Frequent Asked Questions

Additional information links:

Chocolate Specifications

Working with Chocolate

DOES SBC TESTS FOR HEAVY METAL?

Yes. See link for more information: Heavy Metal Information

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEGAN CACAO POWDER AND RAINFOREST CACAO POWDER?

1) Rainforest cacao powder: Organic certified, brown color, perfect in hot coffee and bakery - no alkalization and most popular with manufacturers and as a result our highest volume seller by several tons more than out other powders. Low fat cacao powder with no added soy or emulsifiers. Mixing with liquids still requires agitation as a result but mixes more easily than a higher fat style cocoa. The lower fat content creates a more concentrated bitter flavor profile. The more concentrated flavor profile saves money in manufacturing as you will use less by weight in production to achieve the desired chocolate flavor profile. The higher concentration also means higher ORAC value. This is the type of cacao powder specifications used in several NIH research on antioxidant value and possible health benefits for humans.
For making Unsweetened Drinking Chocolate: Most popular in making hot chocolate, requires full frothing and blending for best results, organic and fairtrade certified, requires the addition of sweetener as none is included, no alkalization, most popular with coffee shops and restaurants.
 
2) Vegan cacao powder: Gmo free, striking deep dark red color, delightful in smoothies and decorations or truffles -  no alkalization and most popular with home users. This has a higher cacao butter content in this powder so mixing with liquids will require a blender or a shaker cup. If you see clumping even after mixing in a liquid, this is generally the cacao butter fat.
Cacao Butter information link: Cacao Butter
 
It is all cacao powder. All of our cocoas are cacao powders by nature of handling - we market using cocoa terminology for specifications under FDA requirements. 

CAN I PICK UP MY SANTA BARBARA CHOCOLATE ORDER?

Thank you for your interest in our chocolates.
Our offices are in 805 but we don't offer shipping or pick up at the locations. We do offer online ordering with FedEx delivery. Our warehouse locations that ship chocolate orders are outside of the 805 area. Please order from our website to get cacao and chips. Keep in mind, regardless of order quantity, you can opt for our special flat rate shipping or our FREE Shipping option when you get $50 or more of our chocolate online. We include FREE ice and insulation on all orders during hot weather. If you'd like samples along with your order, please mention the sample types requested at checkout in the notes section.

WHAT'S THE 100% CHOCOLATE DIFFERENCES?

The difference between the 100% types is in the cocoa bean variety we use in making the types of 100% or unsweetened chocolate. The nuances are subtle, but for those who tend to study chocolate, they can recognize the flavor notes of fudge versus fruity or nutty.
 
Here are our unsweetened 100% types of chocolate:
  1. Organic chip, mild, fudge like, Fair Trade: Cacao 100% chocolate 
  2. Organic chip, mild, lightly fruity, Fair Trade: Chocolate liquor
  3. Organic chip, special fermentation method to enhance intense cocoa flavors - mild wet, fruity flavors are present, Fair Trade: Cacao Paste
  4. Organic Criollo Cacao wafers from the Amazonas headlands. Real Criollo, the rarest variety, an heirloom cacao. Nutty, smooth and lightly bitter. Ethical Trade, Parve and Certified Vegan: Criollo Cacao
  5. Whole Cacao Fruit Chocolate small wafers are sweet and 100% cocoa fruit ingredients. This is the highest antioxidant chocolate we offer. Slightly sour and tart, it is one of our favorites: Cacao Fruit Chocolate 
More information on cocoa bean flavor profiles: Cacao Flavors

HOW WE SHIP CHOCOLATE TO WARM CLIMATES?

We ship with free ice and insulation with every order during higher heat and have great luck with no melting. Please follow the tracking email we send so you know the schedule of delivery. We can ship to your home or office. It is important to retrieve the chocolate package from the doorstep and not leave it there for a longtime if you are not home to receive the order. Basically you don't want the package to sit in the sun if your front porch is not shaded and cool.
We securely pack your chocolate products using a combination of insulation materials and ice packs when we deem it necessary during hot weather as a free service to you, regardless of the shipping method you choose. We recommend you opt for the most expeditious shipping method available when ordering online to minimize any chance of melting chocolate during transit. Due to the perishable nature of our products, we CANNOT offer refunds nor can we accept returns.
Please read our Terms & Conditions

DOES SBC OFFER CHOCOLATE SAMPLES?

