Stage 1: Our chocolate begins its journey at a small family-run farm, part of Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade cooperative, in Ghana, West Africa. The cacao trees are shade grown, encouraging biodiversity and creating a cool, lush oasis in the midst of a very hot countryside.  Our coconut sugar is sourced on the opposite side of the world, from a Fairtrade organic cooperative in Indonesia.

Stage 2: The organically grown pods are hand-harvested and cracked open, revealing a white tropical tasting film stretched over a cob of beans. The beans are removed from the pod, fermented in the forest under banana leaves and then sun-dried. (This stage is very labour intensive and one reason Fairtrade is so important). It takes roughly one pod to make one bar of our chocolate.

Stage 3: Next the beans are weighed, packed and loaded up for their journey on the high seas… Meanwhile in Indonesia coconut trees are climbed when their flower blossoms are tapped, the nectar is collected and boiled down to sugar crystals.  This does not impact the trees ability to produce coconuts!

Stage 4: Arriving in Clonakilty at our garden HQ in pallets of 65kg hessian sacks, the raw cacao beans are sorted, roasted, nibbed and winnowed to separate the thin shells (husks) from the inside of the beans (nibs). Our husks are used for tea, chocolate stouts and garden mulch!  In Indonesia, our organic coconut sugar is ground into crystals and packed and shipped to Europe.  It arrives to us by boat and truck in stacks of 25kg boxes.

Stage 5: The most important stage!  The nibs and coconut sugar* go slowly into our CocoaTown (conche/refiner) with any other base ingredients (dairy/dairy alternatives) they are ground for three days to further develop flavour, and achieve our smooth creamy texture.  *Except for our Mint bar that uses organic birch xylitol and our 100% base that uses…. well nothing except nibs of course!

Stage 6: The chocolate is then poured from the stone grinder onto trays.  We bag and let it rest for at least 2 weeks before we temper, flavour and then pour into waiting moulds. Once the bars are set, they are hand wrapped, boxed and delivered!  Phew!

Did you know the UN call coconut sugar the ‘World’s more sustainable sweetener’? Now you do!

I was lucky enough to travel to Ghana in 2013 as representative of Fairtrade Ireland and visit the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade Farming Co-operative where every treat from Exploding Tree starts its life.   Here are some pictures from that amazing experience…

Sign in
Cart (0)

No products in the basket. No products in the basket.