US artisan chocolate producer TCHO has launched a new coffee chocolate bar after conducting a unique testing program with customers and working directly with cocoa farmers.
TCHO, a California-based start-up chocolate company, sells its own brand in its retail shop and online and also supplies chocolate for Starbucks. It is owned by Louis Rossetto the founder of Wired magazine.
The company recently created a new product called Mokaccino that was developed through unconventional means with a Beta program that relied on consumer feedback. It has also exploited new technology enabling it to work closer with cocoa farmers to improve the quality of the product.
“Beta is TCHO's way of co-creating our upcoming bars with our customers, “ Greta Miersm, manager, interactive sales and marketing told ConfectioneryNews.com.
“After our own intensive development process, we invite our customers to taste our efforts and give us online feedback,” she said.
The company sent three prototypes to 300 program participants who gave their comments and feedback online.
Flavor notes and combinations were adapted accordingly at TCHO’s lab to develop the final product.
The company’s lab uses an IPhone app to control some processes at the facility such as grinding and roasting, which allows workers to control operations remotely. See HERE.
TCHO also uses Cloud-based software Cropster, which is a database that lets cocoa farmers send digital analysis samples of their cocoa, allowing the company to then conduct sensory tests and later to share results and feedback with the farmers.
The company deals directly with farmer cooperatives rather than obtaining cocoa from commodity brokers.
This allows cocoa fermentation to take place closer to farms, which the company claims improves the quality of chocolate and improves farmer livelihoods.
Market need for premium inclusion chocolate
TCHO previously produced only dark chocolate and milk chocolate, but Miersm said the company had spotted a market need.
“What the market is demanding next is high-quality inclusion chocolates. Something that takes your traditional 50-centy chocolate-and-almond bar and kicks it up a notch or twelve,” she said.
Mokaccino is produced at TCHO’s factory in San Francisco, California. The company sells the product at its Pier 17 shop for $5.95 per bar, and online at $11.95 for a two-bar pack.