Bean-to-Bar, Direct Trade, Single Origin? Anyone looking for really good chocolate often has to fight their way through a jungle of terms. We'll clear things up and show you what bean-to-bar means and why it's worth spending more money on high-quality chocolate. And we have 3 practical tips on how to recognize really good chocolate.
What does bean to bar mean?
Bean-to-bar is on everyone's lips right now. As the term suggests, bean-to-bar chocolate is made from a single source, from bean to bar. He describes a trading model in which the chocolate manufacturer accompanies the entire process. He buys cocoa beans directly from the farmer, roasts, refines and then processes the mass into the final product. To the chocolate that we can enjoy! Being responsible for the entire process is very time-consuming. The chocolate manufacturer must have equipment and expertise for each individual processing step. At the same time, bean-to-bar gives him the opportunity to control the taste and quality of the chocolate right from the start.
For comparison: other manufacturers usually buy chocolate mass and then process it further. Of course, their treats can also be of high quality. But they are not from a single source and therefore not bean-to-bar. The manufacturer's creative design options are only limited to the later steps, such as the addition of other additives such as sea salt, hazelnuts, etc.
Each fruit is treated individually by the farmer ©Raaka Chocolate
Where does the trend come from?
What are we actually eating? What is inside? And where does it come from? More and more people are questioning long ingredient lists, opaque production chains and dumping food prices. Since the turn of the millennium, this trend has also been adopted in the chocolate industry. Passionate bean-to-bar manufacturers stand for transparent trading channels, careful production and quality. Bean-to-Bar is intended for connoisseurs who value taste but also the story behind the chocolate.
Is bean-to-bar chocolate always good chocolate?
So is chocolate that says bean-to-bar automatically high quality? Unfortunately it's not that simple. Bean-to-Bar refers first of all to the trading model, not to a quality standard. As is so often the case, you shouldn’t let yourself be blinded by trendy terms. Instead, it's better to take a closer look at the ingredients and the manufacturer. Even large companies that sell masses of chocolate at low prices ultimately want to benefit from the trend.
The beans are dried under the sun ©Raaka Chocolate
Nevertheless, many manufacturers who produce everything themselves, from the bean to the bar, value the transparency of the process and can thus ensure high quality. For customers, it is important to differentiate between bean-to-bar as a marketing measure and bean-to-bar out of passion. We have 3 tips on how to make this distinction.
3 tips on how to recognize really good chocolate
- What is inside? Sounds banal, but a look at the ingredients often provides clarity. Here you can see whether they only advertise bean-to-bar or whether you have really good chocolate in front of you. Because high-quality chocolate consists primarily of one ingredient: cocoa. Even milk chocolate can still have a cocoa content of around 50%. Sugar definitely shouldn't be the main ingredient. So the following applies: Bean-to-bar is great if the remaining ingredients are carefully selected.
- Who is behind the chocolate? It's worth looking behind the company's facade. The Berlin manufacturer Belyzium, for example, even produces tree-to-bar: from harvesting from its own cocoa plantations in Central America to fermentation, roasting, refining and pouring the chocolate mass. You can taste this love for chocolate.
- Too cheap to be true? High-quality chocolate has its price. To return to industrially produced mass-produced goods: bars that cost less than €1 per 100g may have originated in the company's own plantations. It is very likely that the focus is not on quality, but on quantity. So spending a little more money is inevitable. But honestly, there's no better investment than chocolate, right?
After fermentation, the beans are transported in bags ©Raaka Chocolate
Snack, get set, go!Even if the jungle of terms surrounding chocolate is reminiscent of the complicated vocabulary of a wine lover: be brave enough to try it! If you're a real chocolate connoisseur, you'll be happy to spend a little more time choosing your next bar. Bean-to-bar is a great way to enjoy transparent production chains, careful craftsmanship and good taste.
And we can promise one thing: good chocolate tastes even better when you see the care and handwork with which it was made.
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