Where do your cocoa beans come from?
All over the world! Cacao (the fruit used to produce cocoa beans) is grown in tropical regions all around the world. Our company is all about making the best possible product we can for our customers—so we take the quality of our cocoa very seriously. When we source our beans we look for a few main characteristics:
1. Quality, of course. We look for beans that are well-fermented and have great aroma and taste.
2. Sustainability. We know that our business relies on natural resources to stay alive, so we are therefore part of the system and obligated to maintain it. We’re proud members of 1% for the Planet, and all of our packaging is compostable, biodegradable or recyclable. Fun fact: the temperature insulation in our boxes can simply be placed in the sink and washed away.
3. Direct or transparent trade. It's important for us that the cacao farmers we work with are adequately paid and receive a reasonable living wage. To ensure this, we pay a premium for the beans we use.
When we don't buy directly from the farms, we work with several importers to source our cocoa beans and we are proud to say that they share these same values.
What does 'single origin' mean?
Single origin means that all of the cocoa in a particular bar comes from one estate, farm, or co-op from a particular region. Single origin bars have a flavor profile that is unique to their region.
Much of the flavor of a single origin comes from the terroir: the natural environment in which it is produced, including things like the soil, topography, and climate. When we taste single origin bars, we like to taste them side by side with other origins so we can really understand the differences. Our bars from Madagascar, for example, are fruity in flavor, whereas our bars from Uganda are much darker and taste more traditionally chocolatey.
What does ‘bean-to-bar’ mean?
Some of the larger chocolate manufacturers in the world rely on cocoa exporters to process their beans into cocoa liquor before it arrives at their factory. Instead of starting with pre-processed cocoa, we start from the beginning—with hardened, dried cocoa beans that we manufacture ourselves into our chocolate bars and other products. In other words, we process our chocolate from the bean all the way to the bar. If you're interested, you can learn more about our process.
What does it mean when a bar says ‘70%’?
The percentage refers to the amount of cocoa in a bar. A 70% bar, for example, has 70% cocoa by weight. Most people interpret this as how ‘dark’ a bar will taste. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sugar there is, which means it’s less sweet. In industrial chocolate, a higher percentage often means the chocolate will taste significantly more bitter.
Since our chocolate is intentionally made to enhance the flavor of each origin, a higher percentage doesn't necessarily mean more bitter. For example, you'd be surprised at how fruity a 70% Madagascar bar will taste—with no bitterness at all.
Where can I find nutrition information?
Nutrition information can be found on the back of each product label or in the "Nutrition Information" dropdown section on the product page.
Is your chocolate certified organic?
Short answer: We are not a certified organic facility, but we do buy a significant amount of certified organic cacao and use certified organic ingredients whenever possible.
Slightly longer answer: Most of the small-production, high-quality cacao in the world is grown organically. Unfortunately, because the process for a farm to become "certified organic" is prohibitively expensive, most cacao producers cannot actually prove that their growing process is organic.
Is your chocolate certified fair trade?
Short answer: We are not certified fair trade, but we do pay premiums for the cacao that we buy.
Long answer: We try to work with cacao farmers directly (which we consider to be better than fair trade). And when we cannot buy directly, we work with responsible importers like Uncommon Cacao. Uncommon's team does a tremendous job of providing transparency reports for all of its cacao. Farmers that work with Uncommon see significantly higher rates of pay than those working with industrial chocolate exporters. The same is true for farmers we work with directly.
What is the difference between a Chocolate Maker and a Chocolatier?
We consider ourselves a chocolate maker, which we define as someone who turns cocoa beans into chocolate. We define a chocolatier as someone who buys and re-melts already-produced chocolate to make into confections. In fact, sometimes our chocolate is purchased by chocolatiers.
How long does it take for an order to ship?
Typically 2–3 business days for order processing and 2–3 days of transit time for standard shipping.
If your order seems to be delayed or missing, let us know and we'll make it right.
Where do I find my order number?
As soon as your order has been placed, you should receive an order confirmation email that includes your order number.
If you're having trouble finding the order confirmation email, just let us know and we will look it up for you!
Only some of my order came in – what does that mean?
This may mean something you purchased was on backorder. Don't worry, the rest of your partial shipment will go out soon, but if you are concerned, shoot us an email with your name and order number and we’ll figure it out for you.
As you may know, chocolate has a tendency to melt in warm conditions. To avoid having melted chocolate show up at your door, we typically send shipments out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Orders placed Thursday or later will be held and shipped the following Monday. Shipping is typically USPS Priority 2–3 day with an insulated liner.
In warm weather, we typically include a cold pack and additional insulation. We will also hold orders placed on Thursday or later and ship them the coming Monday. This helps avoid packages sitting in a warm warehouse over the weekend.
Important information: Please ensure that your delivery address will not result in the package sitting outdoors for any length of time. We strongly suggest shipping to a location where you can receive the package immediately. We pack bars to stay cool, but please help us to make sure your bars are received promptly. We'd hate for you to receive melted chocolate.
Things everyone loves to hear: Spinnaker Chocolate is not liable for theft or damage during shipping or upon delivery. Spinnaker Chocolate is not responsible for incorrect shipping addresses or addresses where delivery results in a package remaining in a hot, rainy, or otherwise unsuitable environment. Spinnaker Chocolate will not ship orders if the ambient temperature is over 90F in Seattle, WA, and will either delay or cancel such orders. It is your responsibility to order chocolate to be received at under 90F. Spinnaker Chocolate will not refund or replace melted chocolate. You may request a delay in your shipment until the ambient temperature is below 90F at your location by emailing us.
It might! Which is why we take careful precautions to avoid such a scenario:
Things you can do to avoid melted chocolate:
Can I modify my order after placing it?
Click here to contact us immediately with your order number and details.
Typically, the easiest way for us to change an order is to cancel your initial order, issue a refund for the full amount, and then ask you to simply place a new order.
What is your return or refund policy?
If you're at all unsatisfied with your order, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to make it right!
Have a question about our chocolate?
Shoot us an email!