100 Favorites From Around The World — Saveur Magazine
A Family Business
"What makes great chocolates?"
That was the question I asked as I dove into research. I learned that fine flavor cocoa beans, only the top 5% in the world, carefully harvested, fermented, dried, and roasted make the best chocolates. They're the heart of fine chocolate flavor.
In October 2004, we started our family business with a simple idea; source the world's finest cocoa beans, fresh roast them, then cover them in layers of some of the world's best white, milk, dark chocolates, and cocoa powder— Five of the best chocolates in one bite!
We called them Kakawa Cocoa Beans, inspired by the first word for chocolate, "Kaka'wa."
On our first day at the downtown Austin Farmers' Market we sold out!
Local papers put out the word, and people lined up the next week. We sold out in one hour!
We were featured in Saveur Magazines' 100 Favorites from around the world and people from all over the world asked for our chocolates. We knew we were on to something good.
Today, we still hand make our Kakawa Cocoa Beans, using some of the world's best chocolates. We think you'll agree, they are an exceptional chocolate to savor!
“Pure Chocolate Joy!”
— Saveur Magazine
Editors' 100 Favorites From Around The World
“Cacao Bonbons. My dream candy.”
— Food & Wine magazine
“A total sensory wraparound… Call it Chocolate 5th Dimension.”
“The taste truly is transcendent.”
“Elegant… You've never had chocolate like this.”
— The Austin American-Statesman
“For the true connoisseur.”
“Authentic, rich, and with great contrasting textures.”
“Intense experience, with hints of nutty, woody, and fruity flavors that’ll make you want to become a chocolate sommelier.”
The story of chocolate begins in jungle lowlands...
A Cacao Pod
Cacao originated in northern South America, near Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. The trees can grow to 30-50 feet tall. The cacao fruit or pod can be red, orange, yellow, or green when ripe, depending on variety. Inside each pod are 30-50 cacao seeds.
After Cortez came to Mexico and took cacao back to Spain, it was eventually spread around the world in similar jungle lowlands. Most today is grown in West Africa.
We get our cacao from Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, where cacao originated.
A cacao tree will bear fruit throughout the year and has peak harvest times twice a year. When the cacao pods are ripe they are carefully cut from the lower branches of the tree and taken to a central area for fermentation. It's very hard work picking the cacao pods off the lower branches of the trees. I tried it one day and couldn't keep up with these hard workers. Thank them when you enjoy your next chocolate!
Inside The Cacao Pod
Crack open the thick pod and the cacao seeds are covered in a sweet/sour fruity pulp. There are 30-50 seeds in each pod. Birds, monkeys, and people enjoy the juice around the cacao seed. It's refreshing in the tropical heat. Jams and jellies are also made with it. Alcoholic drinks, too!
This is a close up of the cacao seeds inside the pod. They have a white mucilaginous coating that tastes fruity and refreshing, like a tropical LifeSaver or Starburst candy. The seeds themselves taste like a raw bean and somewhat bitter— not at all like chocolate. The seeds must go through a process of fermentation, drying, and roasting to taste like chocolate.
The cacao seeds, still with their fruity coating, are taken out of many pods and massed in a heap, then covered. Over the course of 3-7 days, depending on cacao variety and conditions, natural yeasts eat the sugars in the white fruity coating and ferment them. The seeds are turned several times to ensure they thoroughly ferment. The temperature rises as yeasts eat the sugars and create carbon dioxide and alcohol, bacteria consume the alcohol and create acetic acid (vinegar), and the process slows to completion. The seeds turn brown at this stage. The fermentation process changes the proteins in the seed to taste like chocolate. From here, it's off to the dryers.
Drying Cacao Seeds
Once the cacao seeds are fermented for 3-7 days, they are carefully dried for an additional 3-7 days. The seeds are turned every day. This can be done in the bright sunlight or on drying beds, such as this one. Too fast, and they will retain too much acid and can make a sour chocolate. Too slow, and they may mold, which will ruin the chocolate. It's a painstaking process making fine chocolate. Thank these guys, too!
