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Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, CA

(This article appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

Adam Dick & Dustin Taylor, Owners

Company Mission

Our primary mission is to elevate the craft of bean-to-bar chocolate making, and always push finer processes to be able to make the best chocolate with a smooth texture. And push the envelope with new inclusions and new flavors that pair well with dark chocolate. Since inception 11 years ago we’ve been on a mission to enhance the craft of creating single-origin chocolate.

Signature Products

Our signature product is Black Fig, which has kind of become a cult classic – made with organic black mission figs paired with our two-ingredient Madagascar dark chocolate. Fleur De Sel is another one of our best-selling bars – really nothing beats salty and sweet.

Production Tip

Task specialization and division of labor –  you only want certain people to do certain tasks in a really highly skilled way. So, for example, we don’t hire chocolate makers, we hire a cacao roaster. We are not trying to create a jack-of-all-trades, we’re trying to create skilled artisans. What we bring to chocolate making is craftsmanship – an old-fashioned way of having employees take pride in exactly what they do, and to do it the best in the world.

Equipment ‘Must-Haves’

You need some type of dispersion mill that will refine each particle size and disperse the cocoa butter evenly throughout the matrix of the chocolate without overrefining the sugar. In the matrix of chocolate, each ingredient has unique physical properties that need to be refined differently. Cacao nibs have a fibrous structure, while sugar has a crystalline structure which is much easier to overrefine. We use a triple roll mill which is one of the most accurate ways to manipulate and control the particle size of each ingredient. The distribution and size of each particle controls everything in the final bar from melt to viscosity to mouthfeel.

Secret of Success

We are able to produce more consistent products than most because of our batch size and process. We have a very high level of technical execution. And enough equipment to process all the ingredients and process them well. We are one of the few small-batch chocolate makers that conche our chocolate. Conching is the final step in flavor development and is the main way to influence the organoleptic properties and rheology of the chocolate. The rheology (how it tastes, feels, and melts) is extremely important, especially to professional chefs who need consistency when using chocolate as an ingredient.

Future Goals

We have been growing as a manufacturing business and efficiency is #1 on the list. We are building a brand new 15,000-square-foot factory in Old Town Eureka on the waterfront, and in the new space, we’re working on becoming more efficient in all areas of the business, from customer tours to storing chocolate and shipping. We plan to release more panned goods, continue to release single-origin limited release bars and growing our retail space with more offerings like classes and tastings.

Visit www.dicktaylorchocolate.com/ for more info.

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