In the summer of 2016 I went out for beers with my friends Vince, Dom and Ollie. Vince was all excited as he had recently inherited some land in the Philippines from his grandfather and his dad had just sent him back some photos. In the photo was a picture of his dad Mario holding a orange/red fruit on a tree. Vince said he got really excited when his dad sent the photo as he thought he had mangoes growing on his property. His dad told him later on the phone that he was holding cacao and not mangoes.
When he told us this Oliver immediately chimed in on how cacao was a cash crop and with greater global demand it would be a excellent opportunity if he wanted to explore it. I quipped in, “If you bring back some beans, we will make chocolate from it”.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016 and Vince has come back from his own trip to the family plot in the Philippines with 2 suitcases full of beans. He stopped by my house with a small bag of beans saying, “Alright Stefan time to get to work!”
From that day forward we started to experiment and make chocolate at home. It started as a weekend project, then slowly grew into twice a week, then every other day. Basically any spare time we had from our regular jobs we were playing around with roasting, grinding and formulating recipes that worked. Our initial results were … not great. Grainy sour chocolate. However it looked like chocolate and still tasted like chocolate. As we continued to refine our recipes we also began experimenting with other bean origins from around the world. We became chocolate obsessed and started piling up bars from other bean-to-bar chocolate makers around the world to see what type of flavours other makers were creating.
After a year of testing out our chocolate on our friends we wanted to see if people who didn’t know us would like our chocolate. So we applied to the local Vancouver farmers market and in January of 2017 started selling Kasama to the public in Vancouver. Despite the snow and cold of those early markets we saw a real demand and positive reception of the chocolate we were making. We were exciting. We continued to work on the product, and spent the rest of 2017 attending more craft and farmers markets around British Columbia.
That’s were we are today. Looking to continue to grow our production and continue to refine our process to ultimately make better more delicious chocolate. If you want to find out more about our bean-to-bar chocolate making in Vancouver checkout our website!