What is Single Origin Chocolate?

Was ist Single Origin Schokolade?
The idea behind Single Origin chocolate is similar to coffee: it is chocolate made from cocoa beans, all harvested in the same region. But why is this so important?

Single origin chocolate and terroir

The cacao plant is similar to wine and coffee: it absorbs aromas and characteristics of the environment and the region in which it grows. The concept of 'terroir' is probably not unfamiliar to the casual wine drinker. And it's equally true of chocolate. In this sense, the taste of chocolate - like wine or coffee - can be described with similar vocabulary. For example, chocolate from certain regions is particularly fruity, flowery, earthy or even berry... just to name a few terms.

chocolate single origin

It's all in the mix...not

When cocoa beans from different countries of origin are mixed, their specific 'terroir' – ie the special taste of the region or even of the individual farm ('single plantation': as with Soklet or Auro ) – is lost. This is almost always the case with supermarket chocolates! It's all about speed, cheap prices and getting a consistent taste experience. That is why the cocoa is mostly imported from African countries such as Ghana or the Ivory Coast - often already as a finished cocoa mass - and then processed into a uniform end product. Since the cocoa beans are often less tasty, they are subjected to heavy roasting. The result is practically the opposite of the idea behind 'Single Origin': ugly uniformity with a lot of sugar and other additives.

chocolate origin

Of course there are also good 'blends' – ie chocolate with cocoa beans from different countries – which are still extremely good. Depending on the properties of the cocoa beans, a beautifully balanced chocolate can come out, just like with coffee. So if you come across a really tasty 'Blend' chocolate, you shouldn't ignore it. Ultimately, it's all about whether you like the chocolate. As with single origin chocolates, your main focus should be on the origin of the cocoa beans and a transparent chocolate supply chain. And this is often particularly difficult with so-called 'blends'. This is one of the reasons why we almost exclusively have single origin chocolates in our shop.

'Single Origin' as a quality feature?

Unfortunately, while we praise the concept of 'single origin' so much, it is also known to many of the marketing departments of larger chocolate manufacturers. And unfortunately, these are often more about sales than about taste. As mentioned above, it is not enough for a chocolate to say 'single origin'. Just like a 'blend' doesn't have to mean anything bad. A good example is Ghana: Of course it's nice when all the cocoa beans in a bar come from Ghana. Unfortunately, this does not make the chocolate tasty, fair or sustainable. In Ghana in particular, it is difficult to get really fair and sustainably grown cocoa beans. And if Ghana were to provide particularly different flavors in different regions, for example, it would be a shame if all the cocoa beans were simply thrown together.
It is the case in Venezuela, for example, that the different regions offer such exciting tastes that a chocolate made with cocoa beans from all over Venezuela would probably be less exciting. However, a chocolate from the Chuao region could be particularly exciting. This would then be 'Single Region' or even 'Single Farm/Plantation'. Incidentally, it can be particularly exciting to compare several chocolates from different regions of the country with the same cocoa content (around 70% if possible).

Fair, fairer, origin chocolate

It doesn't matter whether it's 'Single Farm', 'Single Origin' or 'Blend'. The most important question is not where the beans come from, but whether the cocoa beans come from fair and social conditions. You can either check this yourself...or buy chocolate directly from us ;-). Because we take a very close look at all producers, ask questions, visit them and check the cocoa cooperatives as best we can. Incidentally, where we can, we buy the chocolate directly from manufacturers in the countries of origin. Because even with fair conditions and direct trading of cocoa beans, the majority of the turnover always remains with the chocolate manufacturer (at least 30% +).
Therefore, it is of course best for the communities and the local economy if manufacturers also produce and export the chocolates there. We have already achieved our first sub-goal. In (almost) all of our boxes and tastings, over 50% of the chocolate comes directly from local manufacturers. What is also interesting about these chocolates is that they are often (not always) produced for the local markets. Accordingly, they often taste different than those from European chocolate producers.

You can also find single-origin chocolates in our shop in our tasting boxes or at our virtual chocolate tasting team events .

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