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Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable Bean to Bar Chocolate

Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

Saving the planet one chocolate bar at a time!

Poonam Chordia & L Nitin Chordia

The launch of Kocoatrait Chocolates marked the birth of the world’s 1st Vegan, Sustainable, Ecofriendly, Recyclable and Planet Friendly Bean to Bar Chocolate. We proudly showcased India’s plastic free and paper free effort to the developed world and had a dream launch in early 2019 in Amsterdam. On display was how Kocoatrait operated in and contributed to the circular economy model. In the past year in India, our efforts have met with both disbelief and acceptance in the same breath. Kocoatrait is proudly a cockroach startup. (Read How It Is Different From Unicorn Startups). Given the current pandemic scenario our efforts to be a sustainable and planet friendly chocolate brand might NOT sound completely alien. We expect to find relevance with a much larger audience across the globe and in our home market India.

Kocoatrait Launch Chocoa Amsterdam Feb 2019
The Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Venu Rajamony at Kocoatrait Launch @ Chocoa 2019 in Amsterdam

The Past

A bit of digging deep into our chocolate consumption behaviour would help us put things in perspective. Let us start with, when in 2019 Mariana Trench, an american explorer found candy wrappers on the seafloor. She was attempting to break the record for the deepest human dive ever. This did ring alarm bells and demonstrated how far the implications of human carelessness can be felt and the irreparable impact it is bound to create if we continue our current consumption behaviour. The amount of landfills chocolate wrappers produce adds to chocolates being among one of the most polluting FMCG products in the world. Chips and confectionery packets account for the largest share (19%) of plastic waste in India according to FICCI.

Forcing all of us to think hard

John Gary of the New Statesman in his article titled “Why this crisis is a turning point in history” dated 1st April 2020 claims, “The era of peak globalisation is over. For those of us not on the front line, clearing the mind and thinking how to live in an altered world is the task at hand”. He adds, “Of course economic expansion is not indefinitely sustainable. For one thing, it can only worsen climate change and turn the planet into a garbage dump”. It is perhaps fair to assume that consumers will start to expect brands and products to be more planet friendly. It will also lead to localisation as per KPMG’s forecast of how business landscape is likely to evolve in the days to come. As i write this on 14th April 2020, what comes as a breath of fresh air is Amsterdam’s decision to consider adopting the Doughnut model of sustainable development where decreasing the dependence on depleting resources shall be in focus. Fast economic growth is not considered necessary in this model of sustenance. Click to read.

Worth Pondering About

Anand Mahindra recently wrote an email addressing his employees, where he noted how neglectful we have been and how we were putting an unnecessary burden on the environment. He pondered with a touch of distress.

“Do we need this kind of crisis to learn all this? Can we not live like this even after the crisis is over, not use the environment in a better way and reduce carbon emissions by traveling less?”

– Anand Mahindra, Mahindra & Mahindra

“For too long, the human race has taken the planet for granted, exploiting resources and depleting its biodiversity to feed our unsustainable ways”

Pankaj M Munjal Chairman & Managing Director, HMC, a Hero Motors Company

Vegan, Sustainable, Ecofriendly and Recyclable chocolate

Kocoatrait had the luxury of time over the last 2-3 years to think and act beyond the obvious and immediately visible customer demands. We added differentiation as a key element of our product strategy and we decided that our chocolate packaging would help us balance the impact of the environmental/water burden cocoa farming puts on the planet. In hindsight, we are now happy that we took this execution task very seriously. We are convinced that we right when we decided to execute our product, packaging & positioning strategy in peace before having been forced to!

Strategy without execution is hallucination!

Mike Roach, CEO, CGI


Before justifying our efforts to create a futuristic Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable and concious chocolate brand, we would like to be transparent and look at some relevant declarations. a) It takes an astonishing 1700 liters of water to make a typical 100 gram chocolate bar as quoted by BBC. Most of that water is consumed by the cocoa plants in the field. We are not sure if we can reduce the farms dependence on water currently or in the future and b) We currently use non-renewable water/electricity supply sources. Move to greener and self sustainable sources of these resources in the future is on the cards.

It is quite clear, that we do not operate in an industry that is completely sustainable from an input standpoint. Hence, our endeavour has been to do our bit and ensure chocolate lovers do get their daily dose of chocolates with as less guilt as possible. Apart from being Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly and Recyclable, we have decide to invest in workarounds to make the final chocolate packaging planet friendly. There is little doubt in our minds that our efforts will align with consumer priorities going forward.

Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate
Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

As of March 2020, Kocoatrait has helped prevent 50 Kgs of single use chocolate wrappers from polluting landfills. This is our chosen parameter to measure the impact of our Startup!

– Poonam & L Nitin Chordia, Kocoatrait

Going by rough calculations, 500 sheets of A4 size non-recycled paper uses 6 percent of an average size tree, we have saved 1/3rd a tree. To put things in perspective, each tree will remove 3 Kgs of Carbon Dioxide emissions per year from the air! As of March 2020, we have helped remove 1 kg of carbon dioxide from the air! Hence helping us reduce our carbon footprint. While this might seem like a pretty small contribution to the planet, we derive pleasure in comparing our current situation to one where we would have contributed to landfill if we were using single use plastic lined chocolate wrappers. This keeps us motivated, strong & going.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

– Steve Jobs
Insight into the Journey of Cocoa Pods to Kocoatrait Chocolates!

Our concerns and the opportunity

We have noted that our average consumer is well travelled and that the sustainability voices were growing over the last few years. Given the above, our concern is that post Covid19, travels will reduce or get minimised to “when necessary” due to justified fears. Travel related exposure to other cultures play a significant role in changing consumer mindsets. We are questioned about how our customer would get inspired to adopt sustainable and zero waste living lifestyles? How will consumers navigate the path of sustainability in this unsustainable world? Will they adopt effortlessly? Will they understand the need and benefits of doing so? Well, we will find the answers sooner than later upon our return to the “New Normal”. We shall be paying specific attention to the changes our consumers are going to make to their lifestyle to reduce the greenhouse gases that are generated by their actions. In the meanwhile, if interested, you can check your own Carbon Footprint by using this Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Heres how Kocoatrait, Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable chocolate brand is contributing to India’s circular Economy!

  1. Circularity in Packaging

    We UPCYCLE our packaging material by reclaiming cotton from Textile units & our own cocoa husk waste and help in REDUCING LANDFILL. Our packaging is RECYCLABLE, BIO DEGRADABLE & COMPOSTABLE and also PLASTIC & PAPER FREE.

  2. Eco Friendly

    70% of the Upcycled material gets utilised into making our chocolate wrapper with an aim to reduce WASTAGE of valuable resources. The balance 30% gets REUSED as a business card or gets RECYCLED.

  3. Planet Friendly

    We do not want to be a small bar inside a larger sized wrapper. Our Packaging helps us OPTIMIZE our transport volume, reduce CARBON FOOTPRINT & occupy LESSER RETAIL SHELF SPACE!

  4. Extending Product Lifestyle

    The inner side of the packaging has mandala art templates, greetings, emergency contacts, habit tracker, bookmarks etc, making it REUSABLE thus EXTENDING THE LIFECYCLE of the product and making the wrapper ZERO WASTE!

  5. Social Inclusiveness

    The wrapper design is entirely printed at V-Excel Educational Trust aiming to support & foster inclusion & independence of individuals with SPECIAL NEEDS.

  6. Use of Technology

    QR Codes have been used to educate consumers by providing information about REUSE & RECYCLING of packaging material.

  7. Sustainable Ingredients

    Uses ORGANIC cocoa beans of SOUTH INDIAN ORIGIN. Uses traditional NON REFINED organic khandsari (moscovado) sugar. Kocoatrait is Palm oil free! We do not buy cocoa where the cocoa was planted as a result of deforestation.

  8. Fair Prices to farmer

    As a business decision we only source Fine flavoured cocoa and pay 55% higher than market prices on an average for our cocoa purchases. We try to maximise the benefit to the farmers.

  9. Unique Natural Flavours

    10 UNIQUE DARK CHOCOLATE FLAVOURS – Sukku Coffee, Masala Chai, Lavender, Banana, Pink Rose, Red Rose, Lemongrass, Banana, Coconut Milk & Cinnamon, Irish Coffee. FLAVOUR OILS have NOT been used.

  10. Transparency

    We print the (RDA) Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances clearly on the FRONT of the pack, allowing us to be transparent & CONSUMER CENTRIC. We also clearly give credits to our printing partners on the packaging.

  11. Healthier Product

    REDUCED SUGAR & HIGH COCOA ensures a much healthier Dark chocolate experience. In line with these principles, we do not offer White & Milk chocolates. Most of our chocolates are Vegan.

The Press release is available at: We also curated a Zero waste chocolate gift box! Below is a video on the Making of Kocoatrait. You have an opportunity to enroll for a Bean to Bar chocolate making course at our Institute Cocoashala too! Click for details.

