Photo Credit: Andrea Marvan

About

A creamy melt in your mouth feel with flavour explosions on your tongue is something to experience with our fine flavour cacao chocolate.

Living Lotus Chocolate creates pure, kind, and beautiful bean to bar chocolate by sourcing clean, ethical ingredients for chocolate lovers seeking joy through the decadence of chocolate. We use high-quality organic ingredients to make our refined sugar free and gluten-free bean to bar chocolate.

We wanted to create a way to let the cacao bean shine in all its glory. Why not make our bars beautiful?

Our Founder Audrey Wong making bean to bar chocolate in the chocolate studio

Bean to Bar Chocolate

We handcraft our bean to bar chocolate in small batches using beans that are grown and harvested by farmers who are paid a fair wage. After being harvested, the beans go through post-harvest practices such as fermenting and drying.

We prefer unroasted or a very light roasted coconut-sugar sweetened chocolate because of the complexities of the flavour – not to mention the health benefits! Cacao beans, cacao butter and coconut sugar- that’s it!

Here’s our process so you can better understand what bean to bar chocolate is. It takes about 5 days to make a bar from start to finish.

Crack

Once we’ve received our beans, we crack them to make cacao nibs.

Winnow

Using air, we separate the nibs from the shells.

Grind and Conch

Then we process the nibs into liquor and place it into the melanger. It grinds for many, many hours depending on the recipe.

Temper

In order to have shelf-stable chocolate, we need to temper it. This is done by changing the molecular structure of the chocolate. The result is chocolate that has a good snap and shiny finish that won’t melt on you.

Mould and Package

Then we cast them into moulds and package them up for you.

Ingredients

Our fresh ingredients are vegan, gluten free and contain no refined sugar. They are unheated or heated at very low temperatures in order to increase the bioavailability of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your body.

We use organic ingredients so you can get the most out of your treats.

Our nuts and seeds are sprouted for better digestion and optimal health.

Coconut sugar is a healthier sweetener for you so you won’t find any white refined sugar, GMOs, herbicides or pesticides here (Those are extras that your body won’t thank you for).

There is no harm done in processing or obtaining our ingredients. (Did you know that some coconut companies use monkeys to pick their coconuts?) That also includes humans. We source our cacao beans from fairly traded sources and as we grow, we plan on going farmer direct.

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Chocolate FAQ

Chocolate comes from a tree named Theobroma cacao. The Greek translation of Theobroma is the food of gods. There are four different varieties of cacao Criollo, Forestero, Trinitario, and Nacional. Each one tastes very different from the other.

In order for the cacao tree to thrive, it needs high humidity, thrives in areas that are 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator requiring about 40 to 100 inches of rain per year. The cacao tree will not bear fruit in the first year but will bear fruit in the second and third years bearing 25 to 50 pods. It will keep on bearing fruit for about 25 to 30 years.

Cacao is harvested two times a year, but because the cacao ripens at different times, it takes months to do a harvest. Every two to four weeks the cacao will be cut down from the tree. It takes six months for the cacao pod to develop and can weigh up to 2.5 two pounds. Each cacao pod has about 40 to 84 cacao seeds. These seeds are what chocolate is made out of.

This is a complex question to answer because it is very nuanced. The answer is: it depends on which chocolate you are buying.
Let me explain.

If you’re buying commercial chocolate most commercial chocolate is not ethical. I won’t go into listing any companies but we’re talking about the big chocolate ones. These companies use commodity trade – this is the conventional trading model for commercial chocolate production. This means there are at LEAST seven middle man between the cacao farmer and the chocolate maker and every middle man wants their cut. This leads to fewer payments to the farmer. With so many middlemen it’s hard to be able to trace the cacao and know and understand the conditions the farmers are working in. This type of chocolate stands for the identity of their brand but little else. Post harvesting practices are shortened, beans are grown for quantity, not quality or flavour. Some of these products have very little actual cacao in them.

So what’s the solution? Direct trade. This is cacao that is traded from the farmer to a co-op to the chocolate maker or in some cases farmer to chocolate maker.

But not all commodity trade is bad. Sometimes it can go from the cacao farmer to a co-op to the chocolate maker. This is a much shorter supply chain and if the chocolate maker does their research properly, this can be as ethical as direct trade.

When purchasing ethical chocolate you need to ask questions. Read the ingredient list – is cacao the first ingredient? The higher the cacao content the better for the farmer. Ask where a chocolate maker gets their beans. Dig a little bit and you’ll be able to find some sustainably sourced chocolate. If a chocolate company doesn’t mention anything about their sources – ask them! Some of the big guys have ethical programs, yet do not source their raw materials (cacao beans) ethically.

