As co-founder of Cocoa Runners, Spencer Hyman has one of the most covetable job roles in the industry. Foraging out the finest craft chocolate in the world is his company’s modus operandi, and by jove do they do it well.
Aside from bringing the best bean-to-bar makers and their wares to an enraptured audience with an unrivalled subscription service, Cocoa Runners hosts tutored tastings and talks. It’s all-too-easy to get Spencer started on his specialist subject and rather difficult to get him to stop, so I simply sat back and let him tell me all about his year in chocolate…
Your highlights of the year?
Discovering great new cacao growers and chocolate-makers – Cocoa Runners has listed over 15 new makers this year. ‘Chocolate playlists’ and new countertop displays were two highly successful launches for us this year; seen at great London venues including Prufrock Coffee, Great Western Wines, Loki, Sourced Market, Colonna Small, and Proper Coffee.
We’ve also expanded both our own team – welcoming Sui and Catherine – and our chocolate tastings, which now include monthly samplings at Prufrock, plus many different pairing sessions with our new retail partners in London, Bath, Birmingham and Iceland. Wine, tea, coffee, rum, and whisky are just a few of the drinks we’re matching with craft chocolate.
The makers you think have done exceptionally well this year?
2016 has yielded a LONG list of wonderful new makers from all over the world; Yoon Kim (Smooth Chocolator) in Australia, Nakano-san (Cocoaen) in Japan, Luisa Abram in Brazil, Adam Kavalier (Undone) in the USA…
We are also really delighted to see so many emerging British makers – Damson Chocolate, Land Chocolate, Dormouse Chocolates, J. Cocoa, and Aztec Gold, to name but a few!
And we mustn’t forget the farmers – we’re currently excited by lots of new regions including Tanzania, the Solomon Isles, Australia and Hawaii.
Favourite chocolate creations you made in 2016?
Our craft chocolate boards – think the after-dinner, chocolate version of a cheeseboard. And, although not quite edible in themselves, I’d say our craft chocolate countertop displays and playlists, which enable independent coffee stores, wine stores and delicatessens to display their favourite 10-15 craft chocolate bars, definitely count.
2017 goals and plans?
To find more more great farmers, makers, and retail partners; and travel more so that I can visit more of our partners – perhaps to Japan, where I lived for almost a decade in the nineties, and where I’d love to return.
- To read more about Cocoa Runners’ Christmas Collection, click here
- To read more about Cocoa Runners, click here
- To read more about Dormouse Chocolates, click here
- To read more about Damson Chocolate, click here