In this Customer Story, we catch up with Katie, founder of The Chocolate Club and a Hong Kong chocolate connoisseur. In an exclusive interview, she shares her passion and obsession for craft chocolate and how she turned “interest” into “opportunity.”
As a food product developer for a confectionery trading company from the UK, Katie was responsible for developing a new brand of chocolate called “Awfully Chocolate.” During this time, she researched the needs of the Hong Kong market, which helped her gain a professional qualification from the Chocolate Tasting Institute in London.
Unveiling the Mysteries of Craft Chocolate
Katie had never thought about the importance of cocoa beans in chocolate until she watched a TV documentary on the complex processes behind each chocolate. The variety of cocoa beans, how they are grown, and how they are processed give the chocolate a different flavour and texture. Since then, the idea of craft chocolate became Katie’s “best friend.”
Before starting her own business, Katie often rented temporary booths with her friends to share various kinds of chocolate and knowledge. She enjoyed seeing customers get hooked on chocolate, and the satisfaction led her to start her own business.
The Chocolate Club was set up to share and convey the right knowledge of chocolate and enable Hong Kong chocolate lovers to taste a variety of craft chocolate from different countries. Katie realized that most people assumed a higher concentration of chocolate meant better quality. However, this is not the case. Good quality chocolate depends on many factors, such as where it is made, how it is grown, how it is made, and even the packaging design.
Since starting her The Chocolate Club, Katie often does food tasting workshops in cafes or supermarkets to communicate with the public. Impacted by the epidemic, Katie turned to online tasting workshops that allowed customers to get their tasting kits by delivery or self-picking, so they can learn at home.
Craft Chocolate and Climate Controlled Storage
According to Katie, preserving the chocolate’s temperature is crucial and always her biggest challenge, especially on hot summer days. Generally, craft chocolate requires temperatures between 18°C and 20°C. To maintain the chocolate’s best quality and taste, she must use ice packs to keep the chocolate in good condition. Katie realized that she needed storage with climate-control for her chocolate.
In 2013, due to the lack of space for storing chocolate and strict requirements on environmental hygiene, Katie visited different self-storage companies to evaluate her options. Finally, Katie settled for Cube Self Storage since Cube provides 24/7 climate control and a professional storage environment. Besides that, the helpful Cube staff also tipped the scales for Katie, who remains a customer till today.
“When someone thinks of Chocolate, I hope they will think of The Chocolate Club first.”
The Chocolate Club offers chocolates from all over the world, such as Dandelion Chocolate from San Francisco, Kad Kokoa from Thailand, Fu Wan Chocolate from Taiwan, and To ‘ak from Ecuador. Katie’s biggest wish is that The Chocolate Club can become the most trustworthy chocolate platform so that customers can taste the best quality and delicious chocolate.
Katie promises that The Chocolate Club will make ongoing efforts to search for the best chocolate available in the market, providing Hong Kong with more boutique chocolate choices and bring new ways for customers to enjoy chocolate.
Images source: The Chocolate Club