Chocolate. COFFEE. Simple, essential, daily pleasures.
In our small studio kitchen located in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville, VA we make both bean-to-bar dark chocolate and house-roasted cold brew coffee.
Why craft chocolate?
At Frolic, we make really good real chocolate. Intentionally processed, pure, and fun to eat. We respect the chocolate by taking our sweet time with the process. Each micro-batch takes 7-14 days to make. Why do we care so much? Chocolate is the perfect marriage of pleasurable and healthful. And it's also a highly mismanaged commodity. We aim to bring the best out in our precious, highly curated lots of cacao beans because we want people to know what real chocolate tastes like, in all of its natural glory. For too long cacao has been dutch processed and marginalized as hyper-sweet sugary treats. We think that disrespects cacao's potential and history. We're here to help change how people view and eat chocolate, one bar at a time.
Why craft cold brew coffee?
First of all: life's too short to drink bad coffee. Coffee for us is ritual, pleasure and sustenance. There's no better way to start the day than with a cup of damn fine coffee. So, being the food and research nerds that we are, we jumped head first into the rabbit hole that is coffee -- roasting, brewing, the works. We're big fans of black coffee but we couldn't find a cold brew on the market that we could drink without milk. So we made one ourselves! It took us over a year to perfect our blend. We (and our fans) think it's the best cold brew you can get. Life is good in the rabbit hole.
We craft our chocolate from bean to bar over a period of 7-14 days.
We start with carefully sorting each lot of raw cacao.
We remove detritus and malformed cacao.
Then we gently roast our cacao in our fluid-bed air roaster for a long, low temperature roast to best "release" the nuanced flavors. Each lot of cacao is unique and requires a keen touch when roasting to release the best flavor.
After that, we crack the beans and “winnow” to remove the papery husks around the beans, isolating the cacao “nibs."
Then we add our nibs to our stone grinding melangeur, where the cacao nibs break down into a liquid called chocolate liquor.
We grind our chocolate for 12-24 hours. Then in goes the sugar for another round of grinding, up to 12 hours more.
After that we “conche” the bars — a process of mixing the chocolate liquor constantly to release unwanted volatile acids and tannins.
Then we set our chocolate aside for one to two weeks (or more) to allow the flavors to express.
We then temper the chocolate, pour it into moulds, and allow it to set.
Then we package everything by hand!
Our coffee is roasted in small batches with the "fluid-bed" air roaster and brewed in cold water for 20-22 hours.
The beans are lofted on a bed of air as the heat passes over them. This results in a pure, even roast, which allows us to focus on different origins.
After each batch-roast the whole bean coffee either gets packaged up immediately or set aside to be turned into cold brew.
We grind the coffee.
Then we mix our coffee grounds with filtered water in steel drums and let it steep overnight.
We double (sometimes triple) filter our coffee concentrate. Then we add more water to the concentrate to get the perfect, drinkable ratio.
The result: a cold brew coffee that's creamy and smooth with notes of chocolate, cinnamon, and almond.