Have you ever wondered what it's like behind the scenes at a chocolate company? Or how we come up with great ideas for new chocolate treats in the first place?
It turns out that there are many questions which come to mind when someone enjoys a Cocoba chocolate bar or hot chocolate! In fact, we recently received a wonderful letter from 5-year-old Jacob which was full of questions about what it's like behind the doors of our chocolate kitchen here at Cocoba.
As a fellow chocoholic, Jacob was keen to speak to Cocoba's founder, Darren, to learn more about the processes of bringing his favourite chocolate treats to life. As we love receiving fan mail and were incredibly impressed with the questions Jacob asked us, we thought we'd share some of the fantastic questions from Jacob’s letter with you and the answers Darren gave.
Q: Does Darren come up with all of the ideas now for the Cocoba Chocolate products? Or does everyone think of them?
A: Hi Jacob, thank you for writing to us with your questions. It’s great to know that you love Cocoba and want to learn more about us!
When it comes to new products, I do think of a lot of them myself, and I then chat to the team to see if they like the sound of my ideas too. If everyone is in favour of the idea, we'll then make it in our chocolate kitchen and give it a try to see how it tastes. If we don't like it, we don't make it! And if we do, we look for ways to make it as delicious as possible until we're happy to launch it as a new product.
I also go to trade fairs quite regularly where I find inspiration for new ideas. Trade fairs are events where lots of companies from the Food and Beverage industry come together to showcase their new products to potential customers. We too share any new products that we'll be adding to our range with other businesses and show customers how to use our hot chocolate products, such as our hot chocolate bombes.
Sometimes though, we even discover new products when we are trying to make something and it doesn’t quite go to plan! That’s how we made the Toffee Crunch Milk Chocolate Bar.
Q: Where do you keep everything like all of the ingredients?
A: All our ingredients are stored in the warehouse, which is only one part of our workspace here at Cocoba. We keep all our ingredients in a clean, air-conditioned environment where all items are organised by product type. This ensures we can find exactly what we need when we need it!
For example, if we wanted to produce 100 of our Cookies & Cream Milk Chocolate Bar (one of your favourites!), we’d know exactly where to look for all our chocolate bar toppings so that we can set everything up, ready for production.
Q: Does everyone who works there have a favourite thing from there? I think the best things are the Christmas things. I bet they sell a lot, don't they?
A: Absolutely, everyone in the team has a favourite treat! My personal favourite is the Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate Bombes with Mini Marshmallows, and we’ve got several members of the team who love the Cocoa Dusted Salted Toffee Truffles too (which we also give to every customer at our Chocolate Café in Bluewater).
That’s great to hear that you love our Christmas products as well. Christmas is certainly our busiest time of year - we have a lot of customers who come back to us every year to give Hot Chocolate Bombes as gifts to their friends and family. With this in mind, we make thousands of bombes in the run up to Christmas so that we don’t run out!
I would say that the best thing about working at Cocoba is the fact that no two days are the same. Cocoba has come a long way since it was first created back in 2013 when we started with selling hot chocolates from our pop-up stand in Brent Cross Shopping Centre. Having seen how much has changed for Cocoba in this time, I’m excited to see where we’re going next.
Running the shop is definitely hard work and long hours. We have to make sure that the shop area of the café is stocked with a range of Cocoba products, and that the café has all the savoury and sweet treats ready and prepared fresh every day for our customers. Everything has to be really clean at all times so that we can maintain our five-star rating for food hygiene, and we have to make sure that everyone is getting what they ordered, and quickly too!
Q: I would really like to know what is your most popular product that sells?
A: Our Hot Chocolate Bombes are our best-selling product, being a popular choice for customers throughout the year. However, they’re especially a bestseller at Christmas time, with thousands of bombes being made by hand in our chocolate kitchen in Kent every single year.
However, our Chocolate Bags and Truffles have also become increasingly popular over the years too. Our customers often buy truffles as gifts during the festive period and end up trying some for themselves, much like our hot chocolate bombes. However, we have received lots of positive feedback on our Milk Chocolate Honeycomb Bag and Salted Caramel Buttons too - they've certainly become a customer favourite as well which is great to see!
I hope that's given you a great picture of what it's like behind the scenes here at Cocoba, but please feel free to write again should you have any other questions. We'd love to hear from you again soon!
If you or someone you know would love to learn more about Cocoba and what we get up to in our chocolate kitchen, please feel free to write to us or leave a comment below with any questions you might have. We'd love to hear your questions and learn what interests you most about Cocoba Chocolate!