What Is Bean To Bar Chocolate?

The term bean to bar chocolate started as a way for small chocolate makers to distinguish their chocolate from both chocolatiers, and also mass produced chocolate. Starting around 2005, craft chocolate makers began operating in the small batch territory, some producing just a few hundred bars a month. After buying small quantities of cacao, they were cleaning, roasting, cracking, winnowing, and grinding the cacao beans themselves.

They began calling this process "bean to bar," meaning from cacao bean to chocolate bar, as shorthand for the long process of micro-batch chocolate making, whereas chocolatiers melt pre-made chocolate to make chocolate confections.

Bean to Bar Chocolate Movement

These early bean to bar chocolate makers often started out because they wanted to learn how chocolate is made, and continued after realizing how much control small batch chocolate makers have over the final product.

Bean to bar chocolate makers control where they source each ingredient, often making single origin chocolates to show off the complexity of each cacao. The movement of bean to bar chocolate has continued to gain momentum because consumers can also taste this difference. While industrial chocolate tastes flat and lacks provenance, bean to bar chocolate contains a multitude of flavors and stories.

To achieve these results, makers have to purchase small amounts of ingredients at a time, and bootstrap most of their equipment. This makes bean to bar chocolate more expensive than industrial chocolate, so small makers have had to educate their customers as to why their chocolate tastes so different and costs so much more than other “premium” chocolates. Eventually, the term "bean to bar" became global shorthand for "small batch chocolate." Starting around 2015, larger chocolate companies started noticing the popularity of bean to bar chocolate and began co-opting the term.

While the implication of and culture surrounding bean to bar is strong, there's no legal definition for the term. It's actually just a literal description of the product. If you make chocolate directly from cacao beans rather than prepared cacao mass, you've made bean to bar chocolate. If your company owns the processing facility where the cacao mass was produced, you might stretch your definition to fit that.

But thousand-pound batches of chocolate go against the small-batch feel & origins of the bean to bar chocolate movement. So while the term was necessary for the market at the time, which had almost no knowledge of how chocolate was even made, many makers have begun using the term "craft chocolate".

Now that the premium chocolate industry has built a base in many parts of the world, it's drawing comparisons to craft beer and craft coffee, connecting delicious flavors with the ideals of handiwork and traceability.

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  • Award Winning Chocolate Makers

    Bar & Cocoa is the premier purveyor of exceptional craft chocolates from award winning chocolate makers. We hand pick exceptional makers.

  • Ethically Sourced

    Ethics is a key ingredient to the world’s best chocolate. Our selection supports a supply chain that is more transparent than fair trade — and tastier!

  • Fine & Rare Origins

    We showcase chocolate crafted from fine quality cacao. You can taste the uniqueness and complexity of different origins, unlike mass-produced chocolate.


What makes Bar & Cocoa different?

At Bar & Cocoa, we're not just another chocolate shop; we're a chocolate experience. We meticulously curate a selection of the finest chocolates from artisanal makers around the globe. Our focus is on quality, ethical sourcing, and sustainability. We go the extra mile to educate our customers about the complexities of cacao cultivation and chocolate making through detailed product descriptions, flavor profiles, and origin stories. When you shop with us, you're not just indulging in a treat; you're becoming part of a community that values the art and science of chocolate making.

What is bean to bar chocolate?

Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate that is made from scratch by the same producer, starting from the raw cacao beans and ending with the finished chocolate bars and treats. This process allows the chocolate maker to control every aspect of the chocolate making, such as roasting, grinding, conching, tempering, and molding. Bean to bar chocolate is often more flavorful, nuanced, and ethical than mass-produced chocolate. It reflects the artistry and craftsmanship of the maker and the quality and origin of the cacao.

How do you source your chocolate? Is it ethical and sustainable?

We source our chocolate from award winning craft makers who use high-quality cacao beans and go beyond fair trade. We work with over 50 fine chocolate makers from around the world who share our values and passion for real chocolate. Some of the countries we source our chocolate from include Peru, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua,, Philippines, India, and many more. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting origins and makers to add to our collection.

Do you have vegan, or keto-friendly or soy free chocolate?

Yes, we do! We have a variety of chocolate options that cater to different dietary preferences and needs. You can browse our collections of organic chocolate, vegan chocolate, keto-friendly chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, dairy-free chocolate, gluten-free chocolate, soy-free chocolate, nut-free chocolate, and more on our website. We also provide detailed information on each product page about the ingredients and allergens of each product.

How do you pick your chocolate makers?

When it comes to selecting our chocolate offerings, we're basically the chocolate sommeliers you never knew you needed. Our process starts with rigorous research and tastings. Yeah, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. We scour the globe for artisanal and craft chocolate makers who share our commitment to quality, ethical sourcing, and innovation in flavor.

We scrutinize everything from cacao origin to production methods and flavor profiles. Only the best of the best make it into our curated collection, offering you a world-class chocolate experience in every bite. Each bar has a story, a unique flavor profile, and the power to transport you to a different part of the globe. We're not just selling chocolate; we're offering an edible journey.