What Is Bean To Bar Chocolate?


+ Bean To Bar is what it is not

Bean To Bar Chocolate is a term which has become synonymous with other terms such as fine chocolate, craft chocolate, aritisan chocolate, "natural" chocolate, and high quality chocolate. I'm taking a more straight forward approach and defining it according to the meaning bean to bar makers are trying to convey.

The term has been adopted to separate it from two greater sectors of the industry: chocolatiers and bulk chocolate makers.

It's not couvature chocolate

Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate made from from scratch, that is, from the cocoa bean. This is what every bean to bar chocolate makers wants you to know.

You may think that most brands or chocolate companies makes their own chocolate from scratch, but you would be wrong. Make a list of all the chocolate shops in your city or town, and I can assure you that today, 90-100% of all of them don't make their own chocolate from scratch. They take already made chocolate (couvature), usually in the form of big blocks or small peletts, melt it down, and proceed to make bars, truffles, bon bons, showpieces, etc.

These are what we call chocolatiers, or chocolate melters. They take chocolate aleady made chocolate to make other confections, but they don't actually make the chocolate itself.

Chocolate makers are bean to bar makers. They take the cacao beans, roast them, and turn them into chocolate. This is a set of skills very different than that from a chocolatier.

You then may think that companies such as Hershey or Lindt are bean to bar makers. And you would be right! They are making chocolate from scratch, but how they differ from the artisan/craft bean to bar makers is the quality of the main ingredient, cacao.

It's not bulk chocolate

Bean to bar makers use (or are supposed to use) high quality cacao. Lind, Hershey, Cadbury, Callebeaut, Cacao Barry use bulk cacao. They are bulk chocoalte makers, not bean to bar makers in the way we mean it here.

So not only do bean to bar makers use their own cacao, but the "bean to bar" maker community are supposed to be using high quality cacao.

Bulk cacao is more bitter, dry, and less aromatic than fine cacao. Fine cacao gives fine chocolate its array of fruity, nutty, and spicy aromas. This is very similar to fine coffee and bulk coffee. Bulk cacao is turned into standard bulk chocolate, which pretty much all taste the same. Fine cacao can be turned into fine chocolate with an array of aromas and sensory traits that go beyond our expecations of what chocolate should be.



What is bean to bar? The word generally represents two things: From the cacao, and from high quality cacao.

What is the process? There are many steps, but it boils down to Harvesting, fermenting, drying, sorting/winnowing, refining/melanging, tempering,

What determines quality? Flavour first, then everything else good (organic, fair trade, etc.)

Where determines flavour? Genes, what the farmers do, what the growers do.

Where can I learn more?

B2B Compass


Blog, Videos

Books & Online Research

Where can I taste more?

Online shop

Makers worldwide

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