The making of Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

Press Contact: L Nitin Chordia; +919600064846;

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Why should you recycle aluminum foil

Aluminum is considered one of the highest-value materials that can be recycled and reprocessed into new aluminum in just barely 60 days! Aluminium foils used by chocolate companies are usually laminated with a layer of plastic to save costs on aluminium by using a thin aluminium foil. Kocoatrait chocolates uses a much thicker pharmaceutical grade aluminium foil without any plastic content to wrap our chocolate bars. This ensures that our chocolates are protected as it provides a total barrier to light and oxygen.

Aluminum foil is 100% recyclable, unless there is a plastic laminate on it. While it is used to protect the chocolate bar before you have purchased it, we would like to encourage you not throw the aluminium away AND to re-use the high quality aluminium foil atleast once before it finds it way into the recycling plant. We have not sealed or stickered the aluminium foil and hence there are several ways we could re-use it. You can give it a second, third or fourth life with one of the creative ideas below! Whats more, you can reuse it for ever!

Use as a sandwich wrap Use the foil to wrap a cold sandwich or cold bread! This is the best use of the foil and it can be reused many times before you decide to recycle it. 

Sharpen Scissors Fold the aluminum foil into a thick square and cut it about 8-10 times. This will help to sharpen the edges of your dull scissors. 

Regulate Your Lotion Dispenser Wrap aluminum foil around the pump dispenser of your soap or lotion to control how much comes out. Not only will you be reusing the aluminum foil, but you’ll also extend the life of your soap or lotion. 

Eliminate Static Cling If you are having problems with static cling on your clothing, add a piece of aluminum foil to the dryer next time you do a load. It will help to reduce the static cling. 

Extend the Life of Your Bar Soap Instead of letting your bar of soap sit in a puddle of water, lay it on a sheet of aluminum foil. 

Cut Down Your Ironing Time Put a sheet of aluminum foil under your ironing board. It will help to reflect the heat and iron both sides at once. We believe that we can do better.

We would love to hear feedback & any ideas on how to improve! Email us at or Whats app us at +919600064846. Our other flavours are available at: 

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Extended Producer Responsibility in Kocoatrait Chocolates

Extended Producer Responsibility India
Extended Producer Responsibility India
Extended Producer Responsibility India is a recent initiative of the Government of India. KocoatraitIndia’s 1st Zero waste, inclusive and sustainable bean to bar chocolates increases it commitment to the circular economy and to saving the planet by committing itself beyond the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines set by the Government of India. EPR refers to the responsibility of the producer towards the disposal of products and packaging once they are designated as no longer useful by consumers.

Kocoatrait’s new EPR initiative calls for the return of (already planet friendly) wrappers back to the brand for up-cycling. The wrappers returned will be up-cycled and used to make a future set of wrappers. An insert card placed inside the chocolate wrapper (and printed on Kocoatrait Paper/plastic free material using plastic ink just like our wrappers!) provides the details of the return. This is the 1st such initiative by an Indian origin Bean to Bar chocolate brand. This effort is aimed at helping consumers and corporates practise conscious consumerism by giving them a choice to return and be zero waste during the festive season.

“EPR focusses on plastic waste management but inspite of Kocoatrait wrappers already being paper & plastic free, we have extended our commitment beyond the EPR program in line with our consumers demands and what we believe is the right thing to do for our planet. There is no Planet B.” says L Nitin Chordia, India’s 1st certified chocolate taster and co-founder of Kocoatrait.
The link to ordering festive gifts is:
Also read: Why choose bean to bar chocolate made in India?
Find out what makes Kocoatrait chocolates guilt free, sustainable, zero waste & planet friendly! Click to read:
Extended Producer Responsibility India
Extended Producer Responsibility India
About Kocoatrait, Poonam Chordia & L Nitin Chordia:Kocoatrait is the world & India’s 1st Sustainable Luxury Zero Waste, Single Origin, Organic and Planet Friendly Bean to Bar Chocolate contributing to the circular economy. Kocoatrait was conceived with an aim to enable aspiring Indian citizens to adopt a zero waste lifestyle and follow minimalistic living. Poonam Chordia is India’s 1st certified female chocolate taster and co-founder of Kocoatrait. She is a faculty at Cocoashala. L Nitin Chordia is India’s 1st certified chocolate taster. A Sparring Partner and a Retail Business Consultant with over 15 years of experience in Indian FMCG and Retail Domain. His current consulting focus is Sustainability, Zero Waste & Circular Economy. Nitin is India’s 1st Certified Chocolate Taster, Judge at the International Chocolate Awards, London and a Cocoa Post Harvest Professional. Nitin is the 1st external faculty at the Institute of fine chocolate tasting, UK.
Press Contact: L Nitin Chordia
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Cacao Fermentation Consulting

