What is Bean to Bar chocolate?

What is bean to bar chocolate?

Bean to bar chocolate is a term used by small scale chocolate manufacturers, such as Heist, to differentiate themselves from chocolatiers and large scale industrial manufacturers. If you've ever visited any chocolate shop that sells boxes of handmade confectionary, the chocolatier hasn't usually made the chocolate themselves. It's probably come from one of the larger makers. This isn't in anyway a slight against chocolatiers. A lot of work, training and artistry goes into what they do,
It's just different. Bean to bar makers on the hand, do make the chocolate. They source their own cocoa beans or cacao and create their chocolate from scratch. This includes sorting and roasting the beans, crushing them into nibs, seperating the nibs from the shell in a process known as winnowing, refining the nibs with sugar and sometimes milk to create declious chocolate that's flavour profile depends on the roast profile, fermentation, genetics of the bean and the particular continent/country/region/farm the beans have come from. That's the fun of bean to bar chocolate, you never know what you're going to get.

This is what we do at Heist and we'll go into the process at bit more below.


After delivery and just before roasting each batch of cocoa beans is hand sorted to remove any nasties, such as stones or flat beans.


As with coffee, roasting gives the maker control over flavour and drives away any unwanted notes. It also helps to separate the bean from its outer shell or husk.

Cracking and Winnowing

Once the beans have cooled, they’re then cracked into smaller pieces using an electric mill. The nibs are then winnowed, which is a process where the nibs are sorted from the husk using a vacuum winnower ~ which we built ourselves ~ and leave us with beautiful, clean nibs. The leftover husks can be used to make cocoa tea or used in beer making to impart a chocolatey flavour.


Once the nibs are ready, they’re added to a stone refiner or melangeur with any other ingredients such as sugar and milk. The grinder spins its granite wheels on a granite base for up to three days until all of the ingredients have become delicious, smooth, liquid chocolate.

Temper and Mould

Tempering is a process where the chocolate is heated and cooled to very specific temperatures. This process causes the cocoa butter in the chocolate to form into a crystalline structure that gives the nice shine and snap that we’re used to. We use tempering machines for this as They speed up the process and deposit the chocolate into our custom chocolate moulds. The bars are then placed in the fridge to cool for around 10 minutes. The finished chocolate bars are then removed from the moulds.

Wrap & Sew

Hand wrapped in foil and placed into envelopes that feature Heist's best friend, Tompkins. The bars are then sewn safely inside, using our 1950's Singer sewing machines, ready to be torn open and enjoyed by you!