How did carpenters and woodworkers such as Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor decide to become small batch bean-to-bar chocolate makers?
“The answer for us is plain as day, but for others I’m sure it is bit of a jump,” says Adam Dick, co-owner.
“For as long as we can remember, we have been making things by hand,” he explains. “The time and care required for fitting a mortise or shaping a plank is not unlike the process of hand-crafting chocolate from the bean. We have never shied away from a challenge in order to produce a beautifully finished product. It is just part of who we are.”
From the beginning, the two craftsmen decided to take a hands-on approach, starting with the raw cacao.
“We have worked tirelessly over the last three and a half years to craft a product we are proud of,” says Dick. “It has meant long days and a commitment to quality even if it meant completely re-working our process over and over again.”
The two started by sourcing the finest fair-trade cacao they could find and performing all the steps in-house to turn the raw ingredients into delicious chocolate, all in their small factory in Arcata, Calif.
“Initially our approach to making chocolate was simple in terms of processing,” Dick says. “As our knowledge of chocolate as well as our palates matured, we began to realize there were lots of variables that we were not able to control and felt like we could do better. Thus, began an ongoing series of changes and tweaks to our processing with hopes of improving all aspects of our chocolate. Even today we constantly analyze every step of the process and always look for ways to innovate or improve. We still have a long way to go!”
The duo only uses organic cacao and organic cane sugar in their chocolate.
As Dick explains, “By not cutting corners or taking shortcuts in our process, we are able to leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, in hopes of capturing and highlighting the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao we source from around the world.”
Indeed, the company just recently garnered A Good Food award this past January for its Belize chocolate bar.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. I love candy. Probably would have to go with Shock Tarts.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For years it was always an archeologist.
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
I find myself watching a lot of machinery videos on YouTube. Here is a video of our new conches doing a test run. I have watched it over and over again waiting for it to get here.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
My biggest concern is with the rapid growth of American Craft Chocolate and its often lack of quality. I hope we can not only grow in number but also in quality.
What’s the last book you read?
Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use by Steve T. Beckett.
What is your pet peeve?
Not sure, I generally try not to be bothered by much.
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
We have a local cheese maker that I would love to work with someday. Not sure in what capacity, but it could be interesting.
What excites you most about your job?
It’s always different each day. It keeps you on your toes, and we get to work with some really cool machinery.