So how did it all start?
Lot’s of people have asked how Charley’s Chocolate Factory came about, so here is a snapshot history.
More than anything it is a story about doing things a little bit differently and doing it a bit better.
The early years.
The story starts in 2012 when Lynn Jahnke & Chris Jahnke founded Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd, the company behind the Charley’s Chocolate Factory brand. Located just outside of Mission Beach in World Heritage Wet Tropics region of Far North Queensland Australia.
Starting out, little did we dream that in 5 short years we would be recognised as a world class chocolate maker and judged to be one of the 18 finest cocoa producers is the world. It’s been a wild ride!
Prior to all this we owned a Melbourne based national handbag direct retail business. We would take a couple of weeks break each year in FNQ to escape Melbourne’s cold and fell in love with the place.
Initially we bought a 400 acre property at Mt Edna near Mission Beach, stocked it with beef cattle and continued to run the Melbourne business remotely. After 10 years of travelling backwards and forwards we were ready to start a business in the Far North. A segment on ABC Landline talked about growing cocoa in Australia’s Tropics. Knowing that chocolate is quite popular this seemed like a good fit. With no knowledge of growing cocoa and even less about chocolate making we decided that this was for us!!!!
Chocolate is the world’s favorite food, so cocoa and chocolate combined with tourism, of which we also knew nothing all made good sense. We combined this with an online business, which we did have vast experience with. We planted our first cocoa seeds in 2012 and sold our Melbourne business in 2013.
A growing group of investors have since joined us, providing additional capital in order to grow our production so that all our customers can be served.
The first cocoa pods were harvested less than two years from seed in August 2014 and these made just 50 chocolate bars under our Charley’s Chocolate Factory brand. We were on our way!!!! Our chocolate is a work of love, all 70% cocoa and meticulously made from either the dried cocoa bean to chocolate bar or from the cocoa tree to the chocolate bar. We are confident that it will be some of the finest chocolate that you’ll ever taste.
Charley’s Chocolate has been recognized with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and the overall trophy for Best Chocolate at the Australian Food Awards in 2016 and 2017.
In October 2017 we achieved elite global status when the Salon du Chocolat in Paris judged Mount Edna cocoa as one of the world’s 18 finest. The very best cocoa from 40 countries were submitted to this bi annual completion so this award puts Australian Chocolate and Australian grown cocoa on the world chocolate map.
The road ahead.
Charley's is now a well recognised, well established brand within the fast growing premium, single origin, bean to bar chocolate market. More importantly we are a leader in the much rarer cocoa tree to chocolate bar area.
In late 2019 we successfully completed a crowd funding capital raise, adding an additional 150 shareholders both large and small. The capital raised is being used to substantially increase tree plantings as well as processing and manufacturing capacity.
To read more about our founders and board members click here.
To find out all the good stuff about our chocolate Click here.
All of our premium chocolate can be ordered on line our retail shop. Click here to start shopping.
If you are in FNQ we’d love to share our story with you on one of our Chocolate Tours. Click here for full details.
Have any questions or enquiries? Feel free to call us on 07 4068 5011. You can also contact us through our online form here on our website. Click here.