Online Bean to Bar Course

As part of our inclusivity efforts, we offer cacao fermentation consulting (post harvest) services to Indian Cacao farmers. These services are offered in india, by Indians and for Indian cacao farmers. Demand for cacao and chocolate is continuously rising but the farmer continues to get neglected in this growth. Traditionally, cacao farmers have not been subject to receiving the same benefits as the other partners in the cacao/chocolate value chain. They have forever been excluded. Post harvesting is arguably one of the most important variables after genetics that determine the final flavour profile of the cacao bean and hence the final chocolate bar. However, there is a clear distinction between bulk and fine flavour cacao. Let’s first start with busting the myth about cacao varieties. Please read about the different cacao varieties in India here.

Kocoatrait Zero Waste Chocolate
Indian Cacao

Once you have read the contents of the above link, you would also notice that the cacao and chocolate industry has started to distinguish between varieties of cacao and started to group them as as Bulk or Fine flavour cacao. It will help to understand the difference between the two. But before you read ahead, kindly observe that there is no such thing as quality in cacao. The term Quality is used most often by the buyer to negotiate a better price from the seller and there are some parameters which are used to determine the quality and give the power of negotiation in the hands of the buyer (large corporations in the case of cacao). A cacao farmer does not have much play or say in this situation because he cannot change the genetics of already planted cacao and hence the associated physical characteristics like bean size, bean count etc. The fact is that these parameters rarely define the flavour of cacao and are used against the farmers of bulk cacao during price negotiations. Given the growth of the bean to bar industry globally and in India, chocolate makers require flavour to be delivered rather than bean size and count. Smaller sized beans do not always mean inferior bean! It is time farmers change the benchmark and focus on improved product delivery through flavour enhancements, control over off-flavours and consistency. The cacao farmer often stands to loose with the current approach of negotiating for cacao on these parameters! Further, the cacao farmer in India does not invest on improving the flavour profile of cacao because they feel they do not find buyers who will buy their entire produce and compensate them for their efforts. It is a catch 22 situation, since cacao farmers would never be able to negotiate a better price for their produce if they do not invest into improving their consistency and flavour. This is the reason we have invested our efforts to provide cacao fermentation consulting in india to deserved cacao farmers and help them increase their incomes.

Kocoatrait Zero Waste Chocolate
Indian Bean to Bar Chocolate

While specific genetics help us bring out interesting flavours, consistent and sustainable post harvesting practises are essential to ensure that those interesting flavour characteristics are carried forward to the beans for chocolate makers to take advantage of. These flavours make the job of chocolate makers, of creating delicious defect free chocolate, much easier and helps them deliver memorable and immersive chocolate experiences to the discerning consumer. This is the reason farmers charge a premium for these value added cacao and chocolate makers can charge a premium too! Most hierloom cacao varieties are fine flavour and grow in the south americas. In the case of bulk cacao, which is what makes for most of indian cacao, the hybrid varieties are engineered to either provide disease resistance and/or offer more yield with a compromise on the final flavour potential. This is a reason why bulk varieties of cacao are not sold at a premium.

However, it is not all bad news for Indian cacao farmers! With a lot of discipline and effort in the post harvesting practises, it is proven that we can elevate the flavour delivery ability of bulk varieties of cacao and make it more valuable from a flavour and consistency perspective. It does not mean it can compare or compete with fine flavour varieties, but it certainly means more remuneration for indian cacao farmers and chocolate makers. As the bean to bar market evolves, variations in post harvesting practises also give cacao farmers an opportunity to offer different products to meet different requirements of the chocolate maker. Our cacao fermentation and post harvesting consulting services in india help cacao farmers charge a premium for their produce. This increase in farmer income goes a long way in farmers investing efforts and achieving our goal of placing Indian cacao on the global map! Please read why we should choose to consume bean to bar chocolates made in India here.

