Now that Bixby & Co. is Maine’s first Bean to Bar chocolate producer, we’ve been getting a lot of questions. The top two are, “What does “bean to bar” mean?”, and “So… coffee beans?” (Followed by, “When do you sleep?” and “Do you need an official taste-tester?”)
“Bean to Bar” refers to the process of making chocolate from scratch, starting with cacao beans. When we say “bean to bar”, many people think we’re talking about coffee beans. Coffee beans come from shrubs or small trees of the Coffea genus, while cacao beans come from Theobroma cacao trees. While many cacao producing regions do also produce coffee, there’s no coffee in our chocolate. In fact, Bixby & Co.’s Bean to Bar Craft Chocolate has only two ingredients: organic cacao beans and organic cane sugar.
Last May, Kate and Donna went to Haiti to meet with some of the cacao farmers who would be growing some of our beans. Cacao beans grow inside pods, which must be hand-harvested from the trees.
The idea of terroir, usually associated with fine wine production, is also applicable to chocolate. The environment in which the cacao beans grow and the stock from which they come influences the final flavor of our chocolate bars. Bixby’s Bean to Bar Chocolate is handcrafted in small batches so that we can make sure that we are treating the beans with the respect they deserve. They’ve traveled a long way to make it to your tastebuds – we’re not going to smother them in artificial flavors, or wrap them up in texture enhancing emulsifiers. When you eat our Bean to Bar Craft Chocolate, we want you to be able to taste the true character of the cacao that has gone into each bar.
In answer to your other questions: we’ll sleep sometime after Christmas, and while we’re not currently hiring an official chocolate taste-tester, you can come sample our three Bean to Bar varieties anytime at One Sea Street Place in Rockland, Maine.