FAQs and About Us
*Coronavirus update 21/5/20
Whilst we are currently operating as ‘normal’, we rely heavily on our warehouse team and postal services to get your order out to you. We regret that international orders (that is orders delivered to outside of the UK) may take 2-3 times as long to reach you.
For orders despatching to outside of the UK, we are shipping on a “best efforts” basis. We are doing what we can to make sure your order arrives with you promptly (please make sure to opt for Tracked shipping). But regrettably we are also in the hands of overburdened local sorting offices and mail systems which are dealing with unprecedented challenges. Outside of the UK we have absolutely no control of local delivery services – and we’re experiencing orders sometimes taking 3-5 days and sometimes 3+months to get to e.g the US or Russia. In this instance, we would ask you to be patient for your order to arrive and please make sure to opt for a Tracked service.
On the 31st March, we had been advised by Royal Mail, due to the lack of available air transport and some suspensions of in country postal operations, to avoid sending items to those destinations. And as a result we had to suspend shipping to the following countries (listed below). Whilst these suspensions have been lifted, we are still cautious of shipping to the following affected countires:
|Bermuda||Ecuador||New Zealand||Tanzania (DAR)|
|Caribbean Islands (BVI)||Kuwait||Philippines||Turks & Caicos|
|Caribbean Islands – Dominican Republic||Lebanon||Samoa||Venezuela|
|Caribbean Islands –Haiti||Macedonia||South Africa||Zimbabwe|
|Cayman Islands||Mauritania||South Korea|
Where does your chocolate come from?
We run around the world searching for the world’s best single estate craft chocolate bars. The cocoa beans that go into these bars grow all around the world close to the equator. In some instances the chocolate is made at cocoa origin. But most often the beans are shipped out of the country of cocoa cultivation to a chocolate maker in another country, and these chocolate makers are located all over the world — from Woodstock to Warsaw and Brooklyn to Budapest.
Is Cocoa Runners just a subscription service?
Nope! Although we started solely with our subscription (or monthly discovery) boxes, we soon ventured into hosting an online shop where you can pick and choose your own bars, curating luxurious gift boxes, offering cooking and drinking chocolate, hosting craft chocolate tasting events, and wholesaling our craft chocolate bars to independent coffee and wine shops.
How many different chocolate bars do you stock?
At the moment we stock over 1000 individual bars from over 120 small batch makers around the world. We’ve sampled literally thousands of bars in our search for the very best craft chocolate the world has to offer.
We’re constantly looking for new bars, so do send us any recommendations you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long will my chocolate keep?
When stored correctly, dark chocolate is a bit like red wine; the flavours change with age but doesn’t “go off”. At the same time you do need to keep your chocolate properly – that is to say away from extreme hot and cold temperatures (including a fridge – these are too cold, see below), away from sunlight and in sealed bags. Milk and white chocolate, because of the dairy content doesn’t keep as well – please check the individual bars for expiry dates (although generally people can’t resist eating the bars long enough for this to be a problem!).
How should I store my chocolate?
Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place away from strong aromas and temperature variations. You should never store your chocolate in the fridge, as that will cause blooming (condensation on the surface, drawing sugar crystals out of the chocolate). Similarly if the chocolate is allowed to get too warm, cocoa butter will come to the surface. If possible, keep your chocolate wrapped and store it between 16C and 18C, but for most purposes room temperature is fine.
You should also keep your chocolate away from sunlight and other bright lights, and ideally in a sealed environment (ziplock bag, Tupperware box, chocolate humidor, etc)
Will my chocolate arrive in perfect condition?
This is our only aim. More often than not your bars will arrive with you promptly and in their intended condition. We pack our chocolate bars with our utmost care, and we make sure our makers do the same when delivering their bars to our warehouse.
It has become evident to us that once the bars leave our warehouse, sometimes the deliveries can be subject to slight rough-handling, which may cause the bars to break.
Over the slightly hotter months, as during shipping we unfortunately have no control over the temperatures nor storage conditions, your chocolate bars may bloom. Please be assured that your chocolate is perfectly fine to eat. However please do get in touch if you have any concerns.
What will the Best Before date be on my chocolate bar?
Our policy for dark bars is that we won’t ship them unless they have at least two week’s shelf life, for milk and white bars we won’t ship them unless they have at least one month’s shelf life. If you have received a bar with a best before of under two weeks – or a month for milk and white bars – or even if you’ve unfortunately received a bar that is past its best before, please do write into us. Whilst this should not happen and we actively try to avoid it, we do understand that it is very possible for bars to slip through in our warehouse sorting.
