A combination of old world and modern techniques to create the smoothest chocolate & maintain the delicate flavor notes of our exceptional cacao.



Roasting is the first part of the chocolate making process once the cocoa beans arrive at our factory. As we source ultra high quality cacao, our goal is to retain as much of the inherent flavor of the cacao throughout the roasting process—this means we do a very light roast using convection ovens. The main goals of roasting are to heat the beans in order to evaporate moisture and acid, to loosen the shell and to kill bacteria that may be present. During a normal day of production, you can smell the chocolatey aromas of roasting cacao before you even step foot into our cafe.



Winnowing is the process of removing the shell from the cocoa bean. Each bean has a thin shell around the nib, which must be removed before grinding it into chocolate. First, the winnower lightly cracks each bean, then the shell and nibs vibrate toward the vacuums, which suck away the light shell, and the more dense nibs are collected as they fall into a bucket. During winnowing we lose anywhere from 25-30% of the weight of the cocoa bean—which means, if we buy 100lbs of cacao, we end up with only about 75lbs of nibs for chocolate. Due to the intense vibration and large vacuum our winnower is our loudest machine & can be heard (and felt) throughout the cafe during operation.



We use a tall pre-grinding mill that deposits the cocoa nibs directly into one of our CocoaTown mixers. When cocoa nibs are ground, they immediately become chocolate—in exactly the same way peanut butter is made. The CocoaTowns are round mixers which have granite bases, steel walls, and two revolving granite stones inside which roll over the base and crush the nibs even further as they spin around. All of our ingredients mixing happens in the CocoaTowns. We’ll fill up each CocoaTown with ground nibs first, and then complete the recipe with the sugar that needs to be added. As there is no moisture in the chocolate, the sugar will not dissolve on its own as it does with baking. We rely on the revolving granite stones in the CocoaTowns to crush the sugar down to about half the size of a normal sugar particle before sending the chocolate to the roll mill refiner. The grinding and mixing phase takes a few hours, and the large CocoaTown can hold 200lbs and the smaller one can hold 80lbs.


4 | Roll mill Refining

This is a 3 roll mill refiner. The sole purpose of this machine is to evenly refine all of the cacao and sugar particles down to about 10-15 microns. To give you an idea of how small that is, there are 1,000 microns per millimeter, which means each particle is 1/100 of a millimeter—this is why our chocolate is so smooth! The refiner has 3 rollers, each weighing about 1,000lbs. Gritty chocolate is poured onto the back two rollers and a thin layer gets crushed and scraped between each roller and comes out onto the apron facing the window. To ensure our chocolate is ultra smooth, we send all of it through the roll mill twice. This machine was built sometime in the 1950s in Brooklyn, NY. When we bought this machine it was rusty and not operational. We found a company that specializes in building and repairing roll mills and they got it back to like-new condition for us.



This is our oldest and most unique chocolate making machine. Our longitudinal conche was made in Langenthal, Switzerland by the U. Ammann company sometime around 1915. It was used in the Suchard factory from 1915 to 1990, until Suchard was bought by Toblerone and the factory was closed down. The conche would have been built into the factory into a brick foundation, so when it was dismantled there was no frame, just the white tanks on the upper half of the machine. The conche drifted around for awhile until it found a home in a barn in Hamburg, Germany, where it lived for at least a decade. Then in the early 2000’s, Steve DeVries, one of the early craft chocolate makers, brought it back from Hamburg to Denver, which is where we found it and purchased it from him.



When we sent it to be refurbished at an engineering company in Denver, it still had some chocolate in it from Suchard and it was full of hay, which was the most convenient shipping material from that barn in Hamburg. All of the stainless steel material you can see is new and is a replacement for the old brick base. This is technically a “4-pot conche”; each pot has a granite base which a steel roller glides back and forth on, polishing individual particles, dispersing fats and intensely splashing. This causes more volatile acid to evaporate which improves the flavor. When all four pots are full, the conche holds 1,100lbs of chocolate, which is half of a metric ton. In order to fully develop the flavor and the texture of the chocolate, we run it non-stop for three full days—all night and all day.



After we've made our chocolate, we then have to temper it and form it into chocolate bars. Chocolate is a lot like water—above a certain temperature it becomes liquid and below a certain temperature it can start to crystallize. In order for the crystals to form properly in chocolate, we need to start with a blank slate; and to do this we heat up all the chocolate to 120°F, which dissolves all of the old crystal structures. Then we lower the temperature to around 85°F to pre-crystallize the chocolate and bring it back up to around 90°F to isolate the final crystal type and to begin molding bars. After going through this temperature curve, we inject molds with the liquid chocolate, vibrate it, and then send it through our cooling tunnel to solidify. A perfectly tempered and cooled chocolate bar will release itself from the mold, be shiny, snap when broken, be shelf stable, and melt in your mouth just right.



We take each bar out of their molds after cooling in our wind tunnel, putting each into a compostable kraft paper sleeve. They are then sealed by hand, and put into our outer box packaging, stamped with expiration dates, boxed into groups, and sent out for delivery. This process takes a while due to the intricacy of our packaging, but the consumer experience of opening each box to reveal our brand story is worth it. Our packaging was designed by Salt Lake City local design studio modern8, who also created our branding in 2016.