In a nod to the tech backgrounds of its founding fathers, this Embarcadero chocolate company opened a tiny kiosk of a shop where visitors can pick up products in beta testing and a cup of Blue Bottle.
While machines rebuilt using everything from turkey roasters to decades' old European equipment signal this company's D.I.Y. gumption as they churn away in the adjacent factory, the debut retail space offers a land-based opportunity to sample this much-talked-about chocolate. Why the fuss? Instead of referencing percentage cacao or adding flavoring, this chocolatier works directly with farmers to assess and control bean taste before chocolate-making even starts. Another attention-getter? An online beta-testing process to perfect its chocolates through tester feedback. And oh yeah, it was founded by a space shuttle technologist and a chocolate industry veteran and boasts a Wired magazine co-founder as its CEO. In the shop, which resembles the hastily-assembled office of a Silicon Valley newcomer, drip Blue Bottle coffee pairs with brown-wrappered bars from beta batches, as well as slickly-packaged final formulations. But don't expect the makeshift look to last. An expanded cafe, tasting room and factory tours are in the works.