Bean To Bar 101

Be your own judge of chocolate!

 
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+ What is “bean to bar” (B2B) chocolate?

Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate made from scratch, that is, from the cacao seed. The focus of fine bean to bar makers is fine flavour and fair relationships.

All chocolate makers are essentially bean to bar, however, fine bean to bar makers differ from the rest in two regards.

Firstly, they want to differentiate themselves from chocolatiers. These are professionals who use already made chocolate and turn it into bon bons, truffles, confections, and showpieces. Bean to bar makers want you to know that they are not simply obtaining bulk chocolate and repackaging it, but making it from scratch. Roughly over 90% or all of the chococolate shops in your city are chocolatiers, not chocolate makers. It's not that one is above the other, but they are two very different professions (with different skill sets) that revolve around chocolate.

Secondly, bean to bar makers want to differentiate themselves from the commercial grade chocolate makers, who produce most of the chocolate in the world. There was a time centuries ago when chocolate was made locally in a town by hand. Today, most chocolate is produced by a few large or medium size companies that simply pump out chocolate. The artisan side has been dissolved, but is returning now in the form of bean to bar. So what makes B2B makers different from non B2B makers? B2B revolve their business around two major values:

  • Fine flavour
    • Using varieties of cacao that are of high quality
    • Processing it in a way that retains the integrity of the flavour
  • Fair relationships
    • Paying farmers a great deal more for their cacao than the larger corporations
      • Bulk cacao is purchased for $1-2 a kilo, but fine cacao is purchased for $5, $8, or more per kilo.
    • Paying attention to the relationship their company has to the environment

This is the general idea of what Bean to bar chocolate is and is not. However, B2B has become complicated with jargon and clever marketing. The ideas of organic, raw, vegan, also add to the confusion.

Remember, not all B2B is created equally. Just because its expensive chocolate, or "bean to bar" chocolate, doesn't mean its worth the price tag! It's up to you to discern. Educate yourself, taste, and learn from one another.

 

Mastering Chocolate Flavour

Work your way through the 3 main components crucial to understanding the world of fine chocolate:  

1

History

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+ Throughout The Ages

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History of chocolate

If you want to discern the various chocolate products available today, you must understand them within the context of their history.
Bean to bar chocolate as we know it today grew from a chain of events which spans thousands of years.
The history also enables us to appreciate the lives of those who brought us this wonderful food.

2

Process

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+ Tree To Bar

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The Genetics

The Growers

The Makers

Having an idea of each step of the process will enable you to make wiser choices when it comes to purchasing your chocolate. As well, understanding the process will help you interpret labels, understand and discern quality.

3

Neurogastronomy

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+ Flavour 101

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Brain Matters

How To Taste

"Neuro" - relating to the nervous system, brain; "gastronomy" - the art of preparing and eating food. Flavour is created in the brain! Understanding how our brain interprets flavour will help you get the most out of your chocolate. Anyone can learn to appreciate fine chocolate. You just require the proper tools and information.
 

Important

These modules are meant to give you a concise yet substantial overview of chocolate, and lead you towards understanding bean to bar chocolate, but it doesn't end here.  Visit the resources, delve into books of interest, and stay up to date with current news and researchContact CWG if you have further questions.

Chocolate & Books