Bare Bones Chocolate
The Bean-to-Bar Revolution
The term Bean-to-Bar chocolate was coined as a way for Craft chocolate makers, some of whom would be producing just a few hundred bars at a time, to distinguish their product from mass produced chocolate and that made by chocolatiers, who melt chocolate that they buy in to make chocolate confectionery.
Bean-to-Bar is a revolution in the chocolate industry and USTUDIO are glad to be on board, stocking a great range of chocolate from artisan, small-batch producers from around the world, with a particular focus on those based in the UK.
How it Works
What is Bean-to-Bar?
The Bean-to-Bar process is at the heart of all our suppliers’ chocolate making. The chocolate is handcrafted, from a raw cacao bean all the way through to a finished bar. The incredible flavour of the cacao is honoured, unlike in the mass-manufacturing process which focuses on keeping costs low and products consistent. Industrial chocolate is cheap because it is full of unnecessary and harmful fats, e-numbers and additives, and often has less than 20% cacao content.Craft chocolate makers buy cacao in small amounts, working directly with the farmers, and then take on the whole process of creating their chocolate, including cleaning, roasting, cracking, winnowing, and grinding the cacao beans, conching and tempering the chocolate. It is a lengthy process, but the results speak for themselves
A Lengthy Process
Care and Attention
Next step is to crack open the beans and discard the unwanted husks. Then the cocoa nibs are thrown into a grinder. These machines break down the nibs and sugar over a 72 hour period into liquid form. By the end of the grind particle size reduces to something between 15-20 microns, something that feels smooth on the tongue.
The chocolate is then moved onto the conching phase for some final flavour development. This involves agitating the chocolate to improve mouthfeel, drive off any left-over volatile acids and coax out the deeper, more nuanced flavour notes.
Bare Bones Chocolate is made in their factory in the city centre of Glasgow – from bean to bar. Handcrafting the chocolate from cacao bean through to a finished bar allows Bare Bones to control every step. They are so proud to be one of the very few UK producers who craft from bean to bar.
Bare Bones chocolate is crafted bean to bar in Glasgow by Cameron and Lara.
Cameron is a Mechanical Engineer, previously working for a premium automotive manufacturer. With a passion for coffee and bicycles, Cam is behind the precision and focus that goes into being a chocolate maker.
Lara is a food photographer, previously working in London alongside some incredible chefs, photographers and makers. Obsessed with food, good design and coffee culture, Lara works on the social media, connecting with their customers and marketing.
Bean-to-Bar is a phrase coined to describe craft chocolate makers who oversee the whole process of making chocolate-from selecting the beans all the way to wrapping the finished, high-quality chocolate bar.
Ethically, bean-to-bar chocolate is a positive choice as the farmers are paid fairly and the producers focus on sustainability. Taste-wise, so much care goes into making the bar and getting the best from the cacao that it tastes amazing!
Yes! All of our suppliers' dark chocolate is vegan, and we also stock some oat milk chocolate options.
This process is similar for most chocolate makers, starting with the fermentation of the cacao beans then drying, winnowing and finally conching. then the chocolate has to be moulded and wrapped. This whole process takes around 7-10 days. Letting the chocolate rest for a few weeks after making enhances its flavour too.
'Cocoa' is essentially an English corruption of the Spanish 'cacao' which came in turn from the Mayan 'kakaw'. Nowadays 'cocoa' can also refer to a ready-mixed powder for a hot chocolate drink in the USA, but in general the terms 'cacao' and 'cocoa' are interchangeable.
Chocolate does contain caffeine, but much less than a cup of coffee! Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk (but not much) and white chocolate doesn't contain any.
When a craft chocolate maker has put in the time and effort to make bean-to-bar chocolate, you really want to get the most out of eating it. A mindful approach is the way forward, engaging all of your senses and taking your time over each stage.