Just this year 2 of the world’s biggest cacao producers have upped their traceability game. Better late than never. Some of them have mandates of being 100% sustainable in 5 years. It’s true that most mandates for sustainability in chocolate have not been met, but if we can collectively inch closer to ethical chocolate through knowledge and research, the quicker we will get there. Generally speaking, ethically sourced chocolate is part of the ethos of bean to bar chocolate but it doesn’t hurt to ask and go down that chocolate rabbit hole.

Short answer: Yes!
Cacao has high antioxidant and anti-inflammation effects due to the high polyphenol content. Any heat will degrade the polyphenols. The degree of degradation could vary from 44-70% depending on seasonal conditions. All cacao is fermented. Depending on the degree of fermentation, polyphenol degradation can very from 20% to 80%.
The second exposure to heat is during the drying of cacao beans. 44% to 70% depending on the seasonal conditions. The third exposure to heat is roasting which eliminates all existing polyphenols. By eliminating the roasting step, the antioxidants are preserved.

Cacao contains these health benefits:

  • Magnesium

    Cacao is the highest source of magnesium in food form. Magnesium is good for immune system, muscle function, nerve function, regulates blood pressure, building strong bones, prevention of cardiovascular disease and increases alkalinity in the body.

  • Anandamide

    A neurotransmitter derived from a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. This binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and elsewhere throughout the body. Our bodies also produce this and is found in brain, central nervous system, heart, liver, spleen, pancreas, skin, white blood cells, reproductive organs, and in the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. Anandamide plays a role in memory, appetite, sleep, and pain relief.

  • Phenylethylamine (PEA)

    An adrenal related chemical that we produce when we are excited. It is often referred to as the love molecule – we produce more of it when we are happy, in love or turned on. It is an appetite suppressant, increases focus and alertness. It is heat sensitive- so it’s only found in unheated raw cacao

  • Antioxidants

    Neutralize free radicals by donating one electron to the free radical. The antioxidant does not become a free radical because it is stable on it’s own. In cacao, there are more antioxidants then red wine, blueberries, goji berries and acai berries combined. They help you look younger and fight off disease. Flavanols (antioxidant compound) helps produce nitric oxide which helps improve blood flow by making the blood vessels relax. 

It’s important to note, it also depends on what is mixed in with your chocolate. If you add fillers, gums and refined sugar to your cacao that will greatly reduce the amount of cacao in your chocolate bar resulting in less health benefits.

Bean to bar chocolate – Store these in a cool dry place. Cacao butter will take on other flavours so if you’re keeping it for a long time, keep them in an airtight container.

Chocolate ganache – The chocolate ganache is shelf stable, but because it contains coconut oil which melts at 24° we recommend storing them in the fridge.

We hope you understand the delicate nature of chocolate and its temperamental relationship with heat. These procedures are in place so that you receive a premium product.

Summer Shipping

Chocolate melts! It especially melts when the weather is above 29°C. For this reason, we will ship your orders on Monday and Tuesdays shipped via 2-day shipping. If the weather is above 20°C we will delay shipping until the weather cools down. When ordering, make sure you are aware of the temperature at the location of delivery. In order to make sure your chocolate arrives safely, please ship to an address where someone is present to accept it. If someone isn’t present and the chocolate is left out to melt, we aren’t able to refund your order.

Packing materials

We do our best to make sure our packaging is sustainable. Any standard plastic bubble wrap or air pockets you may find in your packages are always from recycled sources and never new.

Processing Time

Please allow 3-4 business days (not including weekends or holidays), for us to process your order. All of our products are made in small batches to allow for freshness of the product. 

Shipping Time

After your order has been processed, we will ship it using the method chosen by the customer.

*Possible Carrier Shipping Delays: During the holiday season or COVID-19 things can get really busy for shipping carriers. Therefore, you may experience delays that are not at the fault of Living Lotus Chocolate.

International Shipping – Includes USA

Shipping rates may vary depending on order and location. We are not able to provide rush shipping to the USA. When ordering, make sure you are aware of the temperature at the location of delivery.

We are not able to provide rush international shipping estimates online. Please email us International Order inquiry with your order and we can put together a shipping estimate for you.

All pick-ups are by appointment. We are located at 780 E Cordova St, Vancouver. When your order is ready, we’ll email you to schedule a pick up time. When you arrive there is a parking lot on the east side of the building (off of Hawks) and the entrance is on Cordova Street.

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