


Years ago, Jennifer noticed that a lot of the chocolate available on the market had unpronounceable ingredients. She wondered why that was so when real, delicious chocolate is made from the simplest of ingredients. Curiosity and a desire to control the ingredients in the chocolate she was consuming led Jennifer to research how chocolate was made. There was very little information available on the Internet and even less available elsewhere. Determined to learn and figure it out, she bought a Champion Juicer, Santha Spectra 10...

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David Mejia and Sandra Bedoya of Nibble Chocolate

Posted by Coleen Leong on August 05, 2015. 0 Comments

Nibble Chocolate was started by David Mejia and Sandra Bedoya, both originally from Colombia, for a simple reason – to show chocolate lovers that chocolate IS healthy, as long as it contains mostly cocoa. They also started the company to enhance and maintain the natural uniqueness of cocoa beans from each particular origin.

The Nibble Chocolate story began when David and Sandra became more conscious about their food and became obsessed with becoming healthier. During this process, they realized how hard it was to find real chocolate, but it wasn’t until they moved to San Diego that they started their research, initially through Google and YouTube. They watched and read just about everything they could find on the chocolate-making process and chocolate confections. They obtained certifications from Ecole Chocolat to become professional chocolatiers and chocolate makers. Chocolate became their new obsession as they learned more and more...

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The Hello Cocoa Team

Posted by Coleen Leong on July 06, 2015. 0 Comments

When Lauren & Mark Blanco, Preston & Abby Stewart, and Abby & Charles Davidson started Hello Cocoa, they decided they didn’t just want to make chocolate. They wanted to connect people with flavors and cultures from around the world. Through ethical and direct trade, they strive to create relationships with farmer partners and produce excellent chocolate. In their small-batch factory in Fayetteville, Arkansas, they transform chosen beans into handcrafted chocolate bars that allow one to share in the adventure. Charles had the original idea to start a chocolate company, and perfected the bean-to-bar process for a year before Hello Cocoa was formed.  When the Stewarts and the Blancos partnered with the Davidsons, everyone had a piece of the chocolate vision that became Hello Cocoa.

Charles launched the chocolate-making process and inspired the rest of the co-founders to create a quality product. Charles' international interest drove the culinary...

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Mary and Sara Ervin of Ethereal Confections

Posted by Coleen Leong on June 10, 2015. 0 Comments

Ethereal Confections is a small business in Woodstock, Illinois, that is centered on reconnecting people with food. Owners Mary and Sara Ervin labor over each individual detail and constantly strive to improve their craft. They envision and then taste, tweak and package everything by hand – no big machines or industrial factories for them. They are committed to using organic ingredients and creating amazing flavors without using any preservatives.

The joy of creating inspires both Mary and Sara. Their customers inspire them plenty. They create everything they serve from scratch so that they can perfect and hone their recipes into something people will love. From their bean-to-bar chocolate to gluten-free pastries and desserts, all the way to the syrups they put into their lattes, everything is created with verve. They have surrounded themselves with people in their business who love their creations as much as...

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Drew and Nichole Warner

Posted by Coleen Leong on May 12, 2015. 0 Comments

Just Good Chocolate is a small business with big ideas. Owners Drew and Nichole Warner believe in the ideals of social justice and environmental sustainability. They believe that doing business and doing good don't have to be two separate things. They also believe that their ridiculously high standards for quality ingredients result in ridiculously good products. Their passion for making chocolate is guided by these two words: JUST (guided by truth, reason, justice and fairness, and done or made according to principle; equitable; proper) and GOOD (of high quality; excellent, kind, beneficent or friendly, honorable or worthy and healthful, beneficial)
From bean to bar, from roasting to wrapping, every batch of Just Good Chocolate is a true labor of love. "Starting with the world's finest ethically-traded and organic cocoa beans and sugar, Nichole, the chocolate maker, enjoys working...
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