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Small bean-to-bar chocolate maker creating new limited-edition single-origin chocolate bar and expanding production!
Small bean-to-bar chocolate maker creating new limited-edition single-origin chocolate bar and expanding production!
153 backers pledged $17,308 to help bring this project to life.

About

$17,308

153

We did it! Thanks to everyone who supported our project! 

If you missed the Kickstarter, visit our website to learn more about Potomac Chocolate and to order our award-winning chocolate!

Summary

Potomac Chocolate is a small craft chocolate maker based in Woodbridge, VA, USA. I've been handcrafting award-winning chocolate from bean-to-bar in my home-based chocolate factory since 2010. The goal of this Kickstarter is to raise funds to help me bring Potomac Chocolate to more chocolate lovers, by upgrading my chocolate grinder, producing a new limited-edition single-origin chocolate bar, and updating my bars and packaging.

Chocolate in the grinder
Chocolate in the grinder

About Potomac Chocolate

Potomac Chocolate is a small, independent craft chocolate maker, run by me, Ben Rasmussen, in my home-based chocolate factory in Woodbridge, Virginia, located just south of Washington, DC.

This is me.  :)
This is me. :)

Potomac Chocolate started in 2010 with the seemingly simple goal of making great chocolate--the absolute best I can. I have been working at that goal now for seven years, and it is still what drives me. I make chocolate that I love and am proud of--chocolate that showcases the unique and varied flavors in the different origins of cacao (cocoa beans) that I work with and that are the core ingredient in my chocolate.

Over the past almost seven years, I have worked very hard to craft chocolate that meets these goals. Along the way, I have also continued to study, learn, experiment and taste to increase my understanding of chocolate and chocolate making. 

As part of this, I've ended up designing and/or building most of my own equipment, including simple things such as my vibrating table and mold warmer, to much more complex machinery, including my winnower, chocolate conche, and a roaster that is still in progress. The process of learning how these machines should work and building them myself has given me a much better understanding of the various processes involved in chocolate making, and a intimate familiarity with my equipment, its strengths and quirks. Ultimately, it's made me a better chocolate maker.

To see my whole process explained in excruciating detail, including most of my DIY equipment, please see 'The Process' page on potomacchocolate.com. 

My chocolate has been recognized and honored with several awards and many positive reviews. Most recently, my chocolate has been recognized with four 2017 International Chocolate Awards and a 2017 Academy of Chocolate Award. (To see a full list of awards and to read some of the reviews, visit this page on my site.)

This Kickstarter project will help me to grow Potomac Chocolate and will be used to purchase equipment and other materials that will enable me to grow my production and further improve the quality of my chocolate.

For more info on Potomac Chocolate, please see the video below, an episode of ABC News's show 'Garage Geniuses' or visit potomacchocolate.com. Also feel free to message any questions to me through Kickstarter or via email: info@potomacchocolate.com.

How Will the Kickstarter Funds Be Used?

1) New Grinder!

The first and main thing your support will go towards is a new, larger grinder. My current grinder (pictured below) has served me very well for the past 3 years. It is capable of refining 35-45 lbs of chocolate in about 48 hours. The new machine that I'd like to get is able to do about 75 lbs in that same amount of time (or maybe the same amount in half the time!). This will result in a huge increase in productivity, and will better fill my conche (the next step in the process), which is woefully underutilized with the current batch size. 

Larger batch sizes don't take a significantly larger amount of work on my part, so a larger grinder will make a huge difference, and enable me to produce a lot more chocolate in almost the same amount of time, with no reduction in quality.

2) New Molds and Packaging

Secondly, your support will let me to do something that I've dreamed of since starting Potomac Chocolate: have some custom molds produced featuring the Potomac Chocolate fish. I'm not kidding about how long I've wanted to do this; I've got drawings of possible mold designs from the earliest days of Potomac Chocolate.

More importantly for you, the chocolate lover, is that the new molds, besides being wicked awesome and everything, will also be larger! As part of this, my bars will be increasing in size about 20%--from 50g to 60g (or so), and will be wider and slightly thinner, resulting in a more pleasant tasting experience.

The new molds will also be higher quality than my current molds (injection-molded polycarbonate rather than vacuum-formed), which will result in an improved finish and shine on the bars.

