DIY-chocolate production smells like strawberries.

 One of the World’s smallest chocolate factories is a new addition to the Copenhagen Meatpacking District.

Mads Stigborg - Bean Geeks

To call Bean Geeks a factory is almost toomuch. It is really a combination of shop/showroom/office and of course production area where the sounds of small spinning machines blend with rock music from the speakers. 

The factory Is situated in a corner of Mikkeller General Store where beer bottles, t-shirts, running gear, books and magazines and so on are sold. A third of the room is Bean Geeks area. Mads Stigborg – a former fashion photographer welcomes customers behind the counter made of tiles typical for the CopenhagenMeatpacking District. To be back in his home town making chocolate would however have been unthinkable just two years ago.  

Bean Geeks - Copenhagen

“I stumbled across craft chocolate in a local market in Costa Rica. I have always been interested in great food and quality in general but never really knew anything about chocolate until that day. I tasted it and thought, can you really make such a great product so simply? I visited the manufacturer, an American, who made his own chocolate in the middle of the jungle, and I decided that I had to do this as well. The American hooked me up with his supplier and so it began.”

The decision became a turning point. Not only for Mads Stigborg but also for his wife and kids. The family had taken a leap year travelling the World and had ended up in the Canary Islands. Never the less, Mads Stigborg, a photographer grown hungry for chocolate, decided to take his new found calling from Costa Rica to the Canary Islands to Copenhagen. 

Photo: Mads Stigborg

Photo: Mads Stigborg


“My idea was to go under the radar to learn the craft. The concept of bean to bar – a DIY approach to chocolate making that is a lot like the artisan coffee revolution 20 years ago – was really only just taking off in USA. Copenhagen being such a center for food entrepreneurs would soon follow, I thought. So I got the idea of working with Mikkeller, a company I really admire. I flew to Copenhagen for a meeting with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, bringing only a chocolate bar similar to what I myself would like to make. The message I got back was: Go learn the craft and come back when you’ve got your own product. I then spent six months in my kitchen in the Canary Islands with 50 kilos of raw cacao from Costa Rica and a lot of youtubing. When ready I went back to Copenhagen with 10 different chocolates and we signed the contract.”

Photo: Mads Stigborg

Photo: Mads Stigborg

Today Mads Stigborg is still working with his original supplier. Through a Mikkeller contact however he has also teamed up with a fellow Dane who in Guatemala grows a very unique, fruity cacao which smells and tastes like strawberries. A perfect addition to his much more nutty Costa Rican cacao. Mads Stigborg is now looking for a third supplier, which is quite a challenge when you want to get only the most unique cacao and also know the farmer personally. 

In the meantime he has just added freshly roasted cacao nibs to his lineup. A product not available anywhere else in Copenhagen. This as well as samples of his bars can be found on the counter at the factory. On a black board he has drawn the process of making chocolate and he is happy to share information on when the cacao is harvested, fermented, shipped and so on. 

“The concept of bean to bar is really to be completely transparent. It is also then much easier to explain how simple good quality can be. The World is full of chocolate producing companies but the industry adds so many ingredients that the basic product becomes something else. To me it’s not chocolate anymore. It’s candy.”

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