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When you see the phrase “bean to bar” or “craft chocolate” this will typically mean you are buying chocolate from someone who truly loves their craft. “Bean to bar” refers the process of making a bar of chocolate from the cocoa beans – bean to bar. “Craft chocolate” is similar in the sense that the producer has crafted their product with care and love, I liken it to the micro coffee roasters and craft beer movements that have become mainstream in the past decade (everyone seems to be a microbrewer right now!)
Making bean to bar chocolate is not a simple process and has many steps to creating the perfect chocolate bar. But these steps are well worth the effort.
The main steps in small batch bean to bar chocolate are
* Sorting raw beans
* Roasting the beans
* Cracking the beans
* Winnowing the nibs from the husk
* Grinding the nibs
* Conching the chocolate
* Tempering the chocolate and moulding it into bars
* Packaging the bars
More about this process to come in an in-depth post of how I do it.
Some people argue that all chocolate is “bean to bar” and they are correct but when you see and buy bean to bar chocolate from a small producer you can be assured that they have taken much more care and poured love into each product. Some of the larger companies are starting to brand their chocolate bars “bean to bar” as it has become a phrase that is attached to a higher quality product, and they are jumping on the band waggon in an attempt to appeal to the buyer who cares more about what they are eating and purchasing. But this may not always be the case with the big brands, I think they are just doing it to join the new “trendy” movement that will lead the way to a better world of chocolate.
I believe bean to bar chocolate is the future of chocolate and it is the way that the chocolate industry can catch up with its environmental and ethical practices, both of which need a big change in the large cocoa industry.
Buying from a bean to bar maker means you are supporting a small business owners dreams, letting them follow their passion and making a change to the world for the better! And you will get some damn good chocolate too.
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