Unfortunately, phrases like "bean to bar" and "craft chocolate" are being increasingly used as little more than marketing tools.
But what is craft chocolate?
John Nanci (a pioneer of bean-to-bar chocolate making who I've learned SO much from) has put it this way:
"To me craft chocolate is chocolate made with intent.
I might be able to argue that it is where one person has a hand in every step of the process of creation.
It might not be any more or less than that.
To expand a little though, it has little to do with scale.
Someone that pours beans in a hypothetical machine, pushes a few buttons and chocolate comes out the next day isn’t making craft chocolate even if it is only one pound.
Alternatively, someone that is using 3 bag (500 lb) roaster, watching the controls, who has personally formulated the chocolate and decides when it is done is still craft as they have their hands in it.
I just love that philosophy!
That's why we carefully sort every bean by hand before it goes into our roaster.
And while we use a vacuum-powered machine (designed by John Nanci!) to separate the cacao nibs from the cacao shells after roasting and cracking, we still have a thorough visual check before finally adding the nibs to the grinder.
Any remaining shell gets removed by hand.
Why go to all that trouble?
Because the shells can adversely affect the quality and taste of the chocolate.
We grind the nibs for three days, temper, then mould by hand.
Each bar is carefully weighed while moulding.
Once the bars have set, they're ready for wrapping.
That's the care and attention that we believe truly handcrafted chocolate deserves.