Since the new bars will be physically larger, I'll need to update the packaging. I've decided to move to a resealable pouch that will be letterpress printed in-house. So, some of your Kickstarter support will go to acquiring the pouches, shipping boxes, etc. and oh yeah--a letterpress. :)

Here's a mockup of the current design of the new packaging:

New packaging mockup
New packaging mockup

3) A New Limited Edition Single-Origin Chocolate Bar

Last, but certainly not least, your support will go towards a new single-origin chocolate bar! Kickstarter supporters will have exclusive first access to this new bar before it is available on my site or in shops.

I've got my eye on a couple different origins that I'd love to work with, and if this Kickstarter is funded, I'll start acquiring samples and start testing. Once I've selected the new origin, I'll begin developing in earnest. A lot of the rewards are based around this new single-origin bar.

How can you help?

First and foremost, you can pledge your support and help me meet my funding goal. As you probably know, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal. If I make my funding goal, great! I'll get the funds necessary to purchase the new equipment and cocoa beans. If not, I get nothing and your credit card isn’t charged.

In addition to your financial support, you can help to spread the word about Potomac Chocolate and this Kickstarter project. 'Like' this page, Tweet and/or post to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. about this project! Every little bit helps!

Stretch Goals?

I’ve found that when it comes to making chocolate and running a small chocolate company that there's always something more to do--more cacao to try, more books to read, more tests to run, and more equipment to buy. There's always something to be done that could improve the quality of the chocolate or increase the production ability. 

If this Kickstarter is successful, I've got some stretch goals in mind that will help out Potomac Chocolate even more, and will result in increased rewards for everyone! 

Stay tuned!

Thank you for your support!

Please use the 'Ask a Question' button below the photos if you have any questions about Potomac Chocolate or this Kickstarter project! I'll answer your question and post it in the FAQ section if it will help others, too.

My current grinder
My current grinder

  

Cocoa Beans
Cocoa Beans

 

My current roaster
My current roaster

 

Winnowed nibs
Winnowed nibs

 

Emptying the grinder
Emptying the grinder

 

Molding chocolate bars with nibs
Molding chocolate bars with nibs

 

Example of the kind of letterpress I'd like to get.
Example of the kind of letterpress I'd like to get.

 

Risks and challenges

Since Potomac Chocolate is a currently operating chocolate maker, and I've had two successful previous Kickstarter campaigns, there isn't a lot of risk involved.

The worst risk is that depending on how long it takes to acquire cacao and develop the new origin bar, it could be that the rewards take a little longer to deliver than I'm planning.

Basically, unless I get hit by a bus or the earth is hit by a life ending meteor, there's not too much risk. :)

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Thanks! ...and a sticker!

    I'll send you a thank you note that I'll custom print on the new letterpress and signed by hand. Also, a cool sticker with the new Potomac Chocolate logo.

    Includes:
    • Thank you note
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Just a taste...

    You'll get two small tasting fish of the new origin chocolate. Tasting fish are kind of like tasting squares, only fish shaped!

    You'll also get a thank you note and logo sticker and, of course, my undying gratitude.

    Includes:
    • Single-origin Tasting Fish
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    20 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Potomac Chocolate T-shirt

    You'll get a T-shirt emblazoned with the new Potomac Chocolate logo. You'll also get the sticker and thank you note.

    Note that you can add a T-shirt to any reward by simply adding $35 (shirt + additional shipping costs) to your pledge amount.

    Includes:
    • Potomac Chocolate T-shirt
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    11 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    A couple bars!

    I'll send you two full bars of the new origin, molded in the new larger molds, and packaged in the new resealable packaging.

    You'll also get a nice thank you note and logo sticker and, of course, my undying gratitude.

    Includes:
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    29 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Double it!

    More chocolate you say? Great! You'll get four full bars of the new origin, molded in the new larger molds, and packaged in the new resealable packaging. Or, if you'd prefer, you can get two of the new origin and two of any of my other bars.

    You'll also get the thank you note and logo sticker and, of course, my undying gratitude.

    Includes:
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    25 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 105 or more About US$ 105

    Chocolate and a Shirt

    You'll get four bars of the brand-new single-origin chocolate bar (or you can mix and match with the new bar and my existing bars) and a T-shirt featuring the new Potomac Chocolate Logo.

    You'll also get the thank you note and logo sticker and, of course, my undying gratitude.

    Includes:
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • Potomac Chocolate T-shirt
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    15 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    Pure chocolate

    Even more chocolate? Check. You'll get two full bars of the new origin, and one each of my pure chocolate bars, including my three existing single-origin 70% dark chocolate bars, my 85% dark bar, and my 65% dark milk bar. All will be molded in the new larger molds, and packaged in the new resealable packaging.