Kocoatrait Zero Waste Chocolate
Indian Bean to Bar Chocolates

Having executed several small, medium and large scale post harvest improvements projects in south india over the last 4 years, we remain committed to improving the quality of the Indian cacao bean. While discovering and working in various cacao growing regions including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamilnadu, it is interesting to learn about traditional fermentation practises (and beliefs) of Indian cacao farmers. We believe that Indian cacao has potential to find a place in the global fine flavour map. Further, we provide end to end bean to bar chocolate manufacturing, planning & set up services. We have set up several small and medium size award winning bean to bar projects in India. To understand the definition of bean to bar chocolate in india, click: and to explore more about the bean to bar making process watch video below:

We aspire to take Indian cacao international and call for support from the farmer community. L Nitin Chordia, India’s 1st certified chocolate taster believes that this is an inclusive offering and will work in the benefit of the farmer and the overall growing bean to bar chocolate industry. “This will further help us decrease our reliance on imports of cacao/chocolate” says L Nitin Chordia. “While the government is trying hard to increase the area under cultivation of cacao in India, this added effort and investment from the farmer would help him increase farmer income and make good quality beans available to the Indian bean to bar chocolate makers. We are happy to share our expertise and experience for this cause. This will ensure many more chocolatiers will have access to fine flavour beans and I see this as a win-win situation for the Indian cacao and chocolate industry. This will set the foundation to support the unprecedented growth this industry is witnessing” says L Nitin Chordia. Kocoatrait further provides buy back options to farmers and clearly documents the ROI to enable farmers make an educated and informed decision.

Contact us for a detailed discussion on how to improve the post harvest practises of Indian cacao. and/or +919600064846

Contact us for a detailed discussion on how to improve the post harvest practises of Indian cacao. and/or +919600064846

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Chocolate Yoga. Indulge. Discover.

Kocoatrait Healthy Heart Dark Chocolate

Cacao: An introduction

Cacao can be defined as the forgotten plant medicine or a heart medicine and hence the food of the gods. If Goat or Beer yoga did not sound like your thing, consider practising yoga with chocolate. Yoga and meditation usually result in significantly lesser stress levels and cocoa is a powerful antioxidant which helps to make you feel good, improves your mood, relaxes and de-stresses you, improves brain and memory function, heart health, increases blood flow and gives you energy and so does yoga! Why not combine both? Chocolate + Yoga = Chocolate Yoga! Yoga and chocolate might be a relatively recent pairing. However, the link between chocolate and reaching a higher plane of awareness dates back to cacao’s use among the ancient Mayans and how they consumed cacao during ceremonies! To the Mayans, cacao was considered a “food of the Gods.” Consuming chocolate opened the doors of the heart and the gates of increased consciousness – which are the goals of yoga.

Kocoatrait Chocolate Yoga
Kocoatrait Chocolate Yoga

Benefits of Cacao & Chocolate to Yoga

While chocolate yoga may seem like an excuse to eat more chocolates, there is sufficient scientific support to make this combination a worthwhile try. In recent times, studies have also indicated the capability of certain chemical compounds present in dark chocolate in helping the fight against Covid19. Consuming a bit of 70%+ (cacao %) dark chocolate before a yoga session can help you better get into a calm state of mind and get you into the yogic groove. Dark chocolate is packed with magnesium, which helps your body’s muscles to relax and allows your mind to focus on meditation. Dark Chocolate, contains caffeine, theophylline and theobromine to give you energy boosts and provide you with energy as you go through your series of poses. Chocolate is also an antioxidant, which improves your mood and heart health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Database of Flavonoid Content provides us valuable data. In each gram of a typical 70% dark chocolate, there is about 1 milligram of flavonoid. In the case of milk chocolate there is only .15 milligram of Flavonoid Content in each gram of chocolate! Source This increases the blood flow to your brain, which in turn can help your concentration and focus, leaving it open to meditation. Every yogi needs that! The recent attribution of dark chocolates to help against Covid has been discussed greatly and if you are keen on studying the science behind what cacao is capable of, kindly read:

Chocolate Yoga
Chocolate Yoga

A typical Yoga Chocolate Session

In chocolate yoga sessions, chocolate is usually consumed at the beginning of a class. Concentrating on the taste and texture of chocolate on your tongue helps you to enter a state of mindfulness. As a start, you could place pieces of chocolates on your tounge (while resisting to bite into it) and meditate on the sensation of it melting and then spend the yoga class exploring the way the chocolate moves through their bodies, spreading its warmth, energy and life force. Consuming a piece of dark chocolate after a yoga session while in a heightened state of awareness can provide you with an elevated chocolate experience. While practising mindful awareness, as as you shift your attention to the present moment, you shall experience your mind unravel a new spectrum of chocolate flavours and sensations. A carefully curated session can help yogis to experience eating chocolate in a more mindful way and trains them to unlock a new spectrum of flavors in chocolate and sensations that chocolate can initiate.

This is the perfect, interesting and engaging way to get your family and friends involved and interested in a session of indulgent yet healthy yoga. Thanks to technology, you can be miles away from your near/dear ones and still host & enjoy a chocolate yoga experience!

