How did we go from building furniture and wood boats to making chocolate? For as long as we can remember, we have been making things by hand. The time and care required for fitting a mortice or shaping a plank is not unlike the process of hand-crafting chocolate from the bean. We have never shied away from a challenge in order to produce a beautifully finished product. It is just part of who we are.
The most hands-on approach we could take was to start with the raw cacao. We are able to source the finest fairly-traded cacao and perform all the steps in-house to turn the raw ingredients into delicious chocolate, all in our small factory in Eureka, California. This entire process takes approximately three weeks to complete but allows us to make some of the finest chocolate possible. We use organic cacao and organic cane sugar in our chocolate. By not cutting corners or taking shortcuts in our process we are able to leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, in hopes of capturing and highlighting the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao we source from around the world. We hope you will get as much enjoyment eating our chocolate as we do making it.
Packaging and Design
From the very beginning, it was important to us to not only make the best chocolate we possibly could, but package it in a way that was unique and beautiful as well. Packaging that was noticeably different from the other bars on the market was our goal. We had grand and lofty ideas about what we wanted, but it turned out that was in direct conflict with the budget we had for our chocolate bar wrapper. We have always been drawn to the look of of letterpressed print material and wanted to incorporate that into our design. The problem is paying an artist to do the letterpress print work is very expensive. In our mind, the only way to save money was to print them ourselves. We searched far and wide and found someone selling a whole letterpress print shop in Oakland for pennies on the dollar. We drove down and picked up the whole lot in one day and drove it back up to Eureka to begin restoring this vintage machinery. We then tought ourselves how to use it and began making bar wrappers that reflected our love of artistry and high quality craftsmanship. Doing it this way has allowed us to not only achieve the look we wanted, but do it in a way that we could afford. Another side benefit is, we learned a new skill along the way.
Not only did we want a package that was well printed, but we also wanted our brand to be very art driven. We wanted the art to evoke the idea of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Also, being sailors ourselves and living close to Humboldt Bay, the nautical theme seemed to best portray who we are and where we live. Fortunately, artistic ability runs in Dustin’s family. Dustin’s brother Garrett Taylor is a very talented artist and illustrator (who just happens to work for Pixar). Early on, we utilized Garrett’s skill and vision to drive the artwork for the brand. To this day, Garrett does all the illustration for our wrappers as well as art concepts. It feels great to have such talent in the family and to work together to further the vision of the company.
Aside from owning a business together, we have been long time friends. Before making chocolate,we worked together as carpenters and have played for years in a local string band called Huckleberry Flint. While we don't have as much time these days to play music and do woodworking, it is still in our blood and the band plays several shows in Humboldt County a year that sell out almost immediately. As far as woodworking goes, you can see evidence of our craftsmanship if you come and visit the factory and tasting room.