If you place an order for a particular type of chocolate, we can include additional free samples of other types in with your package. At checkout mention the samples you'd like in the notes section.
Bulk prices are those listed online on the larger boxes (i.e. 22lbs and 66lbs). We do our best at offering you the lowest possible price for the highest quality chocolate with the best service in the industry. 
If you would like to order a pallet of 500lbs we can offer an additional discount on the largest case size you see listed online. We can also offer direct shipping to each location of your business or franchise so as to minimize logistics cost from your main warehouse. We do not have will call or pick up arrangements as all orders are shipped by registered, certified common carriers like FedEx or USPS.
 
Our flat rate shipping special is only $9 on any package or Free on chocolate orders over $50. We don't charge for ice or insulation either.
 
Santa Barbara Chocolate Co. has been built on quality chocolate and the best customer service.  

IS SBC FAIR TRADE?

Santa Barbara Chocolate purchases ingredients that are always certified by an internal audit or third party audit that ensures fair and ethical farming and growing. Fair Trade USA is our main certifier with ingredients under FLO registration. The companies we trust and use for certification and audits: UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, FairTradeUSA, Fair Trade, Cocoa Horizon, Cocoa Trace and Ethical Trade. Additionally, we follow the protocols set under the cacao growing region's living wage standard when buying cacao through third party agents.

The links below have more information including a video showing the farmers who grow the cacao:

CHOCOLATE TEMPERING

All of our chocolates are natural and pure made with cocoa butter and cacao - pure cocoa beans (we temper the chocolate before shipping). Because we don't add in oils, once melted and to be used for candy making in moulds, you will need to temper our chocolate: https://www.santabarbarachocolate.com/easy-chocolate-tempering/ Most home chocolatiers do not temper the chocolate because the chocolate is not required to have a long shelf life like it is required to have in a business environment. Home chocolatiers opt for a low temperature and indirect heat melting process instead of tempering.
 
Our Brazilian compound coating is made with cacao and palm (not hydrogenated, not fractionated) and this does not require tempering. Please see this category for melt and use options (in moulds, shapes, dipping etc): Brazilian Compound. The Brazilan compounds are best to use if you do not want to temper for making shapes and filling moulds.
 
For baking, ganache, frosting, in cookies no tempering is required so you can use whatever type of coating or chocolate you'd like.
 
All chocolates based on cocoa butter (you can find them listed in this category: Chocolate) will have to be tempered again once melted if you want the chocolate to set up hard and shiny in candy making production with moulds (tempering of course is not necessary in baking, cooking, as inclusions like chips or chunks). Only products with added vegetable oils and reduced cocoa butter can be melted and will set up without tempering in candy making processes (these under FDA terms are not considered chocolates but rather compounds). 
 
In frosting or coating - our chocolate does not require tempering.
Making bark - if you melt low and then set made bark in the refrigerator it will set up without tempering but may have some slight cocoa butter separation.
Moulding chocolate shapes - chocolate will require tempering or use the Brazilian Coating that does not require tempering.
Sugar bloom is related to moisture while fat bloom is related to temperature or oxidation. Viscosity issues can also be related to temperature control and tempering process.

CFU vs NCFU

All tests for CFUs are this way and all chocolate is tested this way and in proper scientific test results will show the same baseline. Here is a further explanation from the department below.

Results of less than cfu/g – written as ‘<cfu’

Results that say: <1cfu/g : You can’t get less than 1 colony-forming unit. It’s either there, or it’s not.

What this means is that the lab has not seen any colony-forming units. But, they can’t say that the result is ‘0’ (zero), as every test has an inaccuracy.  By reporting <1cfu/g, the lab is saying that there is an inaccuracy of 1 in that test, but essentially that the result was 0, because they couldn’t find anything on the testing plate.