bar iconAs a special treat, order by Sunday (8/30) before midnight PST and we’ll include a sixth bar: a yet-to-be-released factory sample of our 85% Camino Verde, Ecuador bar made with the first beans from the 2019 harvest.

Karen's Flavor Picks

Karen's Flavor Picks

CURATED 5-BAR SETS

CURATED 5-BAR SETS

Karen, our long-time Flavor Manager, helps our teams suss out the most delicious, interesting, and complex versions of our single-origin beans and bars. She organized these two sets with a newcomer’s curiosity in mind, handpicking the bars to guide you through the complexity of flavors that can be found in our chocolate.

I have a physical reaction when chocolate is oversimplified to just one or two words like “chocolatey” or “fruity.” Chocolate has so much more complexity to offer. These two sets explore the many faces of chocolate. The Rich & Complex goes beyond “chocolatey” to explore caramel, creamy mouthfeels, spices, and nuts while the Bright & Expressive goes a step further into acidity balance and aromas. Both sets are very different though all of the bars are delicious.

If you are newer to two-ingredient, single-origin chocolate these sets may just be the best place to start on your journey.

Happy tasting!
-Karen

Rich and Complex

If you are newer to two-ingredient, single-origin chocolate this set may just be the best place to start on your journey! We encourage you to employ your curiosity and focus as you taste through the bars in this set aimed to broaden your understanding of chocolate and to embrace all of the complexity that chocolate has to offer.

Included in the Rich and Complex set:

Hacienda Azul, Costa Rica 70%, 2019 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate almond biscotti, buttery caramel

Hacienda Azul is a distinctly unique origin in our collection. This bean has a personality of its own and it’s taken us a couple of tries to really feel like we understand what it has to offer. While we often get sweet aromatics in supporting roles throughout our other origins, in this origin notes of caramel are the star of every version we’ve ever produced.

Wampu, Honduras 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: classic dark chocolate, macadamia nut, honeycomb

Getting these beans out of Honduras and to SF requires transport for two full days in a dugout canoe. I’d call this my “one sitting” bar, meaning I could eat this bar in full in one go, with no looking back and no shame! Its chocolate is classic in its expression but coupled with sweet aromatics and a delectable creamy mouthfeel.

Gola Rainforest, Sierra Leone 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: fudge brownie, marshmallow, roasted almond

Gola Rainforest is the origin that would fit most neatly into people’s preconceived notions about what chocolate is. It takes the notes we’ve all grown up with from West African cocoa (this cocoa is what has built most of our American definitions of what the word “chocolatey” means) and brought subtle spice, nut, and sweet notes that make this a s’more-in-a-two-ingredient-chocolate-bar bar.

Cahabón, Guatemala 70%, 2019 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate pudding, Amarena cherry, espresso

Our R&D Operations Manager, Ron, refers to Cahabón as “chocolate-covered cherries.” For me, Cahabón can often straddle multiple different tasting categories. But a rich, deep chocolate note has always been an identifying characteristic underlining a measure of fruit. From our first tasting notes of chocolate cookies in the 2015 harvest to the 2019 harvest’s notes of chocolate pudding, this bar uses our classic understanding of chocolate as a foundation to a compelling flavor arc.

Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate buttercream frosting, banana

The consistency from Freddy Salazar at Costa Esmeraldas has always impressed us. This bar is clearly born of the hard work and care of Freddy and his team in partnership with our 16th Street chocolate makers. Costa Esmeraldas, with its signature ebony coloration, creamy mouthfeel, and clear chocolatey notes, is always accompanied by a hint of fruit at the very end. This harvest year expresses banana very clearly — its high on my list of current bars with unique flavor expressions.

Bright and Expressive

While there are fruit call-outs in all of these bars, the real trick is to understand how the levels of acidity balance each bar with the other aromas that are present. Stay curious and spend some time with each of these bars, paying close attention to how their acidity plays into your final perception of each origin.

Included in the Bright and Expressive set:

Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: honey, fresh peach, homemade fudge

When we hear the word “acidity” we often think of things like lemons or vinegar. However, the team at Kokoa Kamili are experts at turning out beans that uniquely balance acidity with innate sweetness. This is why you’ll find notes like honey and peach in this bar, two things that are touched by both sweetness and a hint of sour.