Fermented & Dried
These cacao seeds have been properly fermented and dried. They're about the size of almonds. At this point, they're often called cocoa beans, rather than cacao seeds. To make dark chocolate, they are roasted, cracked, winnowed, and ground with sugar, sometimes vanilla and lecithin. To make milk chocolate, powdered milk is added. To make white chocolate, the dark chocolate mass is pressed in a hydraulic press, separating the cocoa butter from the cocoa mass, which becomes cocoa powder. The separated cocoa butter is then combined with milk powder, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin to make white chocolate. Kakawa Cocoa Beans are all of these chocolates in one bite!
Kakawa Cocoa Beans
Imagine the smooth and subtle tastes of Old World chocolates, combined with the pure and intense crunch of New World cocoa beans. Every kind of chocolate in one bite; fresh-roasted fine-flavor cocoa beans, luscious layers of the best white, milk, and dark chocolates, and a velvety coating of exceptional cocoa powder. That's the experience of Kakawa Cocoa Beans. We work hard to make them because they're delicious. Our customers agree!
Kakawa Cocoa Beans— true chocolate for true connoisseurs.
— Customer Praise! —
"These are those chocolates I have in my pantry at home! They're great!" —Texas Governor Ann Richards
"This is not just chocolate!" —John Sharp, Chancellor, Texas A&M
"They really are quite wonderful! One exquisite bean will supply the average person's chocolate AND caffeine needs for a day.
So, I had five!" —Sandra Boynton, Author/Illustrator
“Your chocolate confection is the work of the devil. That is to say, even with MY REPUTATION for mental toughness, will power, purity of spirit, (not to mention good looks and charm) I can not resist Cocoa Puro.” —Buddy C., Raconteur
"Yours is the only chocolate I buy and eat! Love them!" —Gay G., Landscape Architect
"My father has alzheimers and his short term memory is gone… except when it comes to these cocoa beans. He always remembers to tell me to get more." —Farmers' Market Shopper
"An experience you'll remember...Lovely, Lovely Gift... Memorable, like that first time you had lobster, or Laphroaig, or truffles."
—Brett M., Attorney and Author
"I've never had such a perfect chocolate bite" —Kara D.
"All I can say is 'WOW!' Your Kakawa Cocoa Beans are incredible!" —Joel R.
"Mein Gott! What a confection you've created! Divine is the only way for me to describe it. Sinfully divine." —Erin M.
"This chocolate is the best I have ever had in my life. I cannot even compare to others." —Youichi M.
"Lovely, distinctive chocolates" —Sarah Jane E., Wine Writer
"Your chocolates were a huge hit!" —Alex
"Each bite a taste sensation!" —Madeline
"Thank you for our treats. Reluctantly, we shared." —Tom D., Restauranteur, Seattle
"If you change anything, I'm going to hunt you down and kill you." —Happy Customer
"You've changed the architecture of chocolate." —Paul
"These are criminal they are so good." —Tad
"It's sinful!" —Farmers' Market Customer
"Those are perfect!" —Augie S.
"Your chocolates rock." —Tena M.
"Good, no, make that great primal chocolate." —Michael J. W.
"I can tell it's good chocolate- it makes my face tingle." —Farmers' Market Customer
"I don't eat any other chocolate now." —Ann
"Stupid good." —G. D.
"This is religious." —Richard R.
"Sending a product like yours makes me look so good." —Dave R.
"The cocoa beans were a lovely hit!" —Annie T.
"It was fun looking forward to it all week." —Cecile M.
"Those are insanely good!" —Lori W.
"It makes your tongue happy." —Melissa Z. B.
"I'll go to sleep thinking about this." —Happy Elderly Customer
"I have goose bumps going up my spine." —Diana
"That totally hits the chocolate spot." —Christine
"That's just about to die for." —Emily I.
