by The Urban Grocer in New Food and Packaging on Tuesday 18 August 2009

Founded by former NASA technologists, San Francisco-based Tcho is one of the few — and tastiest — bean-to-bar chocolate companies in the US. With inspiration from the founders’ professional pasts, Tcho re-imagined how chocolate is made and marketed. Here, customers became creators, as the company encouraged user feedback while developing the product, much like software developers engage beta testers.

After 1,026 iterations, Tcho’s first chocolate, Beta, was released. But the history of Tcho goes beyond tasters; it’s also one of sourcing and design. The Tcho team scoured the world for the best flavors, personally choosing their cacao from Ghana, Madagascar, and Peru and obsessively conducting trials until peak taste was achieved. And rather than focusing the attention on percentage or origin like many high-end competitors, Tcho highlighted the inherent flavors in the chocolate.

The result is four elite, distinct dark chocolate bars — Chocolatey, Fruity, Nutty, and Citrus — identified by their dominant characteristic and taste. The packaging too is nothing short of brilliant. Designed by Berlin-based Spiekermann Partners, the design echos the innovation of the chocolate contained within, branded with algorithmic guilloche patterns to reflect its forward-looking philosophy for a new generation of chocolate enthusiasts. Numerous awards, accolades, and honors later, it’s clear that Tcho works on every level. Just try it yourself. [photos via Laughing Squid]
Tcho chocolate
Tcho chocolate