Ethically Sourced USA Craft Chocolate Makers
A decade ago, craft chocolate made a surge in the United States, and there was an explosion of new makers creating amazingly delicious and unique chocolate in small batches all across the country. The best thing was it was being done in a new way.
The new movement that started is called "Bean to Bar". Bean to Bar makers control the entire chocolate-making process, from sourcing the cacao directly from sustainable growers at fair prices, to grinding and conching the chocolate. This ensures the entire process can be transparent and fair.
Bean to Bar ended the old technique of buying European premade chocolate.
Here are craft chocolate makers from the USA who are making chocolate ethically that you need to try.
Dick Taylor- Eureka, California
Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor have always loved crafting. With a background in woodworking and boat building, they have always worked with their hands. Craft is a guiding principle in their lives. After hearing about the craft chocolate movement in the late '00s, they saw similarities in woodworking and craft chocolate making. They became fascinated with the idea of the chocolate experience and in 2010 bought their first chocolate-making equipment. Their chocolate captures and highlights the subtle flavour nuances in the cacao they source from around the world, with the goal to make an enjoyable chocolate experience for us.
Our favourite bar? Dick Taylor Brazil, Fazenda Camboa 75%.
Dick Taylor sources the cacao for this bar from the Carvalho family's brand Cacao Bahia, in eastern Brazil. The cacao has been grown and exported by the family since 1942, expanding little by little to become the largest organic producer of cacao in the region. Fazenda Camboa's cacao is deliciously earthy and nutty on its own, but when combined with a touch of sugar, the flavors expand to include honeysuckle, walnut, and even fresh grapes.
Ranger Chocolate- Portland, Oregan
Based on family recipes and named for founder George Domurot’s niece, a National Park Service Forest Ranger, Ranger Chocolate Company carefully handles each cacao bean to unlock nuance, regionality, and terroir-driven flavours in their chocolate.
Our favourite bar? Ranger Maple 66% Large
Maple sugar is made by evaporating the water from maple sap, leaving behind pure maple sugar crystals. Maple sugar tends to have a sweeter taste. Paired with a bold fruit forward Trinitario cacao, the resulting chocolate bar has a unique flavor profile that you'll love.
Amano Artisan Chocolate- Orem, Utah
Amano Artisan Chocolate is a small-batch craft chocolate maker based in Orem, Utah. Amano is an award-winning maker, they make all their chocolate on vintage equipment. Their small batch process allows Amano to control and observe flavor development, making each batch of chocolate not only delicious but unique.
Our favourite bar? Amano Guayas 70%
From a fertile Guayas floodplain comes the pride of Ecuador- the Nacional cocoa bean, grown nowhere else in the world. In seclusion, farmers have cultivated wild cacao into a balanced expression of untamed nature and sophistication. Amano's hand-roasted this bean, using their antique stone grinder, releasing its characteristic floral aroma. Rich nuanced notes of smoke, green banana, and blackberry will transport you to another time and place where magic and love abound.
Raaka Chocolate- Brooklyn, New York
Raaka is devoted to making uncommonly delicious chocolate that captures the brighter, bolder, and fruitier side of cacao. They make every bar from scratch with unroasted cacao beans, sourced from growers they trust and admire. The unique flavour of their unroasted chocolate is part place, part process. They craft their bars in celebration of each cacao origin's unique character. Their chocolate making process values the community of growers, producers, and makers whose livelihoods depend on cacao and chocolate. All of their chocolate is made from scratch, bean-to-bar, in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Our favourite bar? Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged 82%
They age single origin Tanzanian cacao in bourbon casks for two months, creating a deeply nuanced bar with a cocktail-like vibe: oaky and smooth, with a hint of cherry cordial on the finish. It is their best selling bar and a 2013 Good Food Award Winner.
Taza Chocolate- Somerville, Massachusetts
Taza Chocolate makes stone-ground chocolate. Cacao is so complex in flavor that they want to let it shout loud and proud. That is why they do less to bring us more. They stone grind organic cacao beans into perfectly unrefined, minimally processed chocolate with bold flavor and texture, unlike anything you have ever tasted.
Our favourite bar? Taza Chocolate Mexicano Chipotle 70%
Stoneground, organic Mexican-style dark chocolate discs with a smoky kick of chipotle chili. Experience chocolate with true grit! Two discs in each package, perfect for sharing.
Manoa Chocolate Hawaii- Kailua, Hawaii
Manoa is a Hawaiian-based chocolate maker. Hawaii is the only state in the USA to grow cacao. The story of this maker began in the labs at the University of Hawaii in 2010 studying cacao as a crop for the state. Manoa started as college students with no money and bootstrapped their business with ingenuity and determination.
Our favourite bar? Manoa Mai'a Banana & Nibs 70%
This inclusion bar is a new creation by Manoa. This bar features vibrant artwork by local artist Shar Tuiasoa of Punky Aloha and delicate molding inspired by Polynesian tattoo patterns. Together with historical tidbits about each inclusion ingredient, the complete package of flavor, art, and culture create three bars that do more than taste good: this is chocolate with a sense of place. A fruit brought by Polynesian settlers on their long voyage to Hawaii, banana is known as one of the canoe plants - crops essential for island living. Mai'a (banana), was used as sustenance, offerings to ali'i (ruling chiefs), and as medicine.
To get started with craft chocolate, start with our Kekao Box. We search the world for the finest chocolate bars and bring them right to your doorstep monthly. From rich dark Peruvian chocolate bars to new start-up chocolate bars on the come up, you never know what you'll get inside the box! Each month we will curate 4 to 5 premium specialty crafted chocolate bars.
If you want to just try a couple of bars, check out our online chocolate store.
If you have any questions regarding this blog, our Kekao Box, or premium specialty crafted chocolate bars, feel free to contact us! Keep up with us by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.