Zorzal Estate, Dominican Republic 70%, 2016 Harvest
tasting notes: key lime, cream, fudge

The lime present in this bar brings life and nuance to the dairy and chocolatey notes at the finish. This bar is a reflection of the dedication that Charles and his team have put into continually pursuing complex yet approachable cocoa that can be used for anything from a decadent stand-alone bar to baking chocolate.

Ambanja, Madagascar 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: passionfruit, crème fraîche, shortbread

These beans are so fundamentally paradoxical to our western understanding of what chocolate should taste like! Ambanja is and always has been a divisive bar in our spread. Often people either love it or hate it. And to be honest, we’re okay with that! With its punchy acidity and creamy dairy notes, be prepared to ask yourself, “Is this even chocolate?”

Ben Tre, Vietnam 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: candied ginger, molasses, apple cider

When we tasted the sample of Ben Tre beans that Marou sent to us, we were greeted by a chocolatey spice bomb. When we began processing at scale we also found a fair bit of acidity underlining much of what we tasted. We worked to find a compelling way for the acidity and spice to work in tandem. This bar triggers happy memories of cold seasons and warm beverages and has quickly become one of my go-to bars when I need a dose of refined nostalgia.

Anamalai, India 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: mimosa, pot de crème

When we are discussing acidity in chocolate we often lean on the acetic acids that highlight fruits, but another important byproduct of fermentation is lactic acid. Lactic acid can give you the perception of milk where there is none, or a creamy mouthfeel associated with the whipped cream on top of your hot chocolate. Anamalai marries these two acids in a way that just feels right.

Rich and Complex

If you are newer to two-ingredient, single-origin chocolate this set may just be the best place to start on your journey! We encourage you to employ your curiosity and focus as you taste through the bars in this set aimed to broaden your understanding of chocolate and to embrace all of the complexity that chocolate has to offer.

Included in the Rich and Complex set:

Hacienda Azul, Costa Rica 70%, 2019 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate almond biscotti, buttery caramel

Hacienda Azul is a distinctly unique origin in our collection. This bean has a personality of its own and it’s taken us a couple of tries to really feel like we understand what it has to offer. While we often get sweet aromatics in supporting roles throughout our other origins, in this origin notes of caramel are the star of every version we’ve ever produced.

Wampu, Honduras 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: classic dark chocolate, macadamia nut, honeycomb

Getting these beans out of Honduras and to SF requires transport for two full days in a dugout canoe. I’d call this my “one sitting” bar, meaning I could eat this bar in full in one go, with no looking back and no shame! Its chocolate is classic in its expression but coupled with sweet aromatics and a delectable creamy mouthfeel.

Gola Rainforest, Sierra Leone 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: fudge brownie, marshmallow, roasted almond

Gola Rainforest is the origin that would fit most neatly into people’s preconceived notions about what chocolate is. It takes the notes we’ve all grown up with from West African cocoa (this cocoa is what has built most of our American definitions of what the word “chocolatey” means) and brought subtle spice, nut, and sweet notes that make this a s’more-in-a-two-ingredient-chocolate-bar bar.

Cahabón, Guatemala 70%, 2019 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate pudding, Amarena cherry, espresso

Our R&D Operations Manager, Ron, refers to Cahabón as “chocolate-covered cherries.” For me, Cahabón can often straddle multiple different tasting categories. But a rich, deep chocolate note has always been an identifying characteristic underlining a measure of fruit. From our first tasting notes of chocolate cookies in the 2015 harvest to the 2019 harvest’s notes of chocolate pudding, this bar uses our classic understanding of chocolate as a foundation to a compelling flavor arc.

Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: chocolate buttercream frosting, banana

The consistency from Freddy Salazar at Costa Esmeraldas has always impressed us. This bar is clearly born of the hard work and care of Freddy and his team in partnership with our 16th Street chocolate makers. Costa Esmeraldas, with its signature ebony coloration, creamy mouthfeel, and clear chocolatey notes, is always accompanied by a hint of fruit at the very end. This harvest year expresses banana very clearly — its high on my list of current bars with unique flavor expressions.