L Nitin Chordia, India’s 1st certified chocolate taster

Most of us do not savour chocolates the right way. We have all learnt how to savour wine, coffee fine foods etc but chocolates have not been a subject of interest yet. In this session, you will learn how to appreciate chocolates the right way as we spend more time appreciating chocolates during the session than we usually do otherwise. There is a lot more to read about dark chocolate and this link provides you the required information to make the best choice of your dark chocolate.

There is no compromise of the old-fashioned and traditional way of conducting yoga. Chocolate yoga just adds a bit of fun, learning and health awareness to the process.

Poonam Chordia, India’s 1st certified women chocolate taster

Kocoatrait Heart Healthy Chocolates

At Kocoatrait we are damn serious about how we can contribute to your health. We have curated a Healthy Heart series of 70% + Cocoa chocolates specifically for Yoga enthusiasts. With the principle of ahimsa, which is also related to yoga, we produce the world’s most sustainable and planet friendly chocolate. Little details matter and sets us apart and makes us more consumer friendly and your 1st choice for a chocolate yoga sessions. For instance, we use only non refined desi khand (khandsari) sugar, we roast our chocolate at 117 degrees to ensure that most antioxidants are retained. We stone grind to retain flavour and we do NOT use any single use plastic to wrap our chocolates in! We do all it takes to be planet friendly and we see this as both good for you and the planet. Check out our video of the making of Kocoatrait chocolates here. Click for the Kocoatrait range of heart friendly chocolates here.

Chocolate Yoga

Whats next?

As you move forward and integrate more chocolates into your yoga routine, you could shift your consumption to the more serious ceremonial cacao. This is when you take your efforts to the next level and move from just fun filled yoga sessions to serious yoga sessions. The chocolate yoga session sets you up for ceremonial cacao appreciation. Officially, chocolate yoga is now a thing!

How to order Kocoatrait Chocolates?

Shop for Kocoatrait chocolates here. Contact Kocoatrait chocolates at +919600064846 or for more details on chocolate yoga or yoga with chocolates!

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Why choose Bean to Bar Chocolate made in India?

Bean to Bar chocolates made in india
Bean to Bar Chocolates made in India

10th April 2021, Chennai, India

The year 2021 can be considered a tipping point for the Bean to Bar industry in India. The bean to bar chocolate market in India has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last 2-3 years and is worth about 10 Crores (Cocoatrait Research) in 2021. India currently boasts of around 28 small, medium and large sized bean to bar chocolate makers all demonstrating healthy growth rates and growing at over 40% Y-O-Y on an average. Cocoatrait forecasts that there would be over 40 branded bean to bar chocolate makers by 2022. Interestingly, Covid-19 has only had a temporary dampening effect on the category and there seems to be minimal impact on sales overall in the year 2020.

For the interested, many mass produced industrial chocolates are also made from bean to bar. However, not all. In fact several premium and luxury chocolate brands do not control their entire chocolate making process. They simply buy bulk industrially produced chocolate and melt them, mix certain ingredients and mould them into chocolate bars or other chocolate products. This can be a fairly simplistic process and a bean to bar chocolate maker has a lot on the plate to deal with.

Understanding of how flavours of cacao are impacted by genetic variety (genotype), climate, bean composition, soil type, age of cocoa tree, postharvest treatments of the beans such as fermentation and drying, processing such as roasting, refining, conching, tempering as well as storage and transportation make bean to bar chocolates a balanced mix of both a science and art. This is a very interesting subject for chocolate makers, the trade and consumers alike.

From the supply side, this rise of craft or artisanal Bean to Bar chocolate makers in India has been bought about by the availability of small scale equipments, access to knowledge/technology and availability of raw materials (cacao beans) locally. Consumer exposure towards fine foods and beverages like wine, speciality coffee, teas & beer attributed primarily to increased travel, rise in disposable income, decreased propensity to savings and access to information has driven demand noticeably over the last few years.

In India and even globally, there is a misconception about terms such as “craft,” “fine” “artisanal” or “small batch,” in chocolate and in other food categories. Many chocolate brands available on Indian shelves have been imported and/or finished in India using bulk chocolate made industrially from the bulk variety of beans which are usually imported from bulk cacao producing countries like africa. By alkalising cacao, mass market chocolate manufacturers are able to manipulate the flavour, acidity and colour. This is why mass-market dark chocolate is usually intensely bitter with little flavour complexity and are overly dark in colour. The intense bitterness after alkalising is then offset by adding excessive sugar and also milk (in some cases) to make it more palatable to the masses consuming it as a replacement of traditional sweets! This bitterness becomes evident when you consume a 50% dark chocolate where most of the balance 50% is sugar and the chocolate still remains bitter.

