Get To Know: Tcho ChocolatePosted: March 18, 2013
We’re super excited to work with TCHO Chocolate for our March Kona Kase. We talked to Greta (Manager, Interactive Sales and Marketing) at TCHO HQ to learn more.
John (Kona Kase): What’s the backstory on TCHO?
Greta (TCHO Chocolate): Wow – that’s no small question! TCHO Is New American Chocolate.
TCHO is the innovative craft manufacturer of New American Chocolate that brought chocolate making back to San Francisco. TCHO’s mission is to deliver the purest flavors inherent in the cacao bean to both consumers and professionals. TCHO does that by being involved in every stage of chocolate making, from growing, fermentation, and drying in direct partnership with farmers — through it’s unique TCHOSource program — to roasting and refining, where most other companies start making chocolate. TCHO’s consumer chocolates are award-winning — its Serious Milk chocolates were named the Best Milk Chocolates in the Western Hemisphere. And its professional chocolates are used by the best chefs, confectioners, and bakers in America, from Per Se in New York, to Michael’s Genuine in Miami, to Short Order in LA.
John: What’s the benefit of chocolate for athletes?
Greta: Chocolate has many active ingredients beneficial to athletes. Theobromine promotes focus. Serotonin is mood elevating. Flavanols help create healthy cells. Phenylethlamine is responsible for the feeling of euphoria. Additional research suggests chocolate can help muscles recover post work-out. Personally, I still eat this chocolate every. single. day. Even on the weekends! I keep a few in my bag to pop for energy. Or melt a couple in my morning oatmeal before I peace out for a run. Sometimes I’ll even mix my 99% with fresh almonds or walnuts from my grandparents’ nut orchards as a snack.
John: What product(s)/flavor(s) are you most excited about right now?
Greta: TCHOIntense 99%! This insanely rich, not bitter, chocolate is not only delicious (albeit strong!), but completely unsweetened – no sugar added! We started this bar as a limited edition, 15 gram bar. People seemed to like the bar and we didn’t have an unsweetened baking chocolate, so we added 99% Critters to our TCHOPro and home baking lines.
John: What makes TCHO different than other products like it?
Greta: TCHO is a tree-to-bar manufacturer. Tree-to-bar means we go beyond just buying our beans from origin. Our TCHOSource program works directly with farmers to create the best beans. Once we have the best beans, we co-create our bars with consumers through our Beta program. We’re totally, completely, 110% Flavor-Drive. And we’re really, truly obsessed with our craft.
John: Where do you expect TCHO to be in 5 years?
John: What is a fun fact about chocolate that most of our readers won’t know?
Greta: Most people don’t actually know where chocolate comes from. Chocolate comes from cacao trees; tropical trees only growing 20 degrees either way of the equator. So when you hear a chocolate is “Belgian” or “French” or “Swiss”, the actual cacao is not grown in those countries. In fact, most cacao is grown in West Africa. The Ivory Coast is the world’s #1 producer of cacao, with Ghana at #2. That’s why we call our PureNotes “Chocolatey” bar “Chocolatey” — the beans used in that bar come from Ghana, and consumers’ most associate the flavor of beans from West Africa as the taste of chocolate (since most chocolate bars they have eaten growing up have come from West Africa).
Unfortunately, West African cacao is hard to trace and may incorporate slavery practices on the cacao farms. TCHOSource, however, is vehemently against slavery. You’ll notice “No Slavery” printed on the back of our bars as a small testament to our devotion to transparency. TCHOSource is currently working with the World Cacao Foundation in Ghana to start big changes in this part of the world.
John: How should readers get in touch with you if they have any additional questions?
Greta: Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way. Or they can always “LIKE” us on Facebook and message us there or message us on Twitter – @TCHOChocolate. TCHO is available online, at its SF store at the factory on Pier 17, from high end purveyors to professionals like Baldor or Pacific Gourmet, and through fine retailers like Draegers and Whole Foods.