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!
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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!
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!
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.
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. :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)