We recently received a Bronze Award for our 70% Coffee and Cacao Nibs bar. This was really great news for us – not only because we are only four months old, but also as it was from the prestigious Academy of Chocolate. The Academy of Chocolate was founded in 2005 by five of Britain’s leading chocolate professionals. They are committed to ethically sourced fine chocolate and have been at the forefront of the burgeoning chocolate scene in the UK.
Before we came up with our range of chocolate bars to launch the business we did a huge amount of development and experimentation – bars containing ginger, confit orange, chopped roasted hazelnuts and more. We took these bars to several workplaces for market research and asked people to rate them in order of preference (tough job!). The clear winner was coffee so we set about developing our bar. We wanted to use a really special coffee – one that obviously had great taste and texture but also fit in with our ethos of provenance and locality. When we met up with North Star Coffee Roasters we knew they were a perfect fit. Their experience and knowledge was invaluable and we tried a large range of blends and single origin coffees. We narrowed it down to three favourites and then we had to try these alongside different chocolates. We tried milk and dark chocolate from all around the world, both blends and single origins. We finally picked a delicious 70% blend to match up to North Star’s single origin Colombian coffee beans.
North Star Coffee Roasters were established in 2013 and were the first coffee roaster in Leeds. They only select Arabica beans and they buy fresh green coffee in small batches, purchasing seasonally with a commitment to both quality and ethics. They have just moved to stunning new premises in Leeds Dock where they run barista courses and tasting sessions. You can check them out here www.northstarroast.com
Once we had selected our coffee and our chocolate we could begin to create the bar. We ground the coffee and mixed it in with our hand-tempered couverture. This combination was delicious but lacked texture. So we topped the bar with roasted cacao nibs which added a lovely crunch, a hint of acidity and a nutty, chocolate flavour.
Finally, we needed some amazing packaging for our new bar. This came, as does our cacao paper and card, from James Cropper’s mill in The Lake District. A beautiful shade of brown, the card for our sleeve is made using 50% recycled single-use coffee cups. Manufactured in Leeds by Pressision it is a celebration of local businesses coming together to make a truly luxurious product.
We hope you will enjoy our chocolate bar as much as we have enjoyed making it.