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  • Are you a chocolatier?
    Chocolatier sure sounds fancy, but we are chocolate makers. What is the difference? Most of the chocolate you buy comes from chocolatiers. A chocolate maker, similar to a winemaster or a beer brewer, focuses on making the ingredient chocolate: choosing a terroir, then fermenting, roasting, winnowing, refining, conching and sometimes ageing. All this for the cacao’s terroir to come through after a series of adjustments that highlight its best notes and give texture to the chocolate, the desired aroma, mouthfeel, flavour notes and flavour length. A chocolatier gets chocolate from the maker and makes delicious and/or beautiful creations with it. They are masters of manipulating chocolate, and coming up with broader recipes including the chocolate.
  • What is bean-to-bar?
    Bean-to-bar is the counter-movement to the industrial revolution’s industrialisation of chocolate, in which chocolate uniqueness and quality took a hit. Starting in the 1990’s in the USA, people deconstructed chocolate, going back to the trail that was started 5,000 years ago by the Mayan and Aztech who first developed a culture of processing and consuming cacao. Bean to bar is a bit like craft beer/sourdough bread/natural wine/etc. Commodity chocolate’s manufacturing damages not only the flavour and nutrition value of cacao but also labour conditions and worse in it’s supply chain. In BTB makers partner directly with farmers who charge prices of their choosing and create a delicious and nutrition-packed crop, ferment it intentionally in conditions they master. The main goal of BTB is to focus intentionally on every step in the fascinating process of making chocolate, while only applying friction, temperature and time on the cacao, and create a chocolate of excellent texture, and long and interesting flavour notes.
  • How is your chocolate sustainable?
    We take a no-bs approach to sustainability, it’s at the core of what we do. We pay more than double the “fair trade” price for cacao: not because we’re generous, but that’s simply what the farmer’s craft and terroir is worth, and the pricing he’s set to grow his business, not a price determined by a committee. Direct sourcing: We work directly with the farmer himself, he gets all the money. No middle men. Home compostable packaging: Outer packaging is paper, inner packaging looks like plastic but it is woodpulp cellulose, and breaks down in regular soil in 60 days. Zero food waste in the chocolate lab: Our lab does not throw away anything edible. Our rubbish bin only gets packaging that our ingredients came in. Everything else is brought back into production, R&D, or other kitchens. Sourcing in the neighborhood: While the classic place to hunt for cacao is South America, and indeed they have some incredible strains of cacao growing in wild natural conditions (🤤) it feels silly to ship something around the world that grows nearby. Turns out our Asia has some incredible cacao as well that makes complex, delicious chocolate. By not needing to unlearn industrial revolution ways of processing cacao, before learning to process it as a terroir product, Asian cacao farming which started more recently started with the science and is already at a high level. Taiwanese chocolate is some of the best in the world. Vegan: Almost all of our products are vegan.
  • How come you eat so much chocolate and stay skinny?
    Please read our health page!! Good, dark chocolate is very healthy. 75% cacao and above has a close-to effect on your body to savory food, and cacao is one of the most nutrient dense plants known to man. 10% of our chocolate is protein. That’s 3x as much as broccoli.
  • Is your chocolate raw?
    First of all a definition of raw chocolate: Raw chocolate is better referred to as unroasted chocolate, as “raw food” never exceeds 45ºC and this temperature is reached in fermentation. Unroasted chocolate is made of cacao that instead of being roasted, was only flashed in a roaster for a moment to separate the husk from the nibs. Raw chocolate retains more of cacao’s benefits compared with roasted chocolate, and is usually less interesting in flavour. Currently we do not make raw chocolate although we are playing with it in R&D. While raw chocolate has additional health benefits, eating roasted chocolate is still an excellent net positive effect on your health, and taster better. If our intention was to make chocolate to be medicine we would be more focused on raw, but our goal is making the most delicious chocolate and we feel the flavour is far improved in high quality roasting.
  • ​Is your chocolate Swiss or Belgian?
