Since production at our Valencia location shut down in 2020, we have missed the hum of melangers, our banter with chocolate makers, and of course, the irresistible scent of chocolate being made. After thinking long and hard about how to reintroduce production at Valencia, we have exciting plans in the works. Nate and Trevor are heading up this massive project, so we took time to chat with them to share our big plans.
First off, when will Valencia production relaunch?
Trevor: We’re shooting for as soon as this summer.
Nate: There are a lot of moving parts: machines being ordered, beans coming in, staffing, etcetera.
What will be the difference between 16th and Valencia production?
Nate: Valencia will be a much smaller production line than 16th Street. We’ll be making smaller batches, with a much smaller team. We’ll be hand-sorting beans again, as well as unmolding and foiling bars by hand. New equipment has been ordered, such as a new tempering machine and molding line.
Trevor: Valencia will continue to be customer-focused. We’re excited to relaunch production, similar to the way Valencia always was, but this time we’re focused on small batches of chocolate.
Talk more about the small batches of chocolate, and the bean origins you have planned.
Nate: Mililani, Hawaii will be our first Valencia run. We received such a small quantity of beans that we can’t make this origin at 16th Street, so it’s very exciting finally to be able to make chocolate with them. The quality of the beans is incredible.
Trevor: Agree, we love these beans, and it’s one of the few American-grown cacao farms / producers. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows cacao, and has such amazing terroir, as well as the people who take care of the farm. We’ve tasted the 70% Mililani bar from Manoa and the chocolate is excellent.
What’s planned after the Hawaiian beans?
Trevor: We will now have the opportunity to make smaller runs of specialty beans, in addition to making chocolate origins that we used to make at Valencia, and haven’t made in a long time, such as Cahabón, Guatemala and Wampu, Honduras.
Nate: I like to think of it as “current origins gone wild” — without divulging too much, some of our current farmer-partners are experimenting with fermentation (including spices and fruits) on their farms. We plan to make small batches from these beans.
Trevor: We can’t wait to share more with you as we get closer to opening later this year.