Healthy dark chocolate is not necessarily bitter and can taste differently than common chocolate. There are many possible factors that dictate the unique tastes of each batch. These factors include: cocoa genes/breed, the weather & the soil condition, fermentation techniques, drying, roasting and refining practices. Turns out commercial chocolate makers buy bulk commodity or lower quality beans, and then over roast or burn it to "standardize" taste, introducing bitter flavor and then they add in extra flavorings.
Also, most of the chocolate in the world comes from cocoa beans from West Africa. These areas are plagued with child labor issues and where cocoa farmers don't get much from their cacao crops so they focus is on quantity rather than quality. Big Companies processes the commodity beans into chocolate, paste, powder or compound chocolate other companies then buy the chocolate from them and melt and reshape or mix in other ingredients and re-brand it as their own.
By getting quality beans direct from farmers we also help them get premium returns for their hard-work thus making chocolates from bean to bar. We take care not to waste their handwork by letting their natural cocoa's taste shine with minimal processing and with out flooding it with sugar or other flavorings. It takes more than 1 Month of hard work to produce our chocolate from harvested cocoa pod. read bellow on our chocolate's journey to your home and hearts.
#1 GROWING & PICKING
Cacao trees only grow near the equator (despite Belgium having a reputation of being the place for chocolate, they actually can't grow in that country). Cacao trees bear fruit after about 2-3yrs from sprouting. The pods are carefully watched as they develop into their prime. When they’re at their very best, farmers pick them by hand.
Cacao fruits are covered so they don't get infested by insects
#2 FERMENTATION AND DRYING
Similar to wine, fermentation is used to develop the chocolate's fine flavors. The fruit pods are cracked open to access the fleshy beans inside which is fermented in wooden crates lined with banana leaves for around week, beans are constantly monitored turned/mixed and tested to maintain proper temperatures.
(Unfermented cocoa beans are also used to make chocolate but it is usually not as flavorful. Some makers burn beans instead to force bitter flavors and covers the burnt flavor with sugar, milk and vanilla flavoring). There's a delicate balance of fermentation over and under fermented beans are also undesired.
The beans are then dried under the sun another week in these tanning beds.
We hand-sort all the beans, picking out debris, funky and flat beans, leaving only the best-tier beans.
#4 ROASTING, MELANGING, CONCHING
Respecting the individual “personalities” of each batch, and knowing that no two batches of single-estate chocolate are ever the same, we experiment with roasting, melanging and conching temperature and time to find the best for each batch of beans. It is only when we are satisfied and can say with confidence and pride that we have found the formula to highlight the unique flavors of each particular batch do we prepare the rest of the batch. Having invested so much in pinning down the optimised processes for each batch, we definitely do not scrimp on implementing the processes. After resting, we crack the beans to remove the outer shell of the beans. We choose slow practices over fast ones to ensure maximum flavor and health benefits are retained. We use small, artisanal equipment stone grinds (closer to how the aztecs stone grind their cacao thousands of years ago) from 48 hrs upto 72 hours, the friction heat and movement evaporates volatile acids from the chocolate.
#5 TEMPERING & MOLDING
We temper and mold by hand. There is no taste benefit in doing this part of the process by hand, but we like to think that the love & human touch that flows from our hands into the bars gives them a little extra something.
We do not add any preservatives, emulsifier such as lecithin, fillers , palm oil, vegetable oil, natural or artificial flavoring.