"Craft Chocolate". The term is all over our website and social media feed. We even call ourselves Craft Chocolate's Champion. But what is craft chocolate? More importantly, why should you care about it?
Craft chocolate is not just about how the chocolate is made. It's about what it represents and how much good it does to the world. In fact, Rebel Chocolates's main mission is not just to sell chocolate. Rather it's to use chocolate as a tool for positive change in the world. Sounds gimmicky, I know. What if I told you it was true and that you can also be part of this change? Please read on to find out how Rebel plans on achieving that goal.
1. It Starts with the Cocoa Bean
There are 2 types of cocoa beans: bulk (or industrial) and fine flavor cocoa beans.
Bulk cocoa beans make up roughly 90% of the cocoa bean supply in the world. They are typically very inexpensive, taste bitter and have a very flat flavor profile. Surprisingly, 90% of the chocolate products on the market today are made with this type of chocolate.
Fine Flavor cocoa beans make up the rest of the cocoa bean global supply. They typically offer a very complex flavor profile such as fruit, floral, herbal, and wood notes, nut and caramel notes as well as rich and balanced chocolate bases.
Craft chocolate is typically made using the second category of beans. Thanks to the naturally occurring bouquet of flavors found in this type of chocolate, craft chocolate rarely has or needs any added flavors. There are some exceptions such as Sirene's Fleur de Sel bar or Hummingbird's Peanut Butter and Joy bar, but these inclusions of flavor are natural and compliment the flavor notes of the beans used.
2. The Way it's Made
The Chocolate Maker
Craft chocolate is made by passionate artisan chocolate makers who not only care about the people who eat their chocolates but also about the farmers who harvested the beans they use. Who do you rather buy your food from, profit-driven corporations or artisan food makers? The answer is pretty obvious in my opinion.
Bean to Bar
"Bean to bar", there's another expression that you've heard me use quite often. That means artisan makers will use cocoa beans that they import directly from farmers and will make the chocolate from scratch in their workshops. It's a lot harder than it sounds. The maker will roast the beans
Most artisan chocolate makers will fabricate their chocolate in small batches to better control the consistency of the final result. Making chocolate is very demanding and requires a huge amount of attention to detail.
3. It's Really Ethical
Bulk beans and slavery
Remember those bulk beans I mentioned earlier? The majority of these originate from West African countries such as Ivory Coast and Ghana where allegations of modern slavery and child labor still run rampant. That's how big manufacturers are able to keep their cost really low. And that's the reason you find lots of chocolate bars that retail for as low as $3 for a bar of 100g. At that price, how much do you think is left over for the farmer?
The lie that is Fair Trade
The idea of Fair Trade is great. It's meant to establish a minimum price at which farmers could sell their beans on the market. It was also meant to fight poverty, slavery and child labor.
However, Fair Trade has failed to achieve that on all accounts. In fact, many studies suggest that little of the extra money paid by consumers for Fair Trade certified products actually reach the farmers. Furthermore, the extra costs of certification and inspection cancel out the premium that farmers receive for the beans, giving them very little incentive to get certified. The only organizations that profit from Fair Trade are the manufactures and the retailers who charge upwards of 30% for chocolate that have the famous Fair Trade seal.
The beauty of Direct Trade
Most craft chocolate makers buy their cocoa beans directly from farmers at prices a lot higher than fair trade. First, because fine flavor cocoa beans are more expensive due to their rarity and higher cost of maintenance. Second, artisan chocolate makers have an emotional link to the farmers and their communities. They visit them on an annual basis and spend time getting to know them. Naturally, the craft maker will tend to be a lot more generous towards these communities when they buy their beans from them. Therefore the more we support craft chocolate makers, the more the more they can give back to these communities.
Craft Chocolate: A Tool For Positive Change
By buying craft chocolate, we help entire communities in third world countries live respectable lives. We also help clean up our food supply chain for us and our children. Because craft chocolate makers add no artificial ingredients and preservatives to their products, we are essentially eating a very natural and healthy product.
Most of us also realize that the world is full of inequalities and the majority of us want to help but feel helpless. We can't all move to third world countries to help build villages for poor communities. It's in our everyday small actions that we can truly make a positive difference in this world. We all eat and love chocolate. We eat pounds of it every year. Therefore by switching to craft chocolate, we could really make a huge difference in our lives and in the lives of millions of people around the world.
Thanks for reading.
Richard, Founder of Rebel Chocolates
About Rebel Chocolates
Rebel Chocolates is a one-stop shop for everything craft chocolate. Not only do we think it's the best tasting chocolate in the world, but the most ethical as well. From award-winning chocolate bars to drinking chocolate, organic cocoa nibs and single-origin chocolate chips, we have it all.