By Ethan Swift

Tomorrow, chocolate is a lifelong indulgence for many, yet how much do we truly understand about it? While we relish its exquisite taste, the complexity of chocolate remains an enigma. In this exploration, we dive into the world of chocolate craftsmanship and the distinctions between Tree to Bar, Bean to Bar, and Farm to Bar chocolate.

Tree to Bar Chocolate

The journey of Tree to Bar chocolate commences in the heart of  the jungle, often found in equatorial regions. Companies crafting  Tree to Bar chocolate gain access to the cacao fruit in orchards  but do not own the farms. Farmers frequently sell their cacao to  these companies, a standard practice in the industry. When your

favorite chocolatiers are involved in the entire process from  picking to fermentation, they proudly label their creations as “Tree  to Bar.” However, it’s essential to note that if the chocolate is not  produced by the farmers themselves on their farms, it is made in  a separate facility.

Historically, cacao grew on tree trunks, and the makers described  above do not purchase pre-fermented, dried, aged, or off-gassed  beans. Instead, they invest in cacao pods, wet beans, or engage  in barter arrangements for access to bulk pods.

Bean to Bar Chocolate

“Bean to Bar” is a term reserved for craft chocolate makers who  purchase already fermented, dried, and aged cacao beans. This  is the most common form of non-industrial and ethical chocolate  production. With the growing number of discerning and ethical

consumers, Bean to Bar chocolate is gaining popularity,  overshadowing Tree to Bar and Farm to Bar varieties in terms of  prevalence.

Farm to Bar Chocolate

Farm to Bar chocolate represents a remarkable fusion of farming  and artisanal chocolate-making. Some companies manage the  entire process, encompassing Bean to Bar, Tree to Bar, and Farm  to Bar production. By bridging the gap between farmers and  chocolatiers, this approach empowers farmers to become chefs  and chocolatiers themselves. While it may seem like a stretch,  certain companies successfully execute this comprehensive  approach, offering different origins and production styles.

Island Sharks Chocolate, for instance, offers Farm to Bar  chocolate through an Instagram subscription and Tree to Bar and  Bean to Bar chocolate through its store. The emphasis on direct  sourcing from farms or trees sets these chocolate categories  apart from the reconstituted industrial chocolate, a product often  linked to child slavery for over two centuries.

Craft Chocolate: A New Industry

These three chocolate categories collectively form the burgeoning  craft chocolate industry. Craft chocolate is defined by its  commitment to quality, ethics, and distinctive flavor profiles. As  consumers become increasingly discerning, ethical, and  numerous, Bean to Bar chocolate is likely to lead the way due to

its higher prevalence compared to Tree to Bar and Farm to Bar  varieties.

When it comes to taste, the differences among these three  categories are influenced by factors like microbes, wild yeasts,  and micrometers. Large chocolate manufacturers often neutralize  these factors by roasting beans at high temperatures, a practice  that can mask the unique flavors inherent to each category.

In essence, chocolate demystifies itself through understanding the  distinctions between Farm to Bar, Tree to Bar, and Bean to Bar  chocolate. The nuances in flavor, production, and sourcing make  each category a unique experience for chocolate enthusiasts.

Exploring New Horizons

In a world where chocolate is both a treat and a passion,  exploring all three chocolate types can be a rewarding journey. By  sampling chocolates from each category, you can discover your  personal preferences and appreciate the subtle yet significant  variations in flavor and texture.

As consumers, our choices hold the power to shape the future of  the chocolate industry. Supporting ethical and sustainable  practices is essential in promoting the craft chocolate movement.  Embrace your curiosity, be #cacaocurious, and savor the richness  of chocolate that embodies centuries of tradition and innovation.

In conclusion, the terms “Tree to Bar,” “Bean to Bar,” and “Farm  to Bar” reflect the evolution of chocolate-making from source to  finished product. They signify a commitment to quality, ethical  sourcing, and flavor diversity. As the craft chocolate industry  continues to expand, exploring these categories is not only an

exploration of taste but also an affirmation of ethical chocolate  practices.

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