Bright and Expressive

While there are fruit call-outs in all of these bars, the real trick is to understand how the levels of acidity balance each bar with the other aromas that are present. Stay curious and spend some time with each of these bars, paying close attention to how their acidity plays into your final perception of each origin.

Included in the Bright and Expressive set:

Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: honey, fresh peach, homemade fudge

When we hear the word “acidity” we often think of things like lemons or vinegar. However, the team at Kokoa Kamili are experts at turning out beans that uniquely balance acidity with innate sweetness. This is why you’ll find notes like honey and peach in this bar, two things that are touched by both sweetness and a hint of sour.

Zorzal Estate, Dominican Republic 70%, 2016 Harvest
tasting notes: key lime, cream, fudge

The lime present in this bar brings life and nuance to the dairy and chocolatey notes at the finish. This bar is a reflection of the dedication that Charles and his team have put into continually pursuing complex yet approachable cocoa that can be used for anything from a decadent stand-alone bar to baking chocolate.

Ambanja, Madagascar 70%, 2017 Harvest
tasting notes: passionfruit, crème fraîche, shortbread

These beans are so fundamentally paradoxical to our western understanding of what chocolate should taste like! Ambanja is and always has been a divisive bar in our spread. Often people either love it or hate it. And to be honest, we’re okay with that! With its punchy acidity and creamy dairy notes, be prepared to ask yourself, “Is this even chocolate?”

Ben Tre, Vietnam 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: candied ginger, molasses, apple cider

When we tasted the sample of Ben Tre beans that Marou sent to us, we were greeted by a chocolatey spice bomb. When we began processing at scale we also found a fair bit of acidity underlining much of what we tasted. We worked to find a compelling way for the acidity and spice to work in tandem. This bar triggers happy memories of cold seasons and warm beverages and has quickly become one of my go-to bars when I need a dose of refined nostalgia.

Anamalai, India 70%, 2018 Harvest
tasting notes: mimosa, pot de crème

When we are discussing acidity in chocolate we often lean on the acetic acids that highlight fruits, but another important byproduct of fermentation is lactic acid. Lactic acid can give you the perception of milk where there is none, or a creamy mouthfeel associated with the whipped cream on top of your hot chocolate. Anamalai marries these two acids in a way that just feels right.


HOW WE MAKE CHOCOLATE

About Us

We're Dandelion Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in San Francisco's Mission District making chocolate from just two ingredients: beans and sugar. We travel to origin to build lasting relationships with the farmers and producers who grow cacao and then we roast, crack, winnow, conch, and temper at our chocolate factory. By taking a minimal (some say purist) approach, we aim to highlight the individual nuances of each bean and the potential for a wide variety of flavors.

Our Beans

The genetics of cocoa beans are wildly variable, even within a single pod. We take a hard focus on the flavor of the bean and specialize in "single-origin" chocolate, chocolate made with beans from one specific place. Greg D'Alesandre, our resident Bean Sourcerer, travels to origin and publishes our sourcing report which details our producers, and practices.

Our Process

Once the husk has been separated from the shell, we refine and conch the chocolate until the nibs & sugar meld into something smooth and delicious — something that looks like chocolate. A melanger transforms the nibs from a solid into a liquid in just a few minutes but then we continue to refine — for hours, even days — so that the cocoa solids become an imperceptible size with a smooth mouthfeel.

Our Sugar

Our sugar comes from 200 miles northwest of São Paulo, from Brazil’s pioneering Native Green Cane Project, which became the world’s first certified organic sugar plantation in 1997. Spearheaded by Leontino Balbo, an agronomist whose family has been in the sugar business for over 100 years, the Project replaces destructive conventional farming practices with progressive, land-restoring methods. To reverse damage wrought by burn harvesting and monocropping which relies on artificial fertilizer and pesticides Balbo implemented his own experimental system called ecosystem revitalizing agriculture (ERA), which preserves biodiversity, soil health, and natural resources.