Yelp is all about connecting people with great local businesses, and we recognize that these businesses — led by artisans, doers and creators of all kinds — are the lifeblood of our communities. So we choose a few small biz badasses from around the world each month to spotlight and learn from.
Allow us to introduce Adam and Kristen Kavalier, founders of Undone Chocolate located at Union Kitchen in Washington, DC. Undone Chocolate is a bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker that prides itself on creating small batch chocolate with beans sourced directly from small producers.
Why did you create Undone Chocolate?
Undone Chocolate began as a way to share our passion for simple, flavorful, healthy chocolate with family and friends. It was very well received and grew into something we wanted to share beyond our home. It came out of a scientist’s curiosity and turned into a passion for learning and teaching about the mysteries of cacao and chocolate — a story that is lesser told. Beginning in a Manhattan apartment with chocolate tastings and fondue parties, the production grew to a point where we had to take it outside of our home and into a commercial space. We returned home to D.C. where we continue to grow as a local representative of a nationwide movement. There is a revolution of craft chocolate taking shape in the U.S., and we are happy to represent D.C.
If customers come away knowing just one thing about your business, what do you want that message to be?
That chocolate is complex and beautiful. There is a tremendous story behind the producers and the makers. There are more than nine steps in chocolate making, and it takes more than a month to go from a cocoa pod to a chocolate bar. That complexity is mesmerizing and beautiful.
What do you do to make sure you are regularly inspired?
We continue learning. Tasting, reading, speaking, listening. There is constant input and sharing. Working out of Union Kitchen, a kitchen incubator in Ivy City, has also been inspiring. We are growing among several other food startups, all learning the same lessons and being inspired by the same values.
What makes you most excited about having Undone Chocolate in Washington D.C.?
Washington D.C. is ripe for craft foods, yet there is very little known about craft chocolate here. We are here to tell the story and expose people to the lesser known side of this food. Everyone has tried chocolate here, but only a few know where it comes from and how it is made. This is new in D.C., and our customers have been as excited to learn as we have been to teach them about it.
What does a typical day entail for you?
Grinding chocolate, tasting chocolate, talking chocolate, meeting customers, working with my employees (who are incredible).
How has customer feedback shaped and been incorporated into your business?
We are constantly speaking with our customers, sharing our stories and listening to theirs. Chocolate is our form of communication. We have learned a tremendous amount, and our business continues to evolve from what our customers teach us. We are also planning classes and tours; these are things our customers are extremely interested in. These should start just in time for Valentine’s Day.
What do you want the future to hold for Undone Chocolate?
We have just expanded into our Ivy City location where we have begun playing with additional cacao origins and products. We are now launching a Wild Amazonian Bolivian bar, which plays a significant role in preservation of the Amazon rainforest and local economies in the Beni region of Bolivia. We are also releasing a thick drinking chocolate made from single origin direct trade cacao from Ecuador. Through these types of products we are able to support sustainability and local economies at origin. Our new products are available at Union Kitchen Grocery, Glen’s Garden Market, Cocova and Compass Coffee. We are also available at Mom’s Organic Market, Yes Organic Market, Each Peach and other local specialty shops.
Undone Chocolate’s sweet future includes more tastings, tours and classes, bringing more chocolate to the good people of D.C.!
This past year, Undone Chocolate treated the Yelp DC Elite Squad to a downright geeky and informational Science of Chocolate class. And of course there were lots of tasting afterward! Read more about that here.