Theo Chocolate Classic Collection Organic Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate with Spicy Chile is a proven hit! Our rich 70% dark chocolate is beautifully balanced with the warmth of guajillo chile and cinnamon, the tanginess of pasilla chile and a subtle hint of citrus.
Theo Chocolate is teaming up with Food Lifeline to support Hunger Action Month. Theo will donate the value of one meal for every Orange and Spicy Chile dark chocolate bar, both dressed in orange packaging in keeping with the theme, through the entire month of September. Please buy yourself a treat AND join us in supporting Food Lifeline as they continue their important efforts to feed hungry families in Western Washington!
They give back to the community & create artisan food manufacturing jobs in the United States
Best of all, Theo Chocolate is proud to be the first Fair Trade and Fair for Life chocolate maker. The IMO Fair for life certification goes beyond fair trade by certifying their entire supply chain from the farmers, through to Theo's business practices and factory. Theo is committed to raising the bar! Their factory is open every day to visitors. Join them at 3400 Phinney, where you can smell and taste all of their incredible creations, watch them roast cocoa beans and hand craft their beautiful confections, and learn ore about their movement to save the planet and its capacity to nurture and sustain all living things.
Theo Chocolate Classic Collection Organic Dark Chocolate:
- Fair Trade Certified
- Suitable for Vegans
- Gluten Free
- Soy Free
Theo’s standards and practices include:
- Using only pure ingredients that are grown sustainably. Theo source their ingredients locally whenever possible.
- Partnering with our growers by ensuring they earn a living wage and have access to education for their families.
- Honoring and respecting our employees and suppliers. This is possible due to the unique fact that we control every step of our own manufacturing process.
- Using green energy sources to power our factory.
- Using sustainable packaging and printing methods.
- Educating about social and environmental accountability 7 days a week through public tours of our artisan factory.
What is chocolate made of?
Chocolate is made from the fermented, roasted and ground seeds of the chocolate tree: Theobroma cacao. The seeds contain an abundance of interesting substances because in nature their role is to support the growth of a new tree. During chocolate making, the process of fermentation and roasting develops the “chocolatey” flavor of the seeds as new molecules are produced in “browning reactions” called the Maillard reaction. Careful grinding and mixing of the chocolate produces the smooth and creamy mouthfeel and a process known as tempering sets the molecular structure of the chocolate into the correct molecular conformation in the solid bar.
Real chocolate is a mixture of finely ground roasted and fermented cacao seeds and sugar. A 70% chocolate bar contains 70% ground cacao and 30% sugar with a hint of ground vanilla bean. The ground cacao is comprised of cacao butter, a natural oil, in which the ground particles of the cacao seed are suspended. These particles are fibrous and contain a mixture of polyphenols and catechins which have been shown to have antioxidant activity; similar to properties of the molecules in green tea, for instance. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa has a lot of these polyphenols and catechins. Conversely, chocolate that is heavily processed or contains very little cacao has little antioxidant activity left. The polyphenol and catechin antioxidants that can be found in cacao have been shown to have positive health benefits including reduction of blood pressure, reduction of inflammation, inhibition of oral caries and improvements in cerebral blood flow. In addition, chocolate contains theobromine, a mild stimulant related to caffeine.
Bean to Bar
Once the beans arrive at Theo's factory in Seattle, the real magic happens. Their factory is a working testament to their belief in artisanal methods and the importance of a human touch.
- Step 1: Roasting
Their master roaster sorts the beans, drawing on years of knowledge to combine the unique cocoa tastes from different regions, creating complex flavors that go beyond a simple formula. The beans are then roasted to develop the precise flavor elements each recipe calls for. Every roast load is different and only when the beans have reached their “sweet spot” are they ready to be milled down into nibs, the broken down bean bits that are the building block for chocolate.
- Step 2: Milling
The nibs then enter a series of mills that separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. After about 12 hours of milling, mixing begins and sugar is combined with cocoa “liquor” (non-alcoholic). The mixture is then refined, to ensure perfect combination of the sugar and liquor. Then the mixture is “conched,” slowly heated and stirred for days to evenly distribute the cocoa butter and develop the deep chocolate flavor.
- Step 3: Inclusions
After that comes the added ingredients that make their bars so unique—everything from fruit and nuts to chiles, bread and salt. Again, every ingredient that goes into their chocolate is organic.
- Step 4: Molding and Packaging
Finally comes molding and packaging, where their bars take shape (literally). Liquid Theo chocolate is poured into the molds that will determine its ultimate form. Each bar is hand checked for quality. Once it passes the test, it’s wrapped, boxed and shipped to you, ready to be enjoyed.
- Step 5: Enjoy and Repeat
That first bite you take connects you with the entire Theo process, from bean to bar. You can taste the rich and complex blend of cocoa beans that gives their chocolate its character. You can taste the care and precision that goes into making each bar. You can taste the creativity and joy that leads to their unique flavors. Every Theo chocolate is an experience. And every experience is proof of their commitment to creating the best chocolate in the world.
About Theo Chocolate
They make chocolate.
Amazing, delicious, mind-bendingly wonderful chocolate. It’s pure joy in every bite and it comes from passion. But for them, it’s about more than chocolate. It’s about the land, the people, the dedication and the interconnected relationships that bind us all.
