At Letterpress Chocolate, you will not get the same, consistent, and mass-produced chocolate experience. As we go through the journey from cacao bean to chocolate bars, the secrets and values of unique flavors begin to unravel

Strip away the artificial covering, Letterpress Chocolate will show you the true taste of cacao. 

David’s Background

Though with his extinguishing background in graphic designing, David felt his creative talents were limited and did not express his greatest potentials. Thus, he wanted to use his talents and create something that used all senses in the physical world.

He began his bean-to-bar chocolate journey back in 2013 in his apartment with his wife. David shared one of his life-changing moments that pushed LetterPress Chocolate to what it is today: In 2014, one of his chocolate operations failed and a fire broke out causing his apartment to smell like burnt plastic. If it was not for his wife supporting and reminding him that this was a minor setback, LetterPress Chocolate would not stand as the pavers for the bean-to-bar chocolate enterprise in Los Angeles.

Luckily for David’s graphic designing expertise, he knew how to brand his image. LetterPress Chocolate has won astounding awards. Featured in Los Angeles Times, Chocolate Connoisseur, and LA Weekly and awarded at International Chocolate Awards, Academy of Chocolate and Good Food Awards, David discovered that embracing the harvest and “staying true to the bean” is what established, and to this day, drives LetterPress Chocolate.

From bean-to-bar

The very first step is cacao beans. The letterpress chocolate has about a dozen of different cacao origins. The different climates and types of cacao trees render beans from each origin a characteristic flavor. Even from the same origin, beans taste different from year to year. The inconsistency is a gift from nature. 

After harvesting, cacao beans may look unfamiliar to you. Instead of a brownish color, it is covered with pulps that look like young coconut meats. That’s when fermentation exerts its magic. During fermentation, enzymes break down carbohydrates and proteins of the pulp and produce various chemical compounds. This process not only changes the color of the beans, but also those chemical compounds set foundation to their final tastes. In order to explore the potential of chocolates, David and his wife developed an exclusive fermentation process with their cacao farmers, which creates a savory and unreplicable experience for every consumer.

After the fermented beans arrive, David and his wife dry and roast the beans themselves. In this process, they use different degrees of roasting to bring out the best flavors from the beans.

After cracking and winnowing, a thin shell is removed from the beans. It enters the final stages of the chocolate-making process. In most mass-production factories, cacao beans undergo a high-pressure environment so that the cocoa powder and cocoa butter are separated. Only the cocoa powder is used for the chocolate making and the precious butter will be sold at a higher price. At Letterpress Chocolate, they grind the whole beans into the chocolate-making process and maximally preserve the natural flavors. The only ingredients used are beans and sugar.

Having zero artificial flavors, the chocolate bars are packed with flavors. It is a result of nature’s diversity and David's creativity

Giving Back to the Farmers

It is hard to not mention what inspires and pushes David. It is the ability to not only connect and keep in touch with farmers who harvest and supply the cacao beans to his doorstep but also pay his partners the money they well deserve to foster sustainability in their communities. He is humble about the work he does and acknowledges that he is nothing without his companions. Connecting people back to the farm through the LetterPress Chocolate bars is what tears him up and inspires him to this day. Without further ado, let’s take a peek at three of the single origin chocolate bars from Letterpress Chocolate.

Zanasia Graham

Taste Test

Like Hamlet, there are a thousand chocolate flavors in a thousand people's mouths. What we eat and drink all affect our tasting experience. To have minimum interference, David recommended tasting chocolate in the morning where we are the freshest. Although water does little to clear our mouths amid chocolate tasting, water crackers are an excellent choice because cacao butter can coat your palate with fat.

For daily appreciation, David said he usually smells the aroma of the bar. Then, he takes a small bite. After a few chewings to break the chocolate into smaller parts, he lets the chocolate melt in his mouth. Breathing at the same time amplifies and expands the characteristic notes of each bar.

In terms of choosing, there are reference notes of each origin on the Letterpress Chocolate website. 70% Dark would be a sweet point to start your exploration.

Zanasia Graham

Belize Maya 70% Dark Chocolate:

The chocolate lingered in my mouth with a sweet and sour taste. “Tropical” was the word for it. I was in my sweet summer dream. As the chocolate melted on my mouth, streams of fruity sweetness diffused on my palate. The refreshing tropical fruity note stood out of the chocolate-y background and balanced the bitterness of cacao. When I took my second bite and chewed the chocolate thoroughly, a rich nutty flavor took the lead. If I did not see the ingredient list, I would not Belize that the bar only has cacao beans, sugar, and cocoa butter.

Ghana Ashanti 70% Dark Chocolate:

Although I was eating chocolate, I envisioned a pure white scene in front of my eyes. It’s coconut, milk, cheese, and yogurt. I could not wrap my head around it so I took my second bite. The chocolate alone has the rich, complex, and dense experience of brownies or chocolate lava cakes. It simultaneously fulfilled my expectation towards conventional chocolates and lured me with traces of complex notes popping on my tongue. Although the sweet and bitter are perfectly matched, I thought the sugar got into my way of appreciating the cacao beans. I am Ghana be satisfied with 100% cacao.

Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 70% Dark Chocolate:

This chocolate bar is a bit different from the other two. I felt a strong tea-like aftertaste in my nose at the end. Recalling the initial taste, it was a little smoky and heavy. On the website, this bar has a note of green banana and peppery mocha, which appeared to me in my first bite. I would definitely recommend this to adventurous people.

After these three bars, I truly understand the enchantment of bean-to-bar chocolates. It is not amid to give you the instant sugar-rush pleasure. It slowly calms and enriches your heart with its personality. You can taste the sediment of history, culture, and tradition. A bit of relish will make your day.

If you want to know the story behind each origin or chocolate in general, visit the website of Letterpress Chocolate and follow their social media to get the latest update. 


Whether you are a chocolate enthusiast or  just want to experience the sugar high that chocolate provides, this bar is worth a try. When the chocolate is melting on the tip of my tongue, its taste changes slowly with time. Even the aftertaste filled my nose with a unique aroma. After a bite like this, chocolate becomes more than comfort food for me. It becomes an art: a delicate cuisine that embodies tons of flavors. 

Out of these three flavors, I would recommend Belize for its slightly fruity sweetness. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg of Letterpress Chocolate.

Don't hesitate to visit their website and savor more

Zanasia Graham