The Cosy Chocolate Company Q&A
The Cosy Chocolate Company is a small home-made hot chocolate business based in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside. They make and grate their own chocolate from raw ingredients, cutting out the middleman and producing rich, delicious chocolate flakes from their own bars. Read on to find out more about how the business is continuing to adapt, develop and evolve its products.
Please can you tell us a little bit about The Cosy Chocolate Company? How did it start?
We started the business in early 2019. My husband and I were passionate about hot chocolate (not being huge tea and coffee drinkers) and were always a little disheartened by the lack of ‘real hot chocolate’ available on the supermarket shelves. Matthew was already a keen experimenter with chocolate, and we both began investing time in creating our own drinking chocolate, using chocolate we had made ourselves from scratch.
We tried out our recipes on family and friends, and to our surprise, they all seemed to love it, and someone suggested we start our own business. I was between jobs at that point, and so… we decided to give it a go! The journey has been a roller-coaster, but it’s such a joy to be able to share our drinking chocolate with the public.
What is the positive impact of The Cosy Chocolate Company within Worcestershire?
We aim to use as many local ingredients as possible (which can be difficult when one of our main ingredients is cocoa!). For example, we use Droitwich Salt in some of our recipes, and when making up our hot chocolates as drinks to sample at food festivals, we always use Cotswold Dairy milk.
Our products are also stocked in several farm shops, delis and sweet shops around the county. We thoroughly enjoy building relationships with other business owners, and offering encouragement and recommendations, as they have so frequently given us. There’s a fantastic community of small food producers within the county, which we feel hugely privileged to be a part of. We feel that we produce an original product, unlike anything else crafted within the county, and being able to share that with the people of Worcestershire is a true joy.
What is innovative about The Cosy Chocolate Company?
We craft chocolate that is specifically designed for hot chocolate drinking. Because we craft the chocolate ourselves, we can control the cocoa butter and cocoa mass content and make it ideal for melting into milk. Having such control over our chocolate production means that our products can also be dairy free and vegan friendly, as we leave out the milk powder found in most chocolate, with the knowledge that the consumer will be mixing it with the milk of their choice (dairy or non-dairy) when they make their hot chocolate at home.
During the pandemic we’ve had to adjust in numerous ways to fit the uncertain economic climate. We began producing ‘comfort boxes’, using a number of products created by other small food producers, alongside our drinking chocolate, making a locally sourced gift hamper. These went down very well during the first lockdown! It was such a joy to also help support other small businesses like us with trade. We are now back to focusing on our products as the weather has turned colder!
How do you develop your products?
Our development process involves a lot of trial and error. After we released the first five flavours of hot chocolate which we considered to be our ‘flagship flavours’, we began asking customers at events which flavours they’d like to see. When we heard something that we thought would be good idea, we would begin making up test batches with different ingredients to find a way to make it taste delicious, and also original to us! For example, we’ve been experimenting recently with a coconut hot chocolate. We’ve tried coconut essence, desiccated coconut, coconut milk and coconut milk powder with our drinking chocolate. Still a little way to go on that one we think, we are always pursuing perfection in a mug!
How has the business changed and developed over the years?
The business began as a very small affair in our home kitchen. At the start, we knew very little about running a food business, and so many of the things we did took a lot of time and the chocolate making process lacked efficiency.
We’ve worked hard on these things and now we have a bigger team involved in the process, plus lots more machinery! We can produce our pouches a lot quicker than we did at the start, and we are constantly striving to improve quality, become more eco-friendly and pour more time and effort into product research and development, whilst also reaching more customers and growing our brand.
We’re about to take the big step of moving out into our own commercial premises, which feels like such an exciting leap. I’m sure there will be many changes ahead - but all the while keeping at the heart of it our passion for quality, hand crafted drinking chocolate.
What can we expect for the future of The Cosy Chocolate Company?
On the horizon currently sits a wider variety of ‘seasonal’ flavours, plus a new gift set range. We really want our customers to have the best experience making drinking chocolate at home, so equipping them with the tools that will make the process of making up a hot chocolate easier and smoother/frothier is a must for us.
We hope to be soon selling a selection of hot chocolate milk frothers and whisks alongside our products. We also want to invest further in the sourcing of our cocoa. It’s always been our dream to fly out to a country such as Madagascar (where we currently source our cocoa, responsibly) and start investing in small batch cocoa farms, helping to support cocoa growers in an industry that so often does not fairly pay its workers.
How can people find out more?
WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.
Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.
WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP