Planting Chocolate Trees Vlog Series Episode #4: We Went on a Trip!

In this episode, we are taking you on a trip!

We went to Tokyo, Japan with our family and we documented our visit to different bean to bar chocolate shops.

Since we started Cacao Culture, we have decided to always include chocolate shops or cacao farms in our travels. Hopefully, we get to visit more chocolate shops to meet new friends in the cacao/chocolate industry and also to be inspired by them.

So what exactly is bean to bar chocolate? 

Bean to Bar is loosely used marketing term in the chocolate industry to describe a type of chocolate maker. Compared to the industrial chocolate makers, they typically make chocolate in smaller batches, very selective of the cacao bean source, selective also with the ingredients that they add and they focus on the flavor notes and profiles that they can get from the cacao beans.

Bean to bar chocolate boom has already been a trend in Japan because of different factors like huge demand in the market, focus on health benefits of chocolate, and also with the Japanese culture that gives high attention on craftsmanship and focus on the details.

So here are the three chocolate shops we visited in Tokyo, Japan --- Dandelion Chocolate, Green Bean to Bar and Minimal.

 

DANDELION

Dandelion Chocolate started as a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2012. Founded by Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring, who were tech startup founders and sold their company to Comcast back in 2008. Dandelion is a small batch chocolate maker, meaning they produce chocolate in limited quantities only. In 2016, Dandelion Chocolate opened a shop in Tokyo, Japan. It’s located at Kuramae. A 5-minute walk from Kuramae Station of Toei Subway Asakusa Line. Kuramae is an old shopping district before and was famous for its many local handicraft stores. Somewhat aligned to Dandelion Chocolates’ focus on craftsmanship and the art of making chocolates. 

So Dandelion Chocolate in Tokyo is a factory and cafe in one. You have a view of the the machines used in making their chocolates. You may also order beverages like coffee and hot chocolate or order their cookies, pastries and chocolates. They also offer chocolate training and factory tour.

We also bought their own book that was published in 2017 and is entitled Making Chocolate and we were inspired to figure out our own philosophies on how to make chocolates. 

 

GREEN BEAN TO BAR

Founder Chloe Doutre-Roussel. Based in France, she’s a renowned expert on all things chocolate, is the author of “The Chocolate Connoisseur”.

The shop has 2 branches, in Nakameguro and Fukuoka. The first shop opened in 2015 and is positioned alongside the peaceful Meguro River which is a 9-minute walk from the Nakameguro station.

Green Bean to Bar is a bean to bar chocolate specialty shop that consistently and manually performs the entire process from cocoa beans to chocolate. 

The shop has a cafe space where you can watch the chocolatiers at work through a glass window. Aside from standard chocolate bars, the shop also sells puddings, scones and chocolate bonbons.

 

MINIMAL

As their name suggests, they like to keep things minimal, from their store design, to their packaging and even to the ingredients that they use.

Minimal - Bean to Bar Chocolate opened their first store in 2014.They are one of the first exclusively bean to bar focused chocolate shop in Tokyo. Minimal sources cacao beans from select producers all over the world.

They focus on bringing out the flavor of the cacao beans. They have received several awards and recognition for their chocolates like Gold award for their Vietnam bar.

Minimal store has a very minimalistic design with a bar table to sip some hot chocolate drink and sample their different chocolates. What differentiates them is the details that they put on their chocolate labels. They even show texture, roasting  time and origin of the beans.

So far they have around four locations around Tokyo with one factory store and the others are a mix of smaller stalls with kitchen.

 

So to clearly see what more these shops could offer and take a glimpse of Japan's Endless Discovery watch our fourth episode down below, subscribe to our Youtube Channel, don't forget to like and leave some love on the comments!

JOIN US ON OUR CHOCOLATE JOURNEY!

 

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