- Prior to making delicious craft chocolate, Co-Founders Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor used to be boat makers!
- The fist chocolate ever made by Adam and Dustin was produced using beans from Åkesson’s Madagascar plantation. Today, their Madagascar bar, made with the same cacao, remains a top contender for their personal favourite from their own products.
About Dick Taylor
Operating out of their small factory in Eureka, California, Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor of Dick Taylor source the finest fair-trade organic cacao from around the world and craft it into truly delicious chocolate. The path to bean-to-bar chocolate was far from a conventional one for these boys, as former boat makers whose business evolved from their love of carefully crafting their wares. Today, their meticulous approach of artistry and craftsmanship has metamorphosed into the production of some truly original craft chocolate, the result of extraordinary sourcing adventures and a very hands-on approach, particularly when it comes to roasting their beans in order to bring out the very best flavours. Their efforts have truly paid off. Their delicious inclusions lines and single origin bars, with a particular nod to their micro-batch limited edition bars crafted from some of the world’s rarest beans, are sure to delight and excite. After being beautifully moulded, the chocolate is finally wrapped up somewhat regally, with the front of each bar bearing an illustration of a boat under construction as a homage to their former jobs.
For Adam and Dustin, their mission is simple: they only hope that you will enjoy eating their chocolate as much as they enjoy crafting it.
How they became makers
Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor made their debut in the world of craft chocolate with the launch of their brand Dick Taylor in 2010. Their story is a truly remarkable one; as former carpenters and, eventually, boat builders, their trajectory to the world of craft chocolate making is perhaps not what you might expect. But for Adam and Dustin, the two professions share more similarities than differences, inextricably bound by a joint pursuit of craftsmanship. Indeed, united in their shared passion for careful craftsmanship and captivated by the transformative potential of these processes and their very tangible outputs, Adam and Dustin were willing conscripts in the American craft chocolate revolution that was gathering momentum!
But when it came to purchasing beans for that first batch of chocolate, these chocolate initiates weren’t entirely sure where to begin. The international esteem of legendary cacao producer and chocolatier Bertil Åkesson and his Madagascan Sambirano Valley plantation, however, did not escape them. Just like that, because “we didn’t know any better”, the very first batch of Dick Taylor chocolate came to be, crafted, somewhat fortuitously, from some of the world’s finest beans. Today, the Dick Taylor Madagascar bar, crafted from the very same Åkesson beans, remains a pillar of their product line and a firm personal favourite for both Adam and Dustin.
Dick Taylor’s sourcing
For Dustin and Adam, sourcing beans is a process of discovery that rejects rigid formulas, with each origin instead revealing itself to them in different ways. Every different origin bar has a story of how it came to be. Sometimes a terroir is discovered from direct outreach to farmers, and others it may be revealed through word of mouth from another chocolate maker.
There are, however two constants. First of all, before establishing an origin line, samples are put through a series of meticulous internal evaluations to determine factors like the quality of fermentation and the flavour potential of the beans. Finally, and perhaps even most importantly, Dustin and Adam source solely through Direct Trade relationships, in which, often with the help of cooperatives, producer and farmer form a meaningful relationship which cuts the middle man, ensuring support for farmers and prices for beans that far exceed those even of fair trade models through a transparent supply chain. Today, Dustin and Adam ethically source from partners in Toledo, Belize; Sambirano, Madagascar; Lanquin, Guatemala; Tien Giang, Vietnam; Fazenda Camboa, Brazil and the Solomon Islands. So, when you tuck in to your Dick Taylor bar, you can be content in the knowledge that you’re eating chocolate with a conscience.
Dick Taylor’s chocolate
You may know Dick Taylor bars for their exquisite craftsmanship- this may well be the prettiest chocolate bar you’ll ever eat! But Adam and Dustin’s chocolate is a far cry from style over substance. Dick Taylor’s award winning ethically sourced, single origin bars offer a true voyage of discovery and a real experience of meticulously crafted chocolate. Crucial to this is consistency in the quality of the beans that they source. Even though they face the perennial problem of craft chocolate makers, that of keeping up with an ever-increasing demand without sacrificing excellence, they refuse to compromise on quality. In line with this central principle was the launch of a range of limited edition single origin bars which sees Adam and Dustin “sourcing hard” to bring to you a line of fine, exotic cacaos of lesser known provenance that exist in lamentably finite quantities.