"That's magical." —Steven T., Lawyer
"It may be my favorite, ever." —Anonymous
"I feel like there's a party in my mouth and only chocolate was invited." —Jeff
"It's a fantastic product, beautifully presented" —Danielle S., Director of Food & Beverage, Four Seasons Hotel
— More Press Comments! —
"For lovers of serious dark chocolate... Best of 2004" —Virginia Wood, Austin Chronicle
"These beans are miniature delicacies and deserve to be savored." —Stephanie Zonis, GoodLifer.com
"Pure cocoa rapture!" —Austin Monthly
"The world needs to know about Kakawa Cocoa Beans." —Knife & Fork, Guide to Atlanta Restaurants
"For chocolate lovers the experience is, well, priceless" —Austin Monthly 100 Food Favorites
"It doesn't get any better for chocolate lovers." —Prosper Magazine
"For chocolate connoisseurs… Pure bliss for the palate" —Tribeza Magazine
"My favorites... first class" —Patricia Sharpe, Texas Monthly
"Occasionally, a gem emerges, satisfying everyone… truly the best of all worlds" —Austin Fit Magazine
"Cocoa Puro makes the healthiest chocolate ever!" —Lela Cargill, Examiner.com
"Truly a cut above anything else you have ever tried." —G. Stephan Jones, TheReluctantGourmet.com
"It’s an intense experience, with hints of nutty, woody, and fruity flavors that’ll make you want to become a chocolate sommelier." —Chowhound.com
"A unique, irresistible confection" —Ann Haigh, PittsburghLive.com
"A crunchy little burst of intense chocolate yum" —Sophia Dembling, The Dallas Morning News
"These little nibbles will please even the most demanding chocoholic on your list." —Claudia Alarcón, Austin Chronicle
"The perfect holiday chocolate" - Elizabeth Van Huffel, LocalSavour.com
"A little slice of heaven in every one." - Matt Swinney, RARE Magazine
"Unbelievably great" —Kate Thornberry, Austin Chronicle
Product & Shipping Info
Storage & Shelf Life
Our chocolates are made in small batches from the finest, freshest, and purest ingredients, without preservatives of any kind. They have a very long shelf life but we think they are best enjoyed without delay. Chocolate is best stored between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with low ~50% humidity, and out of direct sunlight. We do not recommend refrigeration or freezing, but if it is necessary for long term storage place chocolates in an airtight container. Before reopening allow the container to return to room temperature.
Each Kakawa Cocoa Bean is about 21 calories, with lower sugar and higher fiber than ordinary chocolates. Kakawa Cocoa Beans have a blend of white, milk and dark chocolates and cocoa powder, and use the whole bean, which offers more flavor and fiber.
Our chocolates are gluten free, but are not made in a certified gluten-free facility.
They contain milk, soy lecithin, and may contain traces of tree nuts or peanuts.
We do our best to assure you receive your chocolates in the best possible condition. In warm weather months, we package in insulated wrap and cold packs at no additional cost to you. We also ship USPS Priority, Mondays and Tuesdays, except postal holidays, and ship only within the continental United States. Deliveries usually take 2 to 4 days. We highly recommend shipping to an address where someone will receive the package when it is delivered. Chocolate left outside your home or business may be damaged by weather or the elements. We cannot be responsible chocolates left outside, for incorrect or undeliverable recipients or addresses, for packages stolen or damaged after they are delivered to the address specified by the customer, or if a package is delayed by the shipping company and does not arrive by a designated date. We suggest shipping to PO Boxes only within a cool dry climate-controlled building that will protect the chocolates and prevent them from melting.
We respect and protect your privacy. Your address information will only be used to fulfill your orders and provide exemplary customer service. Your e-mail address or any other customer information will remain private and not be shared with third parties. We may contact you from time to time regarding our products and services, and you may opt out of such contact at any time. We sincerely appreciate your patronage. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to improve our service and products.