Tree to bar is the term used to define the process of growing cocoa and making chocolate at the same location. It’s equivalent to ‘paddock to plate’. Charley’s Mount Edna chocolate is tree to bar.
Single origin indicates that the beans used to make the chocolate are grown in one specific area, estate, or farm. Single origin chocolate has a distinctive taste showcasing the unique flavour notes peculiar to that region or estate. Many factors–from the quality of the soil in that specific area to the weather conditions of that particular season–can influence the chocolate flavor profile created by the batch of beans used to make the chocolate. Single origin results in chocolate that’s richer, more natural and undeniably ‘special’, each origin with its own ‘flavour notes’.
At Charley’s Chocolate, all our chocolate is single origin bean to bar or the even rarer tree to bar. Our single origins are Shannonvale northwest of Port Douglas, King Ranch from the Tully River Valley and Mount Edna from Mission Beach, Queensland–where Charley’s Chocolate calls home. We also use single origin cocoa beans sourced from our Pacific Island neighbors, namely Solomon Island, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
In many ways, this makes chocolate similar to wine. In the same way that fine wine relies on the quality of the grapes that it’s made from, so does fine chocolate rely on the quality of its cocoa beans. Simply put, the better the beans used, the better the resulting chocolate.
In comparison, bulk beans used by most commercial chocolate manufacturers have few discernible flavor notes at all. Individuality is deliberately blended out in order to produce a standard, uniform taste for every bar they produce. Although mass produced commercial chocolate may indeed have a more uniform taste, the way it’s usually made takes away most of the beans’ natural flavors.
So, if you want chocolate that provides superior flavor and is closer to the way it was meant to be made, then single origin chocolate like Charley’s is the way to go.