Time needed: 5 minutes.

This is why we decided to write this blog post to help understand why it makes more sense to support bean to bar chocolates over mass produced supermarket or imported chocolate brands and why choosing a chocolate made from Indian cacao beans almost becomes a duty of an Indian citizen.

  1. Better for the Farmer

    The reality is that, in the traditional mass market cacao & chocolate value chain, the farmer realises a fraction of the value of the final chocolate product sold. Bean to bar makers pay a premium for better quality beans, mainly because they lack the expertise to process lower quality beans and make fine chocolate with it. It is usually more beneficial that a farmer embraces direct-trade (with the bean to bar maker) rather than fair-trade certifications. When the farmer gets a premium for his beans over the fair trade price, he is able to pay market wages to the labourers working at the farm. In many cases, we have seen farmers forward integrating to become farm to bar makers or as some say soil to bar makers. This certainly ensures that all the value generated is benefitting the farmer directly. Further, farmers are encouraged to improve their post harvesting processes and this helps them increase the value of their produce and make them self reliant.Why choose Bean to Bar Chocolate made in India?

  2. Better for the planet

    Apart from Bean to bar chocolates being beneficial for the farmer, they are also better for the sustainability of the land where it is grown, our planet and the environment overall. Cacao trees thrive in Biodiverse Environments. Bulk cacao for mass-market chocolate is often grown in monocultures, whereas fine flavour cacao used to make bean to bar chocolates, usually rely on varieties grown in polyculture where more than one plant species are grown together and imitate the diversity of natural agroforest ecosystems. It is also believed that cacao when grown polyculture agroforestry systems, also have higher carbon capture capacity benefitting the planet greatly. Further, due to their agility and small size, most Indian bean to bar makers have the ability to practise sustainability in various measures at the farm, in chocolate production process and also in their packaging and distribution.

  3. Better for the Consumer

    As you have observed, bean to bar chocolates are usually better for the farmer, better for the environment, BUT is it better for consumers? Bean to Bar chocolate makers take pride in their high quality and short ingredient lists. A bar of craft chocolate is usually made of cacao, cocoa butter, and sugar. The emphasis for craft chocolate has always been on flavour, texture and taste – which means the cacao is the star of the bar. These chocolates elevate the overall experience of a chocolate bar. With innovative natural flavours and ingredients used, boundaries are expanded and it raises the bar for consumers. This is in contrast to mass market chocolates. Over processing of chocolate leads to loss of vital benefits of cacao in mass produced chocolates. Various studies over the last few years have discovered that cacao is packed with antioxidants and flavanols. Diets high in antioxidants and flavanols have shown to benefit cardiovascular health, provide anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate blood sugar. There is a lot of research which suggests that consuming dark chocolate which is high in cacao has positive implications on stress levels, mood, memory and immunity. However, here’s the catch: not all chocolate contains the same amount of antioxidants. We believe that while it is easy to call chocolate a health product, we remain committed to calling a craft bean to bar chocolate as a healthier alternative rather than a healthier product. What are the health benefits of bean to bar chocolates? How real are they? Click to read more.

  4. Making India Atmanirbhar

    Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to ‘self-reliant India’, is the Hindi phrase used in relation to economic development in India. With the rise of bean to bar makers, 100% truly indian chocolates are now being offered. These chocolates made from bean to bar, use only indian ingredients starting from cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter. Most equipments used are Indian. Indian Stone grinders make for an interesting equipment used for processing. Even the packaging material is 100% made in india. Hence consuming an indian origin bean to bar chocolate helps India remain atmanirbhar and greatly reduces the reliance on imports. The value is generated in india and is consumed in india and hence helps india remain self reliant. This is a very important contribution in helping build the economy.

  5. Supporting local artisans

    Prime Minister of India’s latest slogan “Be vocal about local” has certainly captivated the Indian audiences in the recent past, and rightly so! While chocolate is a lot of fun, making chocolate, especially when you start from cocoa beans all the way to the final chocolate bar, is a difficult job! Bean to bar chocolate makers find the right cacao, establish trustworthy relationships with cacao farmers and to plan the entire supply chain properly. Like for every artisan, precision and patience are keys in trying to achieve the best chocolate possible. Only true passion and the unending drive to supply great products can make them go through so many difficulties. The introduction of local flavours further add an element of innovation and make for interesting offerings. It is our national duty to support bean to bar chocolate makers!

