What is a Chocolate Maker?
A chocolate maker is someone who turns raw cacao beans into chocolate.
Cocoa beans are first sourced from producing countries around the world 20 degrees above and below the equator. They are then passed through several processes (drying, roasting, winnowing, refining, tempering etc.) and the chocolate bars are the result of these combined processes. This is why craft chocolate is also referred to as ‘bean-to-bar chocolate’. We use both terms interchangeably throughout our website.
What Does Bean to Bar Mean?
While all chocolate is technically bean to bar. We use the term to describe someone who purchases raw cocoa beans directly from a farmer and makes them into finished chocolate products themselves.
Why Should I Choose Bean to Bar Chocolate?
Many chocolate companies in the marketplace simply buy semi-finished products (couverture, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa butter) from other companies to melt and mix them.
Bean-to-bar means that the same person or company takes care of the entire process from sourcing the cocoa beans to the finish chocolate product.
A bean to bar chocolate maker has a vision for the entire chocolate making process: they choose the beans, the suppliers, the machines, the techniques, the roasting time and temperatures, even the design of the mold and of the packaging.
A lot more time, love and effort (not to mention the blood, sweat and tears) goes into bean to bar chocolate than buying chocolate already made by someone else and simply melting it.
Craft bean to bar chocolate makers are known for choosing fine flavour cocoa beans sourced from organic, slave-free, ethical suppliers and paying a fair price for high-quality ingredients.
What are the Main Differences Between Craft Chocolate and Industrial Chocolate?
Let’s break down the three main differences:
Quality of Cocoa – Industrial chocolate companies use bulk cacao, which is cheap, has poor genetics and can be badly fermented.
Craft chocolate makers only source and process the highest-quality cacao available on the market to bring out the best flavours and often pay premium prices for an ethical product.
Ingredients – The list of ingredients in industrial chocolate tends to be long and full of questionable additives – a lot of sugar, artificial colourants, flavours, vegetable oils, milk powder and a low percentage of actual cocoa (raw chocolate).
Bean to bar chocolate makers keep the list short with minimal ingredients (often only organic cane sugar and cacao for a dark chocolate bar).
Production – Industrial chocolate is produced in large, automated and standardized factories.
Meanwhile, bean to bar chocolate is made by artisans in small-scale operations with the minimum amount of machinery and a lot of love and craftsmanship, which makes the resulting chocolate very unique and even more special.
Where Do Craft Chocolate Makers Get Their Cocoa Beans?
Craft chocolate makers may travel many roads to find their perfect cacao beans; through importers, distributors, producers, cooperatives and even single-origin farms.
A few, like Anarchy Chocolate grow their own cocoa.
As cocoa beans are the single most important ingredient to produce quality bean to bar chocolate, the craft chocolate maker will focus on sourcing their cacao beans from trusted and reliable sources who can guarantee the wellbeing of their partnering farmers and pay above average prices for their hard work. This is usually referred to as ‘Direct Trade’, some companies may also be ‘Fair Trade’ certified, where by a third-party is supposed to guarantee the higher prices paid to cocoa farmers.
At Anarchy Chocolate, we source our cocoa beans locally from Suriya Cocoa Farm in Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai in northern Thailand or directly from our private permaculture food forest and our fruit farm in Trat province, Thailand.
Is All Craft Chocolate Organic?
Some craft chocolate is certified organic, while others are not. This doesn’t mean that the non-certified organic chocolate is full of chemicals or nasty pesticides. Far from it!
An organic certification is expensive for farmers who live in many third-world countries. Their cacao might be as ‘natural’ as the cacao with an organic certification. Likewise the organic certification process may have been ‘gained’ so the farmer can achieve a higher price for his crop.
The cocoa we grow on Anarchy Farm isn’t certified organic because we don’t believe in asking to government for approval to grow ‘real food’. We simply believe ALL food is organic if it is grown naturally without chemicals. We grow most of our food, including cocoa using natural farming, regenerative and permaculture principals.
If food is grown with hormones, pesticides or herbicides, these poisonous applications should be included in the product labelling and consumers would be aware of what they are buying and consuming. They can then adjust their purchasing habits accordingly. That’s a free market economy.
The system of labelling and certifying food as organic should be reversed so big Ag has to be more transparent instead of pricing small farmers out of the market.
