What Is Craft Chocolate?

Describing a food as “craft" implies an elevation, a longevity and dedication to perfection— or as close as you can get to it. Recently this term has been applied to a variety of emerging premium markets, including beer, coffee, and chocolate. In the case of the latter, what distinguishes a craft chocolate from a mass-market chocolate is the human touch & transformation present in its every element.

Compared to single origin chocolate, which only addresses where the ingredients come from, the term “craft” applies to each step of creation.

Craftspeople, or artisans, have been around for millennia. Back when everybody had a single role in their society, being an artisan meant that you'd been perfecting your family's craft since childhood. But as societies became larger and roles more specialized, cooks became pastry chefs, and then chocolatiers, and eventually, some of them became chocolate makers. Now many of these chocolate makers are crafting bars which are savored and shared just like bottles of wine.

Yet we still don’t think of wine and chocolate as being in the same category of fine food. To most people, the idea of a craft wine is redundant. Wine is already an elevated beverage, largely savored on special occasions and in specific settings. Chocolate entered the wider market as a mass-produced product, so we’ve been taught to think of it as a cheap snack. To differentiate craft chocolate, the language used to describe it must be elevated accordingly.

The term “craft” is a relatively new addition to the chocolate industry’s vocabulary. Many people started using it around 2013 and 2014, when a few large chocolate manufacturers started co-opting the term “bean to bar chocolate.” In the intervening years, chocolate makers, educators, and observers alike have tried to define the term “craft chocolate.” You can read some such examples here, here, and here. But the main tenets of craft chocolate are these: quality and traceability.

Chocolate makers who identify with the craft chocolate movement value using high quality cacao, carefully harvested and processed from the world’s most flavorful varietals. But they also want to make sure that the high quality cacao they use is sourced from people, not places. The ideal of craft chocolate is not just knowing your chocolate maker, but also the farmers and processes behind the cacao beans going into that chocolate bar or bonbon.

Then again, just like “natural” or “premium,” the term “craft chocolate” currently has no legal definition; anyone who wants to can call their chocolate “craft.” That’s why it’s important to get to know the chocolate makers behind the chocolates you buy. Because unlike the stakeholders at industrial chocolate companies, your local chocolate maker is excited to meet you.

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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.