Gallery: First Look: Making Beans To Bar Chocolate at Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco

Hand Sourced Beans
Hand Sourced Beans

Dandelion Chocolate makers travel across the world to source their beans straight from the cocoa farms. Recent trips include the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The beans are brought back to the shop to be processed.

Cocoa Beans
Cocoa Beans
Step One: Sorting
Step One: Sorting

Because cocoa beans are sold by weight, rocks will occasionally find their way into the bags (though because DC works closely with their farmers to provide fair trade practices, this problem is less common than for industrial chocolate makers.) They must also sift out any other debris or cracked beans.

Roaster
Roaster

The beans are put in a machine that's essentially a modified coffee bean roaster made to roast the cocoa at a low temperature and speed. It takes 1/2 hour to roast each batch.

Nibs
Nibs

Traditionally, beans were thrown in the air to separate the shell from the nib. Dandelion Chocolate uses a special machine that pumps air through the beans until just the nibs (pictured) remain.

Stone Melanger
Stone Melanger

The nibs are 100% chocolate, but they must be ground down. The stone rollers in this machine crush the beans for three days with sugar—and only sugar. Unlike most other chocolate companies, Dandelion doesn't add vanillin, chocolate liqueur, or any other ingredients.

Emptying The Melanger
Emptying The Melanger
Molds
Molds

The chocolate needs to be stabilized before it can become bars. This is done in a process called tempering in which the molecules are agitated and cooled. Once stabilized, the chocolate is poured into molds.

Foiled Again
Foiled Again

Every bar is then hand wrapped in gold foil.

Wrapping Machine
Wrapping Machine

The wrapping paper for the bars is specially silk screened by hand in India. This machine is made to handle the variances in the paper's texture as it wraps the bars.

Wrapped Bars
Wrapped Bars

Finally, each bar is labeled with the provenience of the chocolate.

From Beans To Brownies
From Beans To Brownies

The cafe offers a selection of baked goods made by pasty chef Phil Ogiela (all made from the house chocolate of course.) This is a chocolate fudge brownie ($3.50).

Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate

The cafe serves a variety of hot chocolates. The Mission (pictured) is a Mexican style hot chocolate prepared with the traditional heavy topping of foam.

Euro Hot Chocolate
Euro Hot Chocolate

This European style hot chocolate is thick in texture and balanced between sweet and bitter. It comes with homemade marshmallows and a madeleine.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart
Salted Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart

This petite tart utilizes the shop's chocolate to make the rich ganache center.

Summer Sipper
Summer Sipper

For warm days, there is an iced hot chocolate available.

Open Factory
Open Factory

The cafe is part of the factory—so you can watch the bean to bar process as enjoy your treat.