Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for a sustainable business class over spring break. In my time there, I toured several cocoa bean growing facilities and learned about the intricacies of making chocolate. Since then, I have made it my mission to feed my chocoholic habit with only the highest quality and most ethically sourced chocolate because it really does taste that much better.

This quest led me to discover TCHO chocolate. At first, their unique flavors coupled with super high quality chocolate at an affordable price drew me in. Once I tasted my first bite of their Instagrammable chocolate squares, I dug into their story and found that I still had a lot more to learn about sourcing and processing chocolate.

Here’s why you should be thinking more about how you satisfy your sweet tooth and why TCHO is the gold standard of chocolate. 

What is TCHO?

As a company, TCHO chocolate makers began with one goal in mind. To make the best chocolate in the world, while also leaving a better world for the founders’ children. Translated into a chocolate business, that means ethical sourcing of cocoa beans and fair treatment of farmers. That also means going the extra mile to process the cocoa beans into high-quality chocolate that focuses on ingredients instead of quantity. 

Why is responsible sourcing of cocoa important?

In many cases, chocolate companies do not source cocoa directly from farmers. When these companies cut corners to get the cheapest chocolate possible, the growers suffer. They’re not paid livable wages, so then they aren't able to use the best growing methods for delicious beans and a healthy ecosystem. While it may be more profitable in the short run, this method doesn’t produce the best-tasting chocolate and it’s completely unsustainable in the long run.

TCHO’s innovation extends well beyond their processing and labelling, which I’ll get to later, all the way back to the farmers. TCHO partners directly with growers, chocolate labs, and other researchers in the cocoa industry in Ecuador, Ghana, Madagascar, Peru, and the Dominican Republic to produce chocolate products with a wide range of flavor profiles. 

How is TCHO chocolate different?

If you’re a big fan of chocolate like me, you’re probably used to seeing chocolate bars labelled by their percentage. On most bars, this indicates the percentage of ingredients derived from the cocoa bean, including both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. It says nothing about the quality or balance between the two ingredients, however.

Instead of focusing on percentage as the main selling point, TCHO focuses on ingredients. They don’t cut any corners on processing the cocoa beans into the finished product and they create unique mixes of chocolates from different countries to give it natural fruity, nutty, earthy, floral, or citrus hints.

TCHO’s innovation has been extremely well-received in the chocolate industry itself as well because they’ve won over 22 International Chocolate Awards. TCHO chocolate is also used by chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and home bakers alike

What flavors are available?

When TCHO does add other ingredients to their chocolate bars, they don’t skimp on creativity or quality. Many of their bars are certified USDA Organic and Fair Trade.

Some of my favorite flavors include snicker-doodle, made using a dark milk chocolate with coarse sugar and cinnamon that give it a great texture, and pretzel crunch, which somehow manages to keep the pretzel bits perfectly crunchy when encased in dark milk chocolate. Other popular flavors are coffee and almond, mint chip gelato, toffee and sea salt, banana nut, and cinnamon and spice.

If you’re looking for more of a snack than a chocolate bar, they also have fun-sized squares and chocolate buttons in all of their most popular flavors. 

I’d like to consider myself somewhat of a chocolate expert, even if my only experience is eating a lot of chocolate and watching this video of an expert deciding which chocolates are more expensive. Up until eating TCHO, I’d never actually tried a chocolate that passed all of the tests, from checking for blooming to the snap test. 

If you’re in Berkeley, California you can even stop by their factory and take a tour to learn all about their process.

If you needed another excuse to try TCHO chocolate, I have one last one. Thanks to a lot of research that has come out recently, chocolate is considered healthy for a number of reasons. TCHO is the perfect option that will leave your body, your mind, and the environment feeling better than before enjoying a bar. 

#SpoonTip: I want to give a big thanks to TCHO for providing me with samples of their high-quality, responsibly-sourced, and (most importantly) delicious chocolate.