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New 'Bean to Bar' Chocolate Factory opens in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood

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

SEATTLE — At Spinnaker Chocolate, the details are everything. 

Cocoa beans are mechanically sorted and then checked again by hand. "Bad beans," meaning 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 enterprise.

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

"It was how do we make this part better and how do we make that part better," Kelly explained. "We just had this end goal of how do we make the best chocolate possible." 

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

"We don't roast the whole bean, which a lot of other chocolate makers do," Kelly shared. "We just roast the nibs which are the meat of the bean."

The Van Arsdale brothers made several of the factory's machines themselves, along with a few other gadgets in the factory. They say there's not a lot of equipment on the market for small chocolate makers. 

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

And those hands are helping produce great chocolate — more than 12 different varieties, from places like Belize, Madagascar, Trinidad, Columbia, and Uganda. 

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

But the most popular is infused with bourbon.  

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

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

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