Taza Chocolate Factory Tour

I’ve been seeing these round discs of Taza Chocolate in stores all over Boston, but I didn’t know what the big deal was. Then someone told me that Taza chocolate is made right here in Boston and that I could go on a factory tour, because it’s located in Somerville (which is right next to Cambridge). So one day last week, I headed on over for a tour.

Upon entering the store, I was immediately greeted by the smell of chocolate in the air. While I waited for the tour to begin, I wandered around the factory store.

There were samples everywhere, so I cheated and tried some Taza chocolate before the official tour (which also included many samples). And it was delicious.

I had been forewarned that Taza chocolate is Mexican stone ground chocolate and that it does not have the smooth texture of chocolate that most of us are used to. Here’s a picture of a stone, like the ones that are used to grind the cocoa beans.

Taza chocolate is meant to be melted and made into hot chocolate, but many people, myself included, enjoy eating it just the way it is. I actually enjoyed the grainy texture of the chocolate and liked the slight crunchiness of the sugar crystals and cocoa beans. The salted almond was my favorite. I LOVED the combination of sweet and salty and just a tiny bit of crunch.

The official tour started with some background on the company. This wall explains the bean to bar process for those who don’t take the tour or for those who just don’t listen to the tour guide.

Our first stop was the Roasting and Winnowing room.

In here we got to see the machines that are used. All of the machines were purchased used when the company opened in 2006, so many of the machines are quite old.

We were lucky, because roasting was in progress and we were even given fresh roasted cocoa beans to peel and taste. It was much too bitter for me, but it was interesting to get to taste a fresh roasted bean before it is turned into chocolate. We then visited the packaging room, which just looked like a room where boxes of chocolate are packed up. I was a little surprised at how small it was, since Taza is sent out to 48 states. I was also surprised to hear that the chocolate bars (not the discs) are packaged by hand!

Next stop-back to the store where there are windows into the factory and we could see the chocolate being made. Here the chocolate is being dropped (from a doughnut machine, also purchased used) into the molds.

This tour was definitely worth five dollars to see how the chocolate is made from start to finish. And for the plenitude of samples. I think I tasted almost every flavor that Taza produces. To be honest, I was feeling a little sick when I left. They don’t force you to eat that much chocolate, I just couldn’t turn down a free taste 🙂

And here’s a gift for my husband. Like how I chose my two favorite flavors to give to him?

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