Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco. Every day, the Dandelion Chocolate production team roasts, cracks, sorts, winnows, grinds, and conches small batches of chocolate before tempering, molding, and packaging each bar by hand. By sourcing high quality beans and carefully crafting small batches, Dandelion Chocolate strives to bring out the individual flavors and nuances of each bean.
In addition to their various cafés and retail locations in California, Dandelion has opened up locations in Japan. All the California locations offer chocolate making courses and events.
The craft chocolate movement is synonymous with the bean-to-bar movement, in which makers produce chocolate completely from scratch by sourcing whole cocoa beans then roasting, grinding, and conching them all in-house. In opposition to industrial processing, which sacrifices cocoa’s nuanced flavors for consistency, the bean-to-bar processing focuses on fully expressing the bean’s aromas to create an authentic chocolate experience.
Bean-to-bar chocolate needs the highest quality beans. Instead of making farmers apply and pay for certifications like Fair Trade, craft chocolate companies invest directly into farms by educating farmers on how to cultivate the best cocoa.
They also pay premium prices to make the difficult work of ensuring the best quality worth the extra trouble.
Today there are around 481 bean-to-bar makers in the world, with the majority in the US and Europe. However, it is important to recognize that there is no official certification or label that these chocolate makers can earn to prove they are truly bean-to-bar, which creates a bit of ambiguity around quality.