    You'll also get the thank you note and logo sticker and, of course, my undying gratitude.

    Includes:
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • All pure chocolate bars I make
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    16 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 175 or more About US$ 175

    All the Chocolate Bars!

    SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE.

    I will send you four full bars of the new origin, and one each of all my other bars--all in the new larger molds, and in the new resealable packaging.

    This includes all of my single-origin dark chocolate bars, my single-origin dark milk chocolate bar, all of my inclusion bars (salt, coconut, sourdough, etc.), and any Limited Edition bars that I'm making at the time (Peppermint).

    And, of course, you'll get a thank you note and a Potomac Chocolate Sticker

    Includes:
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • All of Potomac Chocolate's Current Line of Bars
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    8 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Custom Wrappers with Your Design!

    I'll letterpress a custom design of your choice on my new resealable packaging. Put your name on them, or add a message and use as a corporate or personal gift, or as wedding favors! If you don't want a fully custom design, I'm happy to work with you to come up with a modification to my existing designs incorporating your custom design or message.

    The possibilities are endless!

    Includes 25 bars in the custom wrappers, thank you note, and a Potomac Chocolate logo sticker.

    p.s. If you want more than 25, message me and we can work something out.

    Includes:
    • 25× Chocolate Bar in Custom Letterpress-printed Packaging
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Visit Potomac Chocolate!

    You and a friend will come and tour my chocolate factory (humble, though it may be). I'll take you through the entire chocolate making process, and explain each how each step affects the final chocolate. You'll also get to see all of the equipment that your support of this Kickstarter helped to purchase.

    At the end of the tour, you'll go home with 2 of each of my bars, in the new molds and packaging, including the new single-origin bar.

    And, of course, you'll get a thank you note and a Potomac Chocolate Sticker.

    Includes:
    • Factory Tour
    • New Single-origin Chocolate Bar
    • All of Potomac Chocolate's Current Line of Bars
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Chocolate Tasting Party and Class

    I'll personally come and do a chocolate tasting/'Craft Chocolate 101' class for up to 12 people at your home or office. You'll learn about cacao, the chocolate making process, the history of chocolate, how to evaluate chocolate, and the differences between mass-produced and craft chocolates.

    And, of course, you'll taste a lot of chocolate! We'll taste all of my bars, including the new origin.

    Additionally, you'll receive two each of my full line of bars, including the new origin, the custom letterpressed thank you note, and a Potomac Chocolate sticker.

    (Washington DC area only, unless you're also willing to pay travel costs)

    Includes:
    • Chocolate Tasting Party
    • All of Potomac Chocolate's Current Line of Bars
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    4 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 450 or more About US$ 450

    Learn How to Make Chocolate

    You and a friend will come to my chocolate factory (humble, though it may be) and make chocolate with me. You'll get your hands dirty as we'll go in-depth through each step of the chocolate making process. At the end, you'll go home with two each of all my bars, including the new single-origin bar!

    Includes:
    • Make Chocolate With Me
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    4 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 900 or more About US$ 900

    Your Own Custom/Private-Label Chocolate

    You and I will work together to formulate a limited edition batch of chocolate made to your exact specifications and recipe. You'll decide the name, the recipe, cacao percentage, single-origin or blend, inclusions, etc. and I'll make it in my factory.

    Once complete, your bars will be packaged in custom letterpress printed pouches designed or personalized by you!

    This could be great for gifts or wedding favors, or for a small shop who wants to offer an exclusive bar of chocolate to their customers.

    Includes 60 finished bars, and test bars as necessary to perfect the recipe.

    Contact me if more bars are desired or to discuss details.

    And--don't forget--you'll get a thank you note and a Potomac Chocolate Sticker.

    Includes:
    • 100 Custom Chocolate Bars in Custom Wrappers
    • Potomac Chocolate Sticker
    • Thank you note
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    1 backer
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    One bar from every batch in 2018

    You'll get one bar from every single batch of chocolate I make in 2018.

    Every. Single. Batch.

    Of course that includes all of my normal production runs, but also any test batches of new cacao samples or inclusions, limited editions, etc. And to start, I'll send you four of the new origin bar as soon as it's ready.

    And, of course, you'll get a thank you note and a Potomac Chocolate Sticker.

    To save on shipping costs, note that the chocolate will be shipped in monthly shipments.

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Funding period

- (22 days)