9th & Larkin Bean-to-Bar Chocolate
Single-Origin Luxury Chocolate
Engineer & Analyst, Brian & Lan, began their chocolate-making endeavor in their small kitchen in San Francisco. In one their first few attempts, the two can vividly recall beans, husks and nibs flying in around the kitchen, smoke detectors chiming, & chocolate stains everywhere! Despite going through a number of shirts and kitchen towels, the two succeeded. Their first chocolate bar, and it tasted great! The two thoroughly enjoyed the entire process, almost in a zen mentality the entire time. They continued to pursue the craft, and now have incredible chocolates & narratives to display & indulge upon.
From very high quality beans, the two sort, roast, crack, winnow, grind & refine. Each bean is tested along the way: roasted differently, grinded for different amount of times, and all yield different results on your palate. Some are incredible, some need some re-working. Of all these tests, Brian & Lan select only those they love. Each blend has a story on its on, and once the recipe is refined, the bars are handcrafted in small batches, hand-wraped, and beautifully shared with you.
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Ben Tre Vietnam 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
The Birthpace of Vietnamese Cacao
Ben Tre Province is the birthplace of cacao in Vietnam. It is a coastal province on the Mekong Delta, with a vast network of rivers, rice paddies, and swamplands. It has hundreds of miles of canals that reach far into the farmland. The extremely fertile soil gives this origin a unique flavor profile, a solid chocolate background, with hints of nuts, bright fruits and spice. The 2020 harvest is a bit more fruit forward compared to previous harvest, but overall, it’s rich with notes of bright fruits on a solid chocolate background.
Bejofo Estate Madagascar 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
Using Some of the Most Sought-Our Beans in the World
9th & Larkin is using cacao from Bertil Akesson’s plantation in the Sambirano Valley, Madagascar: Bejofo Estate. These are some of the most sought-out cocoa beans in the world, and they have been perfected in a 70% blend. The harvest year of these beans was 2020, yielding tasting notes of ripe red fruit & citrus on a bright chocolate background.
Ucayali Peru 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
From the Amazonian Rainforest of Eastern Peru
Ucayali River Cacao is a central fermentary along the Ucayali River outside of the Peruvian city of Pucallpa. They work with around 400 smallholder farmers, buy wet beans at a premium price, and do the post harvest (fermentation and drying) at their central facility. Their goal is to produce the high quality fine flavor cacao while helping the farmers in the area to earn legitimate income from the cacao production. Tasting note: A nice symphony of chocolate and fruity notes, with hints of walnuts and cedar.
Tien Giang Vietnam 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
A Province in the Mekong Delta Region of Southern Vietnam
Located in Mekong Delta region, Tien Giang is a province in southern part of Vietnam. This is where the world’s 12th longest river, Mekong, runs through and gives soil red color and rich nutrition. Being situated near the equator, with average temperature of 81°F (27°C), good rainfall, and highly fertile soil, Tien Giang is an ideal place for growing cacao. Cacao trees have been introduced to Vietnam in the 19th century but not until recently, thanks to the craft chocolate evolution, has cacao grown in Vietnam got the attention it deserves. After harvesting, pods are opened with machete, fermentation is done in wooden boxes and beans are then dried above the ground on bamboo trellis. Farmers are paid well beyond Fair Trade cocoa prices and they also receive financial assistance, feedback and technical support throughout the harvest season. This blend has tasting notes of brown sugar, nuts & cinnamon, with hints of figs and persimmon on a solid chocolate background.
Wampusirpi Honduras 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Working with Cacao Direct
9th & Larkin sources their Wampusirpi beans from Cacao Direct. The majority of their cacao is from La Mosquitia region, where Wampusirpi is located, and it’s so remote that they have to use canoes to transport the beans. Cacao Direct buys beans directly from farmers of all sizes from small to large, creates fair opportunity for farmers of various production capacities; the program also pays them above market rate and provides them with extensive training and tools to increase their crop productivity and earnings. This blend portrays nutty notes, along with caramel, dried fruits & coffee.
Kokoa Kamili Tanzania 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Working with Kokoa Kamili Co-op
Kokoa Kamili Co-op works with nearly 3,000 smallholder farmers in Kilombero, Mogorogo region of Tanzania. Most of the farms are small, just between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium–well above the market rate–to farmers for their ‘wet’ cocoa, and conducts its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cocoa beans while simultaneously giving farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation. After fermentation and drying, their beans are hand-sorted before packed into jute sacks. Kokoa Kamili also distributes cocoa seedlings to farmers in the community. and they have aided in the planting of over 140,000 trees in the past three years. This blend is quite fruity! You will pick up notes of cherries, berries, raisins, plums, & a slight lemon tang on a nice bright chocolate background.
Matasawalevu Fiji 74% Dark Chocolate Bar
Sourcing from Cacao Fiji
9th & Larkin sources their Fijian beans from Cacao Fiji. Founded in 2014 by Arif Khan, Matasawalevu cocoa is part of a cocoa industry revitalization project on Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. Arif started Cacao Fiji after tasting a chocolate bar sourced from Fiji beans and learnt about farmers’ struggling in finding markets for their cocoa. As a native Fijian, he decided to return to his home country and made it his mission to revive Fiji’s cacao industry. Through Cacao Fiji, Arif runs the Matasawalevu Cocoa Project at the Matasawalevu Cocoa Farm located on 100 acres in the hills of Dreketi, Macuata in Northern Fiji. The Matasawalevu Cocoa Farm closely follows traditional post-harvest processing techniques and has a reputation for producing high quality cocoa. This blend portrays notes of fudge, caramel & molasses on a nice solid chocolate background.
Öko-Caribe Dominican Republic 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Working with Öko-Caribe Co-op
Similar to Kokoa Kamili Co-op in Tanzania, in Dominican Republic, Öko-Caribe Co-op also purchases wet beans from smallholder farmers, then ferment and dry them at their centralized processing location in the Duarte Province. Öko-Caribe currently works with 165 farmers who all receive both training & funding. All pods are pre-selected prior to opening as part of Öko-Caribe’s quality protocol; they ferment the beans in cascading 4 tier wooden boxes and use solar drying beds to dry the beans. This blend emits notes of mango, grape, with a hint of honey and walnut skin on a smooth chocolate background.
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