We do buy certified organic cacao where we can but for us it’s more about building relationships and really getting to know our partner farmers to ensure they are growing cocoa naturally, just how Mother Nature intended it to be.
What is Single Origin Chocolate?
Single origin chocolate simply means that all the cocoa in a particular bar comes from one estate or a single coop from a particular region, geographically defining where the cocoa comes from.
For example, any tree to bar chocolate Anarchy Chocolate produces comes from our own permaculture food forest or fruit farm. So we would label that bar as ‘Trat, Thailand – Single Origin’.
All bean to bar chocolate we produce is defined by the province we purchased the beans from, Chanthaburi or Chiang Mai etc.
Should I Prefer One Country of Origin over Another?
Some countries of origin are more famous for their cocoa than others.
However, this is not a good reason to favour or avoid one country over another.
For instance, not all wine produced in Italy or France is going to be worth spending your money on, so to in the world of chocolate, the country of origin doesn’t paint the full picture. What really matters are other factors such as the working conditions and pay of the cocoa farmers, genetics, terroir, the post-harvesting processes and skills of the craft chocolate maker.
Thailand is a very small but growing player in the chocolate world. There is now more interest in growing cocoa as a commercial crop and also in small craft chocolate makers producing exceptional bean to bar chocolate products. Have you tried bean to bar chocolate from Thailand?
What does the percentage mean? (example 85% Thailand)
The percentage ratio found on the packaging of a bean to bar chocolate is quantified by the weight of cocoa against other ingredients in the final product.
As we only use two ingredients to make our dark chocolate, it’s a simple ratio for us by weight of cocoa nibs (85%) to organic cane sugar (15%).
Is the Cocoa Percentage an Indication of Quality?
The cacao percentage on a chocolate bar is not an indication of quality. It simply states the quantity of cacao inside that bar, but doesn’t say anything about the quality of that cacao.
The cacao percentage on a chocolate bar only indicates how bitter or sweet your chocolate will be.
Where and How Do You Source Your Cacao?
For our ‘bean to bar’ chocolates we purchase our cocoa beans from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and a ten year old cocoa farm in the neighbouring province of Chanthaburi. It’s about a 30 minute drive from our own farm.
In early 2019, we started growing cocoa on our fruit farm where we only employ natural farming methods. We also grow cocoa in our private permaculture food forest garden. The cocoa we grow at both properties will be used exclusively in our ‘tree to bar’ chocolate bars.
By growing our own cocoa trees we can control every aspect of production from planting the cocoa saplings to creating our unique tasting chocolate.
Do You Use Other Ingredients in Your Chocolate Besides Cacao Beans?
Yes, depending on the product we are making, we do use other ingredients.
Dark chocolate we use cocoa and Thai organic cane sugar.
For milk chocolate products we also add milk powder and cocoa butter.
We make our own cocoa butter by pressing the beans.
For flavourings we infuse the cocoa butter with chilis or seasonal fruit from our permaculture food forest or farm.
Everything is 100% natural or organic.
How Do You Get Different Tasting Notes and Aromas Without Additional Ingredients?
Like a fine wine, every cocoa farm has a unique flavour profile.
The tasting notes change depending on the soil, topography, climate, variety, inter-cropping (coffee, guava, banana etc), harvest, fermentation, drying and roasting.
The art of the bean to bar chocolatier is to bring out the desired flavour notes to create a unique tasting experience you would never get from a mass produced chocolate bar.
How Do I Store Chocolate?
Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place between 16°c and 18°c (60°F to 64°F).
What Kind of Sugar Do You Use?
We use the highest quality organic cane sugar (from Thailand) which is also suitable for vegans.
Is Your Chocolate Gluten Free?
Gluten is a protein found in grains not cocoa which is a bean, so all craft chocolate is naturally gluten-free.
Some companies are certified Gluten-Free, which means that in their factories no gluten is processed.
The rest of us must include the ‘May include gluten’ disclaimer on our packaging by law, even though no gluten products are included in the chocolate. Go figure!
Is Anarchy Chocolate Suitable for Vegans?
Yes, it sure is! There are no animals involved in our chocolate.
Is Your Chocolate Certified Fair Trade?
Our bean to bar chocolate is not certified as Fair Trade. The most important thing for us is building relationships with local farmers and reaching a high level of transparency and trust throughout our short supply chains. Close relationships with our cocoa bean suppliers helps to insure a high level of equity to all the local farmers.