It’s why their founder, Joe Whinney first pioneered the supply of organic cocoa beans into the United States in 1994. Traveling and working in the tropics of Central America and Africa, he fell in love with the land and the people farming there. He recognized an injustice in the way that both were being exploited and wanted to do something to make a difference.
Over the next decade, Joe worked tirelessly to champion organic cocoa beans in the U.S. and promote Fair Trade practices for the people farming those beans. He built lasting relationships and deep trust with farmer groups—all the while focused on the goal of someday making chocolate himself and sharing his passion with the world.
Joe relocated along with Vice President of Sales and Marketing Debra Music from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Seattle in the summer of 2004. Debra’s background in social marketing and consumer brand building were a perfect complement to Joe’s expertise in the sphere of sustainability. Together they spent two years creating the Theo brand concept and building the factory along with a small team, including Erin Holzer in the role of Chief Factory Engineer (now Theo Chief Chocolate Engineer). In March of 2006, Joe's dream came to life with Theo’s inaugural run of organic chocolate—the first made here in the U.S. Then, as now, Theo chocolate comes from only the purest ingredients grown in the most sustainable ways possible. Everything they make and sell meets the highest standards for organic, Fair Trade and Fair for Life.
For them, chocolate isn’t just a product, it’s a journey from bean to bar. And while its heart is with the beans themselves, and the places where they’re grown, lovingly referred to as their “origin,” what they do with those beans is just as important. Their small batch production is truly an art form. Every aspect of their manufacturing process is controlled by them. That means they can guarantee that every step, every ingredient, everything that goes into each bar is as special as the beans themselves.
Rooted in passion. Grounded in beliefs. Put into practice every day.
It’s what makes Theo chocolate the best in the world.
They’re dedicated to making our world a better place. And they’re finding ways to do it through their passion—bringing out the best of the cocoa bean. They are all connected. They touch one another’s lives in incredible ways. And they are responsible to and for one another. From the cacao farmer in the Congo, to the truck driver in Seattle, to the chocolate lover in Philadelphia—there is a thread that runs through us all. Theo believes in celebrating those connections, in strengthening them and in finding inspiration within them—inspiration to change the world. They know that every action has a result. That the choices they make here in Seattle, Washington touch lives across the planet in real and lasting ways. That knowledge, and that responsibility, is what drives them to do things differently, to help make the world a better place. They think about every choice they make, every action they take and how it will impact our interconnected world.
As the first organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country, their founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical, sustainable fashion. All of their ingredients are carefully screened and 3rd party verified to ensure they meet their standards for social and environmental responsibility.
What is Organic?
They subscribe to the most stringent definition of organic. They only use foods grown without synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, that do not contain genetically modified organisms, and have not been irradiated or exposed to industrial solvents or food additives. Every Theo ingredient has been verified as organic and they work with farmers and suppliers to ensure these standards are maintained.
Their work with farmer partners supports their ability to utilize sustainable growing practices that benefit both our fragile environmental ecosystem and all of the people inhabiting our planet. They focus on integrated pest management which protects farmers and the environment from damaging pesticides, biodiverse farming which provides habitat for many species such as migratory birds, and reforestation which helps offset worldwide air pollution and has a positive impact on global warming.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an international system including certifications that guarantee producers have been paid a price that enables positive economic growth for the individual and the region. The social benefits of Fair Trade are far reaching. Farmers benefitting from the Fair Trade system are better able to provide their families with adequate nutrition, access to healthcare and education, ultimately opening up a world of opportunities. Fair Trade enables farmers to take their livelihoods to the next level in sophistication, blending the benefits of modern techniques with artisanal practices, while participating in greater social change through the Fair Trade organization.
What is Non-GMO?
Non-GMO means that a food is free from genetically modified organisms. Gentically modified organisms are experimental plants or animals that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory with DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses. GMOs have not been proven safe. The long term consequences of GMO's on our health and environment have not been adequately investigated. Currently the United States and Canada do not require labeling of genetically engineered foods. In 40 countries including Australia, Japan and all EU nations there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs because they are not considered proven safe. At Theo they believe consumers have the right to know what is in their food and have made a commitment to non-GMO certification of their products.
Where do Theo's beans come from?
The sources of their cocoa beans are always changing. They work with farmer groups and grower cooperatives throughout the world to ensure they are always getting the best beans possible. Currently, their beans come primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru. They have been actively cultivating supply chain in Tanzania for the last several years.
Theo's Cocoa Beans
It all starts with the beans. They’ve built Theo around the belief that cocoa beans are more than an ingredient. Our beans and the lives they touch are at the heart of their business. Each and every one of their cocoa beans is organic, Fair Trade and Fair For Life purchased. That means they are grown sustainably in ways that promote biodiversity and positively impact the lives of the farmers they buy from. And by committing to fair pricing, they ensure that they get the best beans available, all the time.
The source of their beans is always changing. They work with farmers groups and grower cooperatives throughout the world, partnering by providing technical assistance and sharing their knowledge and understanding of what is required to make great chocolate. Currently, their beans come primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru. They have been actively cultivating supply chain in Tanzania for the last several years.