Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

Experience American-made small-batch
craft bean-to-bar chocolate, made
with cacao bean, sugar & cocoa butter

Ben Rasmussen, Potomac Chocolate - April Chocolate Maker

Posted by Doreen L on April 20, 2014. 0 Comments


Ben Rasmussen, a chocolate maker from Potomac Chocolate is no ordinary man. By day, he is a family man with 4 kids and works as a Linux Systems Administrator. By night and weekends, he is a devoted chocolate maker. He was introduced to craft chocolates in 2009 by his brother who had attended a chocolate class and organized a chocolate tasting for him. Despite being skeptical (growing up and loving big name popular chocolate bars and NOT a fan of dark chocolate), he gave it a try. He admitted he was completely blown away! Bar after chocolate bar continuously blew his mind as he tasted the difference in their flavor profiles – spices, various fruits, earthy notes, tobacco and nuttiness.

He then fell in love and became obsessed with learning more about chocolate through tasting. It wasn’t until a friend suggested a silly idea to him...

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How to Become a Coco'nnoisseur

Posted by Sabine Phillips on March 29, 2014. 1 Comment

Despite the strong urge to devour all the chocolate in my sight, it turns out that’s not the best way to eat it. In the same way that it’s fun and rewarding (until the next morning) to drink a bottle of wine that you love, there are more interesting ways to get a full, sensual experience out of it. What I’ve learned is just as there is wine tasting, you can also partake in chocolate tasting.


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Dan and Jael Rattigan - March Featured Chocolate Maker

Posted by Doreen L on March 18, 2014. 0 Comments

Dan and Jael Rattigan are the sweet couple behind French Broad Chocolates. Their sweet journey started after a trip to Costa Rica - they dropped out of graduate school, left their Midwestern life and packed their lives into a 40-foot vegetable oil-powered school bus (converted by Dan), and drove south to Costa Rica. They started their new life in a small Caribbean village where they opened a café and dessert shop called Bread & Chocolate. Cacao quickly became a big part of their daily lives with all the studying and playing with new chocolate recipes. But it wasn’t long before they both realized that the beach wasn’t for them, so they hopped back onto their bus and continued driving. Their journey took them to Asheville, NC, where they started French Broad Chocolates and demand quickly squeezed them out of their home kitchen. In 2008, they opened the French Broad Chocolate...

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Reasons To Not Give Up Chocolate This Lent

Posted by Sabine Phillips on March 05, 2014. 2 Comments

I’m always looking for a reason to scoff chocolate. Normally my reasoning is, it’s there. Which is good enough for me, but not for the friend who’s suddenly missing a candy bar. Luckily, there are actually lots of health benefits to eating dark chocolate and because there’s no better reason to become a scientist than proving chocolate is good for you, there are many studies to back up these claims.


The latest research to catch my eye has come from the Netherlands by Esser et al (2013), showing that eating dark chocolate can improve the health of your heart. They gave 44 overweight men 70g of dark chocolate every day for two weeks. By the end of the fortnight the participants were found to have increased flexibility in their arteries, which helps improve blood flow and prevent a build up of plaque (atherosclerosis). It’s the perfect study...

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The Big Story Behind A Small Bean

Posted by Sabine Phillips on February 24, 2014. 0 Comments

Do you know where your chocolate comes from?!?! It might be easy to find out where it was manufactured from the wrapper but it’s unlikely to tell you where its ingredients are sourced. As a follower of Cococlectic you no doubt take an interest in the process that brings bean-to-bar chocolates to you and you’ve probably taken note of the exotic locations the cocoa beans are grown such as Bolivia or Madagascar. Bean-to-bar enthusiasts are used to products originating from Central and South America, the Caribbean or Hawaii. However, with 70% of the world’s cocoa coming from West Africa why do only two bean-to-bar companies in the U.S use cocoa beans from there?

With chocolate being mass manufactured what is seen as quality now is consistency. People want their favorite chocolates to taste the same every time. The majority of cocoa trees in Ghana are...

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Mike Orlando - Twenty-Four Blackbirds

Posted by Doreen L on February 10, 2014. 0 Comments

Mike Orlando started Twenty-Four Blackbirds in 2010 as a side job. At the time, he was working as a Marine biologist and chemist in Santa Barbara, California.


He originally made chocolate in his free time; an enthusiast, utilizing his degrees. As a scientist, Mike truly enjoys processes, parameters, problems and triumphs. Even today, he experiments with new ideas and means for making even better chocolate.


He is a true purist, though - and organic cacao beans and sugar are all he uses. He begins with high quality cocoa beans – delivered raw from estates, plantations and co-ops worldwide. These are hand sorted; the best selected, and the rest discarded.


Beans are then spread onto trays for roasting. After cooling, they are coarsely crushed to loosen shell from nib. Passing air currents whisk lighter shells away. The clean nibs are then collected and refined with sugar. This smooths out...

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Why Bean-To-Bar Chocolates? Ingredients Matter Baby

Posted by Doreen L on January 21, 2014. 0 Comments

You are probably asking why bean-to-bar? Why should I pay $7 to $8 per bar? It’s simple, really. When consuming something, do you read through your labels to understand all the ingredients before eating it? Sometimes, sure. If you are particular about what you consume, you would want to know more about the ingredients because you wouldn’t just drink poison that’s labeled, would you?


Bean-to-bar chocolates are made primarily with 2 ingredients – cocoa beans and sugar. Sometimes, cocoa butter and cocoa nibs are added. For the 5th ingredient, some like to add vanilla, nuts or other items such as milk, peanut butter and even tealeaf to make the bar unique.


I like my chocolate plain so that I can savour its true taste, quality and texture ­– whether it’s smooth, grainy, rich, roasted, nutty, bold or mellow. I also like to know exactly what ingredients I’m consuming....

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Now Launching Cococlectic!

Posted by Doreen L on January 11, 2014. 0 Comments

It’s been a crazy 2 months getting Cococlectic Club launched and we're so excited that it’s finally official! 

Thank you to all the great supporters of this project and also to the chocolate community. We’ve been in touch with many craft bean-to-bar chocolate makers and everyone has been so amazingly supportive. And extremely refreshing! We love the community we’re building. 

We can’t tell you how much we love tasting varieties of single origin dark chocolate bars. Getting a box in the mail is probably the highlight of my evening. We definitely take our time admiring the packaging and slowly opening it, keeping everything intact. We examine how the chocolate breaks – snapping cleanly. We love melting it in our mouth (not chewing) slowly savoring the flavors the bean brings out.

Our hat goes off to those chocolate makers who put in so much hard work producing such amazing products....

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