Fair Trade doesn’t apply to our tree to bar chocolate as we grow, harvest and process the cocoa ourselves. That’s dedication for you!
Why is Craft Chocolate More Expensive Than the Commonly Found Chocolate in Grocery Stores?
There are many contributing factors that affect the price of our chocolate bars:
- The cost of the raw ingredients (cocoa beans and organic cane sugar) is very high.
- The time and labour that goes into growing cocoa and making artisan chocolate on such a small scale.
- The investment in machinery (melanger, roaster, grinders, winnower, grindometer, fridges and molds etc) to produce a consistent product also has to be factored in.
- Design, printing and packaging.
- Maintaining a website and marketing our brand.
The only way to make it sustainable, is that the bar has to cost a little more than a mass produced product.
However, to keep our costs down, so everyone can enjoy the taste of Thai chocolate, we:
- Keep supply chains short and support local businesses.
- We also grow our own cocoa on Anarchy Farm and in our private permaculture food forest.
- We do not import cocoa beans from outside Thailand.
Although Anarchy Chocolate is a family enterprise, everybody has to earn their way but are invested in the long-term success of our operation. Someone working 9-to-5 wouldn’t put the same amount of time, love and commitment in a continual basis into making craft chocolate.
With all that being said, we like to think we are able to create an affordable yet premium chocolate bar and additional products. You’ll simply love the taste of freedom!
What is the Difference Between a Chocolate Maker and a Chocolatier?
A chocolate maker is somebody who buys cocoa beans and then performs all the steps to make a finished chocolate bar themselves.
A Chocolatier buys and re-melts already produced chocolate to make into confections and flavoured products to consume.
What are the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
The good news is that dark chocolate IS good for you, as long as it isn’t the sugary mass-produced stuff that is generally passed off as chocolate.
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, minerals and nutrients that can improve your health, lower the risk of heart disease and simply make you feel good. That will be the theobromine!
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70% or above cocoa contains the following:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
It makes sense to include a few squares of chocolate or to sprinkle some cocoa nibs on your cereal as part of your healthy dietary intake.
Why is Chocolate Know as the Food of Love?
Did you know that chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins in our brains, the natural body hormones that generate feelings of pleasure and well-being?
Chocolate contains a natural ‘love drug‘ called Tryptophan. This is an essential amino acid that the brain uses to create niacin to make a neurotransmitter called serotonin. High levels of serotonin, produce feelings of elation, the same feeling we get when we fall in love.
Here is an interesting fact – Chocolate is made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and Theobroma is ancient Greek for ‘food of the gods‘.
The lost civilization of the Aztecs revered the cacao tree and even used its beans as a form of currency. They saw the tree as a source of strength and wealth.
Your health is your wealth, so whether you see yourself as a love god or simply want to fall in love a little every day, eat more chocolate, it will make you feel good!
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Chocolate to Your Dog?
The toxic components of chocolate are caffeine and theobromine.
Humans easily metabolise caffeine and theobromine and get a little buzz from these stimulants, but unfortunately for man’s best friend, dogs process it much more slowly, allowing toxic levels to build up in their system.
Larger hounds can consume more chocolate than small dogs before suffering adverse effects. A small amount of milk chocolate in a brownie will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhoea.
Theobromine is found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate and can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, internal bleeding or even a heart attack.
The tell-tale sign that your dog has theobromine poisoning is usually first shown by severe hyperactivity. The only treatment for chocolate poisoning is to induce your dog to vomit soon after ingestion. The longer it is in their system, the more danger there is for your pet.
If you are worried that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing unusual signs of hyperactivity contact your local veterinarian immediately.
How Much is Postage and Packaging?
In Thailand, we charge a flat rate of 70 Baht for postage and packaging with a tracking number anywhere in the country.
We use the Thailand Postal Service and delivery is usually within 1 to three days.
Do You Sell Chocolate Outside Thailand?
Yes we do. Please contact us directly here to submit your order as we currently only take orders in Thailand from our website.
Alternatively, visit our Anarchy Farm store on etsy to buy our bean to bar chocolate and other items in your currency. Click here to visit the store.
Do You Accepted Cryptocurrency Payments?
Yes we do!
To pay securely using Arrr (Pirate Chain), Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash or Litecoin choose the CryptocurrencyCheckout option in your shopping cart.