Introducing London’s First Craft Chocolate Maker Lucocoa

By Cocoa Runners  ·  25th January 2016  ·  New Makers, Site News

Brand new British maker Lucocoa have been crafting chocolate from the bean for just over a year now. Based in London, they are the first maker (that we know of) to have been making craft chocolate from the bean in London.

Lucocoa’s Ama and Andy launched at the Islington Chocolate Festival in March 2015, having been making chocolate for just a few months. When we met them there, we were immediately struck by their passion and enthusiasm. We were also incredibly excited to meet a London based chocolate maker!

Seeing how far Lucocoa have come in less than a year is truly wonderful, but also a reflection of the momentum in London’s craft chocolate movement as a whole. When we sent an email about Lucocoa last week, we described them as one of two London-based bean to bar makers (the other of course being Damson), but since then we have already been put in touch with a third maker starting to make chocolate in London, and we’re sure there are more to come.

Craft chocolate in general is taking hold of the capital’s imagination. In November 2015 Damson opened its factory shop in Islington (complete with a mini Cocoa Runners craft chocolate library of course). The Craft Chocolate Library has also been a huge hit both at Sourced Market in St. Pancreas and The Department of Coffee and Coffee and Social  Affairs in Leather Lane.

Lucocoa are one of those at the front of this movement. We caught up with Lucocoa’s Ama and Andy to find out more about being a bean-to-bar maker in London.

What’s Lucocoa’s background? Why and how did you get into chocolate?

It all started back in the summer of 2014 when I (Ama) who is very into sports and exercise wanted to create a range of food that was better for you. As a chocoholic I started making chocolate without white refined sugar, instead opting for coconut sugar and lucuma. Andy was chief taster and approved some of our early recipes.

The more we both learnt about chocolate, the more intriguing and exciting it got. We decided to take the plunge, we spent months deciding on which beans to use and the ratio of coconut sugar and lucuma to use.

What mission has Lucocoa set for making crafting chocolate?

As I said the more we found out and learned about the chocolate we loved the more exciting it got. We want people to explore different flavours of cacao beans, and realise that chocolate can be enjoyed without the use of refined sugar.

When did Lucocoa start the company — and with whom?  How many are there of you?

Lucocoa Chocolate started in December 2014 – We sold our first bar in March 2015. There are two of us and we both still work me as a project manager at Unicef and Andy as a boxing and football commentator.

The name Lucocoa comes from our principle ingredients – LUcuma, COconut Sugar, coCOA beans and cocoa butter.

Where do you want to go next?  New bars?  New beans?  New markets?

New bars. Yes – We have a 50% super milk bar using our Dominican Republic beans. This bar came about directly from our customers that visit us on our market stall. After being there for two months we were constantly asked about making a milk chocolate. So in response we started experimenting with different percentage milk bars and after three months of asking customers what they thought and refining the recipe, voila the 50% milk bar was born.

New beans? No no no no! It takes months to get the right recipe and as a start-up we still have our day jobs so don’t have the time to discover a new bean and get it right. One day in the future I would LOVE to get my paws on some great Nigerian beans.

We have reduced the number of beans. We removed our Colombian bean – the only remaining bars can be purchased exclusively here at Cocoa Runners!

How did you source your beans?

We did thorough research for our beans – The beans that we chose had to be ethical, sustainable, produce great chocolate and had a positive impact on not only the farmers but the farmers’ communities. We pay above the fair trade price and for us we believe that is the right thing to do.

What is your favourite food?  Wine?  Other chocolate makers?

Food:

Ama

Ha! Difficult in lieu of my mum’s Nigerian cooking it will be a toss between chicken liver parfait or toasted rye bread with goats cheese, cherry tomatoes, smoked salmon and poached egg!

Andy

Fillet Steak

Wine:

Ama

You can always rely on a New Zealand Sauvigion Blanc. I do love a white burgundy or picpoul de pinet

Other chocolate makers:

Ama and Andy

Before we started we met Duffy, he was a beacon of knowledge and helpful tips. We love his chocolate too!

Pablo Spaull – Forever Cacao. Welcome to amazing raw chocolate. Again Pablo is full of helpful knowledge and makes great tasting raw chocolate.