  6. Supporting the Startup Ecosystem

    Startups are small companies but they usually play a significant role in economic growth of a country. Startups create more jobs and more employment means an improved economy. Not only that, startups also contribute to economic dynamism by spurring innovation competing directly with established and larger companies and increase healthy competition which propels consumer spending and hence contribute directly and indirectly to taxes. In the case of bean to bar chocolates, startups also help us expand the geographic reach of startups which are traditionally concentrated in urban areas.

  7. Facilitating innovation

    With an ability to make chocolate exciting again, bean to bar chocolate makers have complete freedom to experiment with outrageous flavours, designs, techniques and creations in all aspects and at each stage of the chocolate. This brings new dimensions of flavour, experience and innovation into the process and extends the reach of the category to more consumers.The Kocoatrait Spice Collection

Sustainable & Planet Friendly Indian Bean to Bar Chocolates
Video: Bean to Bar chocolate making journey

At this nascent stage of the bean to bar industry in india, one needs to be wary of claims that are being made by chocolate brands who wrongly position themselves as fine, craft or artisanal. While consumers tend to judge a book by its cover (literally), a pretty wrapper is not the best indicator of great flavour or pure craftsmanship. Working with industrially made bulk chocolate and simply melting it to be put on moulds is significantly easier than selecting, sourcing, sorting, grading, roasting, cracking and de-shelling cacao beans!

For Further details contact the author: L Nitin Chordia; +919600064846;

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Difference between Cacao and Cocoa

In india, traditionally, sab kuch chalta hai has been the usual expectation, approach and attitude of both consumers and brands towards claims that are made. The FSSAI and the Advertising Standards Council of India have stepped up a great deal to monitor cases of misleading advertisements and claims in the Food and Beverage sector. However, the recent honey episode clearly exposes how Indian consumers are known to have a careless attitude towards many purchases they make. They do not question most claims and hence many brands take advantage of the loopholes. Coming to the topic of this article, what is the difference between Cacao and Cocoa? Lets dive in!

In almost every consumer interaction I have had in the recent past, i have been asked a question about the difference between Cacao and Cocoa. To start with, the botanical name of the tree on which cocoa pods grow is Theobroma Cacao. It is the bitter seed of this fruit which is processed into chocolate starting from from Bean to Bar. The cocoa pod are first carefully harvested (cut from the tree) and then the pulp which coats the seeds is removed from the pods and put together in the fermentation box for fermentation for 5-7 days and then usually sun dried.

Untill this stage, most of the processes are natural and happen at the farm (except drying using artificial dryers in case of rains) and the beans are referred to as cacao beans. However, once the beans travel and reach the chocolate processing unit, the chocolate maker starts by grading and sorting the beans and roasting them. This is usually the 1st artificial step that is administered on the beans. Till before the roasting stage, the beans are referred to as Cacao beans. Once the beans are roasted, they are usually referred to as cocoa beans. Cocoa usually means beans that have been processed. Post roasting, cocoa (or chocolate) liquor is made by refining the beans and is then pressed to separate cocoa butter and the resultant powder. This liquor is NOT referred to as Cacao liquor, it is referred to as cocoa liquor because it is made from processed (roasted) beans!

As next steps, commercial chocolate manufacturers treat (alkalise) cocoa to get rid of the acidity and bitterness of low quality or mass produced cacao beans that are used. Alkalised cocoa is famously called as Dutch processed cocoa !!! With us being clear about the usage of the term cocoa, let us understand what cacao refers to! Cacao is used as a term for a product that is less processed than other products. To take an example of cocoa powder, if the powder is alkalised, it is called as cocoa powder. However, if it is not alkalised, it can be called as Cacao powder.

However, your insight and inquisitiveness should not stop here! Many health and nutritional experts refer to the usage of cacao as a superfood and in many of their recommendations and recipes without really expanding or explaining on what is the exact product they are referring to! It is researched extensively and believed that Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. However, most of the antioxidants are available in non processed cacao and the benefits reduce as they are further processed. This means RAW beans contain most of the benefits that have been researched! Roasting and alkalising it results in the most loss of antioxidants. However, we must remember that cacao also contains a lot of fat (50% by weight!). Hence it is useful to press out the fat from it. When pressed, the resultant product is powder. If the beans are not roasted (to retain antioxidants) and powder is pressed, the resultant product is RAW cacao powder and is believed to retain the most antioxidants and the most healthy! Hence it is best to use RAW cacao powder or RAW cacao nibs if the aim is to accentuate health benefits from cacao.

Bakers must also note that baking soda causes an increase in pH and subsequent destruction of flavanol compounds and antioxidant activity. Hence it is best to avoid baking soda in your healthy bakes.