When we started supplying specialty coffee shops, we knew we needed to find a chocolate company who shared our values – enter Kokoa Collection. Their single origin chocolates can elevate your humble hot chocolate into a truly memorable experience, and all in a way that is traded responsibly.
Cocoa and coffee production have a lot in common.
Here, we're taking a deep-dive into what makes single origin chocolate so special, the differences between the Kokoa Collection range, and how to prepare a cracking hot chocolate.
Who are Kokoa Collection?
Kokoa Collection is an award-winning, Bedfordshire-based chocolate company, who specialise in chocolate solutions for coffee companies and cafés. Launched at the London Coffee Festival back in 2011, they were the first brand in a coffee shop culture to melt solid chocolate, rather than powder, to create drinking chocolate. Their range consists of single-origin chocolates sourced from the world's top cocoa producing regions, and showcase diverse, delicious flavours with a unique connection to each area. With the exception of their Ivory Coast white chocolate, all of their chocolates are vegan.
What are Kokoa Collection's values?Kokoa Collection work with local cooperatives rather than larger organisations, in an effort to trade as closely with the source as possible. Much like our approach to sourcing coffee, the premiums paid for the cocoa they source allow producers to invest back in their farms - rejuvinating trees, and improving their processing methods. They believe that for cocoa to be sustainable long-term, producers need to earn a viable living from their work.
Sustainability also comes in the form of environmental focus. Kokoa Collection have shifted their packaging to be fully recyclable, and are on the path to becoming carbon-neutral. Much like our support of coffee producers in Uganda, their tree-planting initiative in Haiti will help local communities, as well as offsetting carbon.
Different varieties of chocolate have unique characteristics, just like coffee.
What is single-origin chocolate?Much like coffee, cocoa is a fruit which contains seeds. Those seeds are removed from the flesh of the fruit, fermented, and then transported to roasteries. The cocoa beans are roasted to a specific roasting profile, often on the same roasters that are used for coffee!
From there, they go through a 'winnowing' process, where the shells are removed from the seeds, and the seeds are ground. Then, the cocoa mass is pressed out and separated from the cocoa butter – any additional ingredients are added at this stage. Finally, the conching process changes the texture of the final product, from coarse to very fine. The longer the chocolate is conched for, the silkier the final texture.
Companies like Kokoa Collection select cocoa from specific regions to highlight the way that origin and varietal can impact taste. Much like with coffee, different origins are known for different flavour profiles, and the type of cocoa bean will also impart different notes. Forastero beans, for example, are the most common varietal, and have a good appraochable taste with slightly earthy notes. Other varieties, such as Criollo, make up about 5% of cocoa production, and have complex floral notes and fruit-forward sweetness.
The Kokoa Collection range consists of chocolate from all over the world. For a range that's great for home chocolate makers and coffee shops, we supply:
Ivory Coast (white) | Tasting notes: natural vanilla, creamy.
Venezuela (58%) | Tasting notes: red fruits, caramel.
Ecuador (70%) | Tasting notes: floral, balanced.
Madagascar (82%) | Tasting notes: citrus fruits, pure.
As well as these chocolate tablets, there are also flaked chocolate options to choose from:
São Tomé (58%) | Tasting notes: butterscotch, popcorn, red berries.
Dominican Republic (70%) | vanilla, brownie, red cherry.
How to make a Kokoa Collection Hot ChocolateMaking a cup of hot chocolate with Kokoa Collection couldn’t be easier:
1. According to taste, place 2 or 3 tablets of chocolate in a serving cup. If using flakes, just scoop them in according to taste.
2. Cover with boiling water and allow to soften for 15 seconds before pouring away the excess water. Alternatively, melt with a shot of espresso to make a mocha.
3. Heat approximately 175ml of milk to fill the serving cup.
4. Cover melted chocolate with a tablespoon of hot milk. Mix to a smooth paste.
5. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk in stages.
It's easy to see why Kokoa Collection have become the go-to choice for so many hot chocolate lovers, and we find it fascinating to see the parallels between single origin chocolate and coffee. If you're looking to take your chocolate offering to the next level, they should be your next stop for sure! Check out the full Kokoa Collection range here, or click here for wholesale supply.