A wonderful demonstration of the unforeseen twists and turns in Dustin and Adam’s sourcing trajectory for these exciting limited edition bars is demonstrated by recent journeys to the tropics of Oceania. In 2016, they ventured to the Solomon Islands for the very first time in order to judge the cacao contest at the Solomon Islands Chocolate Week. Whilst on this initial trip they hoped to discover the potential of cacao in the region, when they returned the following year to judge once more, this time they were looking for consistency. Could exceedingly good quality cacao be consistently produced here? They had spent some time traveling to the very remote Western Provinces, working with local farmers to help them develop and improve their practices, and this second trip would show, they hoped, the fruits of their labours. Then, back in California, they received a sample from a cacao farmer named Kenny Patovaki, from the remote island of Paspaskato. The flavour profiles were truly extraordinary. Dustin and Adam were so elated to see that their work with Kenny had resulted in this exceptional cacao which went on to win him awards, that they produced an exclusive release 72% dark chocolate bar of a very limited number.
But it’s Dick Taylor’s innovative line of quality inclusion bars that regularly steal the spotlight, and with additions ranging from black fig, to a dried coconut caramelised with maple syrup and sea salt. But if those aren’t quite for you and you’re feeling a little adventurous, perhaps a “slug slime” bar (named after a popular bagel of garlic, seeds and salt) will tickle your fancy? We guarantee that Dick Taylor’s chocolate will continue to challenge and excite your palate, so why not check out their product page?
We managed to catch up with Dustin and Adam to delve deeper into their chocolate journey.
- What’s your background? Why and how did you get into chocolate?
We (Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor) have always been fascinated with crafting things. For years we worked as finish carpenters, focusing on cabinetry and furniture building. Our passion for woodworking even led us to restore several old wood boats. We loved the transformative process of shaping a rough board into something of great beauty. In 2010, we got interested in the young renaissance of American chocolate makers. We were captivated by the process, and quickly found ourselves experimenting with making chocolate in our homes as a hobby. Our first chocolate left a bit to be desired, but as our knowledge of the process grew the chocolate also got better. What started out as a hobby started to take on the form of a small business. Over the past 4 years we have fully changed careers and now make chocolate full time. Now, we transform raw cocoa beans into beautiful chocolate bars much like what we did with wood. We carry the same precision and attention to detail as we did as carpenters toward our approach to chocolate making. We don’t cut any corners and strive to make the best product we can.
- What mission have you set for making crafting chocolate?
Our mission is to simply make the best chocolate we can. We are committed to making single origin chocolate using only cacao and cane sugar. We are also driven to be constantly improving our process, even as we grow and increase production
- When did you start your company — and with whom? How many are there of you?
Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor started Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in November 2010.
- Where do you want to go next? New bars? New beans? New markets?
We are constantly struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing demand, while not sacrificing quality. Currently we are developing a range of limited edition bars sourcing hard to find or exotic small lots of fine cacao. We are also working on expanding distribution to Europe and beyond.
- How did you source your beans?
There has never been a formula for sourcing beans for us. Each and every origin has a different story of how we came in contact with it. It can range from direct outreach or contact with farmers and sometimes it is a lead passed on from another chocolate maker. It always involves, however, getting samples and then running them through a series of internal evaluations to determine not only fermentation quality etc, but also the flavour potential of the beans.
- What is your favourite food? Wine? Other chocolate makers?
Pretty much any type of cured meat and cheese!! We prefer beer or scotch over wine. In terms of other chocolate makers, we are particularly fond of Rogue Chocolatier, Soma Chocolate Maker, Patrick Chocolate, Askinosie Chocolate and Domori to name a few.