When we order bars from our chocolate makers, they must come with at least a 12 months shelf life. If you have any concerns, we will be more than happy to provide you with the Best Before date on your bars prior to purchase. However, please be assured that Best Before does not equate to Use By, and particularly for dark bars.
Is your chocolate certified Fair Trade?
Some is, but most of the chocolate we feature goes well beyond Fair Trade. Many artisan chocolate makers source their cocoa beans directly from the farmers and farmer co-operatives, cutting out the middlemen and ensuring a significantly higher price (more than the Fair Trade premium) for the farmer. You can find out more about some makers who are making a big difference beyond the Fair Trade certification here.
Is your Subscription and chocolate bars free from allergens? (dairy, gluten, nuts etc.)
Our Mixed and Milk-only boxes will include milk chocolate bars that contain dairy. In our Dark and 100% chocolate boxes, whilst milk (and gluten and nuts for that matter) would not be listed ingredients, on many bars there may well be TRACES of milk, gluten and nuts. This is due to chocolate makers potentially handling dairy, gluten or nuts in the same factory and by law need to state that there may be TRACES. All bars will specify this if this is the case. However if a chocolate maker can guarantee that there are no allergens within the bar, they will mention this on the packaging too.
We do an annual audit for all our chocolate bars, where we collect data on ingredients, nutritional information and the 14 main allergens. We try our best to keep this up to date on our website, however we understand that currently this may not be the case for many bars. As we have all this data, if you are wanting to find out about a specific bar please get in touch!
I’m a chocolate maker and would like Cocoa Runners to sell my bars, what are the next steps?
We’re very keen to expand our chocolate library and support as many like-minded, bean to bar chocolate makers as we can!
We’d love to hear from you but first there are a few things to make a note of… we have a strong focus on bean to bar craft chocolate. What this means is that we want to make sure that you, as a chocolate maker, can trace every step of your processing right back to the bean. It’s this traceability that is really important to us and your ability to really showcase the flavour profiles of the beans that you’re using.
We also favour non-flavoured bars and if you make “raw” chocolate, we’d like to understand your definition of the term “raw”. Unroasted chocolate is great but we’re not convinced that chocolate at the fermenting and drying stages can remain below 42-45 degrees to be fully classified as “raw”.
If your chocolate fits the bill or if you have any questions about selling your chocolate through Cocoa Runners please contact us at email@example.com using the subject line “new chocolate maker” – this way we’ll make sure that the appropriate person gets back to you as soon as possible.
About becoming a subscriber
Love Great Chocolate? Join The Club!
We are in the midst of a revolution. A chocolate revolution. From Brooklyn to Budapest, Cleethorpes to Copenhagen and San Francisco to Saigon, passionate single estate craft chocolate makers are creating tantalisingly delicious chocolate bars. They source premium beans directly from small farmers who value provenance and quality. The makers craft their bars in small batches and maintain high standards. They win prizes galore. Their bars are varied and incredibly flavourful. Once you taste single estate chocolate, there is no going back.
But finding these bars isn’t easy. That’s why we set up Cocoa Runners. We love single estate craft chocolate bars – and want to share it with everyone all around the globe. What we do is run around the world discovering these makers and farmers. And then we send the very best bars to you.
We want chocolate lovers to have a simple way to discover, savour and enjoy the great chocolate these pioneers are creating.
As a member, every month we will send you four chocolate bars delivered in a box specially designed to fit through your letterbox (and in sufficiently nondescript outer packaging that we hope it won’t be “borrowed” by envious neighbours). These bars are carefully chosen around themes which showcase latest developments and the characteristics of “bean-to-bar” chocolate. We will get “under the wrapper” with tasting cards for each bar that bring you the stories behind the chocolate, makers and growers.
A good day is when we savour and enjoy great chocolate. A great day is when we help our members discover, share, savour and enjoy great chocolate
Just as the way grapes are grown and nurtured is critical for the quality of great wine, the same is true for cocoa beans and chocolate. Soil conditions, climate and the care and attention of the farmers and chocolate makers all impact the final product.
The best chocolate often comes from chocolate makers who have a direct relationship with the farmers they buy from. This direct trade also cuts out middlemen and ensures higher payments to cocoa farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The same care and attention to detail also characterises the makers who source these beans and create the bars. Whether they’re working out of a small kitchen or a dedicated factory, all these makers are united in the care and attention they make to creating their chocolate.
Think about wine. There’s so much more to recommending wine than asking “red or white?”, and we think there’s more to recommending chocolate than simply “milk or dark?”. For every bar, we’ve analysed and profiled its texture, flavour notes and intensity. By using these profiles and knowing what you’ve enjoyed in the past, we can recommend other bars for you to try. You can find out more about our recommendations process here.