It’s pure joy in every bite and it comes from passion. But for Theo Chocolate, it’s about more than chocolate. It’s about the land, the people, the dedication and the interconnected relationships that bind us all.
It’s why Theo chocolate founder, Joe Whinney first pioneered the supply of organic cocoa beans into the United States in 1994. Traveling and working in the tropics of Central America and Africa, he fell in love with the land and the people farming there. He recognized an injustice in the way that both were being exploited and wanted to do something to make a difference.
Over the next decade, Joe worked tirelessly to champion organic cocoa beans in the U.S. and promote Fair Trade practices for the people farming those beans. He built lasting relationships and deep trust with farmer groups—all the while focused on the goal of someday making chocolate himself and sharing his passion with the world.
Joe relocated along with co-founder Debra Music from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Seattle in the summer of 2004. Debra’s background in social marketing and consumer brand building were a perfect complement to Joe’s expertise in the sphere of sustainability. Together they spent two years creating the Theo brand concept and building the factory along with a small team.
In March of 2006, their dream came to life with Theo’s inaugural run of organic chocolate—the first made here in the U.S. Then, as now, Theo chocolate comes from only the purest ingredients grown in the most sustainable ways possible. Everything we make and sell meets the highest standards for organic, Fair Trade and Fair for Life.
For us, chocolate isn’t just a product, it’s a journey from bean to bar. And while its heart is with the beans themselves, and the places where they’re grown, what we do with those beans is just as important. For Theo, being a “bean to bar chocolate maker” goes beyond words on a label. To us, it means deliberate and thorough stewardship at every stage in the agricultural and manufacturing process.
Every aspect of our manufacturing process is controlled by us. That means we can guarantee that every step, every ingredient, everything that goes into each bar is as special as the beans themselves. We strive to be the most progressive chocolate maker in the country. Our efforts are validated with rigorous third-party certifications. We were the first organic, fair trade certified chocolate maker in North America, and we remain committed to pushing the industry forward today.