The Decal “Wine, Coffee, and Innovations” led us in to visit a small chocolate factory in Berkeley. TCHO Chocolates have been around for seven years now, starting their business in San Francisco. Looking for a new venue, they found a new home in Berkeley.
TCHO Chocolates stands for exquisite chocolates. With a combination of Fair Trade and passionate Know-How from Brad Kintzer, they built up something very special. The high quality of the final product begins with the high quality of the bean. Since many cacao farmers have never seen chocolate in their lives, it is important to educate them and equip them with the right tools. For this, Kintzer and his team travel to Africa to educate cacao plantations about what it is they harvest.
We were not simply visiting TCHO’s factory. In fact, the factory tour did not even happen as planned, because we all worked with great enthusiasm and did not want to interrupt our flow of ideas. It is possible to be creative on a Saturday morning!
The task: be part of the first ever “Chocolate Hackathon.” The idea was to design an innovative product for TCHO. In small teams of four to five people, we had two and a half hours to come up with an idea and present it to a jury in a pitch.
Our group worked on the idea that one can travel the world by eating TCHO Chocolates. One bite of out of our little suitcase should transport the customer right to where this chocolate is from. The origin of the chocolate and a special flavor representing the region are showcased in each of our flavors. With this idea, we made it to second place!
Mind you, the first place team came up with the idea to combine tea and chocolate, which has both a local appeal and can be used all year round. Chapeau, and congratulations again! Of course this was not just fun and games but a serious jury of 16 experts from various backgrounds served as mentors during the working process and finally as a jury judging our pitches. Overall, it was an amazing experience. If you do not believe that working early on a Saturday morning can be fun, you should try one of these events for yourself.
*This blogpost was written by Julia Ort. All photos are courtesy of Julia Ort*