This is a social enterprise that does 3 things well. It’s kind of like a much smaller and gentler version of Dandelion Chocolate of San Francisco.
1) They make great chocolate! They import raw Cacao beans from Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Peru. They winnow the cacao beans and remove the outer shell around the nib by hand. Because they produce the chocolate there, the product is fresh and because it is fresh, the taste is so much more aromatic. It is better than the best swiss chocolate because it has not been a bar or wrapping for a long time. This is artisan chocolate at its best.
2) The roast great coffee beans procured the same way, direct trade and via small farms with suppliers that subscribe to giving back.
3) They provide stable work for women at the Ranier Hotel, a supportive housing project run by the Portland Housing Society. The organization itself has received some criticisms of late regarding corporate expenditures, but at the ground level, this is a success. The day I was there, the service and smile I would commend was from the lady in the back who was winnowing the cacao beans. She told me from back there what she was doing. She engaged with the customer. I was impressed and bought every chocolate that they made because of that lady. If the rest of management were so friendly, I would score the service near perfect.
They are right next to Nelson the Seagull in Gastown. A must visit if you are downtown.