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Costa Esmeraldas

Ecuador

85 2020

Dandelion Chocolate

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Tasting Notes: buttermilk, dark chocolate, and orange zest

The beans for this bar come from Freddy Salazar’s estate near the coast of Northern Ecuador. Eric, our origin owner for Costa Esmeraldas, has spent time at the farm and was impressed by the close attention Freddy and his team pay to every step of cultivation and production, including pruning trees, managing disease in the field, efficient harvesting practices, and careful loading of the fermentation boxes to ensure a clean facility. Freddy has built one of the most sophisticated processes we’ve seen, and it shows in the flavor of his beans. For his third Esmeraldas 85% bar, Eric again roasts the high-quality beans lightly, discovering tangy citrus notes not found in previous harvests.

Ingredients and Allergens

All of our single-origin chocolate is made with just cocoa beans and sugar; no added cocoa butter, lecithin, or vanilla. Our chocolate is free of soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten, and it is made in a factory that does not process nuts.

Weight

2 oz (56 g)

Learn More

Learn more about our cocoa beans and sugar the region, the farms, and the producers.

Kosher

Gluten
Free

Nut Free

Vegan

Direct
Sourced

Two
Ingredients

+

About Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Freddy Salazar, the owner of Costa Esmeraldas, produces unique cocoa that we make into one of our best-selling bars. Located in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador, Costa Esmeraldas began as a very different farm when the Salazar family acquired it over a decade ago.

Freddy’s father purchased two properties on the northeastern side of the beautiful Esmeraldas coast. On formerly dry pastureland and wild forest inaccessible by any road (and not ideal for growing cacao), he and his family created a 10-hectare (25-acre) plantation and cocoa-processing facility. What began as a passion project for the Salazars has evolved into a thriving farm of over 330 hectares (about 850 acres), approximately a third of which is used for growing cacao.

While most cocoa produced on the farm (and what we buy) is from Neo-Nacional cultivars, the farm also cultivates CCN-51 pods as a cash crop, selling to the local bulk market. In addition, the farm produces bananas and citrus, and 50 hectares (124 acres) of land have been left as virgin forest, creating a thriving habitat for flora and fauna.

A little about us...

We Make Bean-to-Bar Chocolate

We're Dandelion, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker in San Francisco's Mission District. For over 10 years, we've been turning cocoa beans and organic sugar into single-origin dark chocolate. We’re part of the New American Chocolate Movement of small-scale chocolate makers building specialized machines and rethinking chocolate making practices to reclaim the depth of flavor in chocolate.

As a bean-to-bar maker, we first source our own beans, and then sort, roast, crack, winnow, melange, temper, and mold each bar we make. Our approach focuses on minimal ingredients, just cocoa beans and cane sugar (not vanilla, emulsifiers, or additional cocoa butter), so that the quality and flavor nuances of the bean shine through.

Just Two Ingredients.
That’s All.

Our chocolate bars are made of just two ingredients: cocoa beans and organic sugar. We don’t add cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla, flavorings, or preservatives, so the quality and flavor nuances of our beans shine. With a light hand and minimalist approach, we aim to highlight different cocoa beans' distinctive flavor notes — from classic fudge to tangy fruit..

We Visit Each Origin to Build Lasting Relationships

When we look for cocoa beans, we look for good flavor and good people. Building trust is at the heart of what we do, and relationships are reciprocal. In addition to looking for good cocoa, we’re also interested in what our cocoa producers need from us — feedback on a new fermentation process, upfront capital to offset a bad season, or connections to other chocolate makers to grow business. Each year we publish the stories, numbers, and practices of our producers in our annual Sourcing Report.

We Work With Collaborators & Chocolatiers Worldwide

While chocolate makers make chocolate from cocoa beans, chocolatiers use finished chocolate to create truffles, bonbons, candy, and confections. Since we don’t add emulsifiers or additional cocoa butter to our chocolate, working with it requires extra time and attention. As a result, making truffles or chocolate-covered nibs with our chocolate can be especially challenging. Still, our collaborators remain undaunted, inventing new recipes and products each year. We celebrate their talents and share these crafted treats with you.

Join Our Virtual Classes to Experience Chocolate from a New Perspective

Our Chocolate Educators have been with the factory for many years, and share their perspectives on tasting single-origin chocolate, making treats at home, and experiencing chocolate in new ways. Our classes are available for individuals, families, and group events.

See Our
Chocolate-Making in
San Francisco

If you’re in San Francisco, we hope to soon invite you to stop by our café and factory in the Mission District to sip on a hot chocolate while watching our chocolate makers turn cocoa beans into bars of chocolate.