New ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate shop opens in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood


Spinnaker chocolate prides itself on only roasting the nibs of the cocoa bean #k5evening

SEATTLE – At Spinnaker Chocolate, details are everything.

The cocoa beans are sorted mechanically and then checked again by hand. The “bad grains”, which means that they are not properly fermented, are filtered out.

Spinnaker Chocolate opened late last year in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.

Kelly and Chris Van Arsdale are the brothers behind the business.

For them, making chocolate started out as a hobby that quickly turned into an obsession.

“It was how to improve that part and how to improve that part,” Kelly explained. “We just had this end goal of how to make the best chocolate possible.”

The Van Arsdales call what they do here “Bean to Bar”.

“We don’t roast the whole bean like a lot of other chocolate makers,” Kelly explained. “We only roast the nibs which are the flesh of the bean.”

The Van Arsdale brothers made many of the factory machines themselves, as well as a few other factory gadgets. It is said that there is not a lot of equipment on the market for small chocolatiers.

“I love working with my hands and have always been very tactile. I used to work in the tech industry and hated it and started doing something with my hands,” said Kelly.

And those hands help produce great chocolate – over 12 different varieties, from places like Belize, Madagascar, Trinidad, Colombia and Uganda.

And some have inclusions like the feathers themselves, bee pollen and sea salt

But the most popular is infused with bourbon.

“We roast nibs in bourbon for 14 hours and make chocolate from there. It’s fascinating because it tastes like you’ve had a sip of bourbon while you’re eating chocolate,” said Kelly.

In addition to selling chocolate, Spinnaker offers tours of its chocolate factory. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at how they go from bean to bar.

A feast for the taste buds and a feast for the eyes.

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