    Swiss chocolate was among the first and most successful to dominate European chocolate especially as the Swiss brought in the use of dairy in 1875 (Gala Peter), and Mr. Lindt invented the conch, and so cemented their name as “the best chocolate.” Belgian chocolate began in 1635, and soon after the four chocolate giants started: Neuhaus, Côte d’Or, Jacques and Callebaut. The Belgians chocolatiers made key inventions like the praline. They produce 661 tonnes per year and 8.5% of the Belgian workforce is employed in the chocolate industry. Needless to say, Belgian chocolate has a big reputation and also cemented itself as a brand. Most of the chocolate branded as Belgian is made by Barry Callebaut. These brands have to do with where the chocolate is roasted and ground, not the terroir of the cacao. Both of these reputations were built on the shoulders of commodity chocolate making. Conspiracy chocolate does not follow the same principles or tradition so in one way it is neither. In another way, our approach has learned from lessons both, as well as other chocolate makers. Céline Herren came from Geneva and as one of the founders, one could argue we are Swiss chocolate ;). Our chocolate is made in Hong Kong, using cacao from Asia. Currently we mostly work with cacao from Dak Lak, Vietnam. We are playing with taiwanese cacao.
  • Where does your chocolate come from?
    Our cacao comes from Dak Lak, Vietnam, and it’s made into chocolate in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. Most chocolate you buy is made of “cacao mass” or chocolate that has been mass produced as couverture, which is not the case in Conspiracy Chocolate. We buy fermented dried cacao beans from a farmer who is also a talented fermenter, and roast, grind, and age it in Hong Kong.
  • Is your chocolate fair trade?
    Absolutely not. Fair trade is a certificate that ensures goods purchased in a corrupt environment are bought for a price that attempts to guarantee no “worst case scenarios” of abuse. A chocolate with this label is part of a system with so much abuse that this safeguard is necessary. The prices this certificate guarantees are negotiated together with the big corporate buyers themselves, and the money is paid to a cooperative with no guarantee of fair pay to the farmers themselves. Like other bean-to-bar chocolate makers, we buy our cacao directly from a farmer, a supply chain approach called Direct Trade. The price we pay our farmer for cacao is 2.5x that of “fair trade” price for vietnamese cacao. The price is set by the farmer the same way we set our own pricing to our customers. It is the required price for their business to grow, and if we do a good job of increasing awareness of the “brand” of Dak Lak’s terroir, this price will go up due to supply vs demand. We were this farm’s first buyer outside Vietnam, and today they sell to a distributor in Canada and enjoy economies of scale like any healthy business which makes a good quality desirable product.
  • Is your chocolate organic?
    Organic certificate has requirements of a farm to be at least of a certain size and collect soil samples for 7 years proving organic practices. Our farmer engages in organic farming practices and is currently in the process of collecting soil samples in order to apply for the certificate. Once the farmer is certified, we will also need to certify Conspiracy Chocolate as organic, despite using certified organic cacao. These certifications are expensive and we will consider this once we are a bigger company, as currently our resources are better utilized to make good products and grow.
  • ​Will you make other origins chocolate?
    Yes. We will soon offer chocolate from more terroirs around Asia.
  • Is your chocolate bitter?
    Craft chocolate, even the dark bars should not be bitter unless it is deliberate. It is often believed that the darker the chocolate the more bitter it is, but this is often the result of poor processing or over-roasting. Think about how mainstream coffee chains’ coffee tastes the same everywhere and has a burnt flavour? Well this is because to ensure consistency, they need to roast its coffee dark to make it taste all the same. It is practically impossible to roast beans of such low quality to a good flavour, so burnt/bitter is actually their base case scenario. In commercial chocolate the goal is mask the moldy notes from actual mold grown on low quality cacao instead of fermentation. You may find our chocolate tasting slightly different from batches to batches. This is because we work with a natural fermented food and sometimes, the cacao’s cultivation changes with the climate, it takes a longer time to ferment or dry at the farm, adding volatility to the flavor, which means we need to adapt our roast and grind and process to the new cacao profile to ensure we create a chocolate that is true to the taste of the Dak Lak terroir. Just like whiskey or wine, the volatility in different harvests and ferments is celebrated as these are all expressions of nature’s incredible range. They are small changes in tasting notes that show us the food is natural. These changes are mostly noticeable only when focused very hard on the depth of the flavor.
  • ​Is your chocolate vegan?
    Basically of our available products are vegan. We have a rare non-vegan chocolate product on limited edition occasionally, usually as result of a collaboration. Dark chocolate IS vegan, despite many commodity chocolates’ recipes.
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