To celebrate the cocoa bean-to-chocolate bar journey by means of creating innovative chocolate items that uplift and bring joy to cocoa farmers, chocolate consumers and the artisans who create these items.
The Chocolate Lab uses single-origin chocolates, many of which are manufactured entirely in cocoa-growing countries-of-origin. For many years, cocoa has been cultivated in one part of the world and chocolate manufactured in another and this disparity has lead to unequal distribution of the value created. Consequently, we haven't reached the full economic and culinary potential of this magical and mythic bean, accoridng to Chef François Kwaku-Dongo.
By showcasing companies that support fair and transformational business practices (sucha s companies that make the chocolate in the country-of-origin) we more closely link farmers to consumers, creating new value in traditionally agrarian economies, so farmers can capture price premiums and secure price stability allowing them to invest in lifelong education, grow better products and secure a better life for their family.
Our artisans in the Chocolate Lab transform our "beyond fair trade" chocolate into delicacies for all to enjoy. They love to share the story of the bean-to-pleasure journey as you watch them practice their craft.
Chef François Kwaku-Dongo was raised on his grandmother’s cocoa farm in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, where there is an estimated 2 million cocoa farms producing over 2.6 million tons of cocoa annually. In addition to François’ accolades as a first-rate chef, and his tenure at Spago restaurant in West Hollywood and Chicago, François serves as the culinary director for The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, producers of premium, fair trade chocolate products distributed around the world.
Chef Didier was born in France, where he studied classical cooking at the famed Nice Professional Trade School. After graduating as one of the top students he was allowed to complete the Pastry program under Chef Louis Franchin (only 3 students each year are hand-picked by Chef Franchin). Upon completion Chef Berlioz honed his craft at some of the best rastaurants of the French Riviera (La reserve de Beaulieu, L'Oasis of laNapoule and The Negresco Hotel of NIce). He was ready to come to American to fulfull his legacy.
Chef Didier traded in his consultant cap to take on a beautiful project. Under Chef Francoise Kwaku-Dongo's leadership, Chef Didier oversees the dessert scene for Eleven14 Kitchen and Chocolate Lab, both inside the J House Hotel. The reastaurant features seasonal American cuisine and delivers fresh farm-inspired meals that reflect the region's seasonal bounty. The Chocolate Lab, Chef Francois's vision, showcases farmers striving to create sustainable living in their country of origin. The chocolate is transformed into delectable confections before the guests' eyes s Chefs own their craft on-site making candies, gelato and answering guest enqueries.
What Makes Our Coffee Different at Chocolate Lab?
The time and attention paid to each detail in the steps of extracting the flavors and aromas of expertly-sourced and roasted coffees from around the global coffee kaleidoscope.
What We Offer
Traditional Brew, Pour-Over Method, Espresso Extraction, Siphon Method Extraction
We use an approach to espresso called 'Ristretto'.
A Ristretto shot is a short, dark, rich, almost thick-like-honey coffee experience. Our freshly pulled Ristretto is essentially all Crema when compared to a 'traditional' 2oz espresso.
To achieve this effect, we use the weight of a standard double espresso (approx. 18g) and push through the coffee less than the volume of water for a standard single espresso. We do this in a timeframe of 25-30 seconds from start to finish. The result is 1-1.75 fl oz of coffee that can be described as bolder, fuller, and showing more body with less bitterness.
The reason for this coffee epiphany is that hte water comes in contact with the coffee for a much shorter time period than other espresso methods. In turn, less of the bitter caffeine is extracted and instead more of the flavorful coffee oils are what dominate this not-to-be-missed fancy.
Our approach to single-cup, brewed-to-order goodness!
Using single origin, Direct or Fair Trade Certified coffees, we literally 'pour water over' your choice of our ever-changing global selection. From the first 20-second 'bloom' by the barista to the last sip from the cup, this brewing method is not to be passed up. Our Baristas are trained to understand and adjust to the nuanced flavors and aromas that each different coffee has to offer, and even the differences between the first day we receive the coffee, to the last bean in the bag. This cup is a journey, made just for you.
A Chemistry Lab gone crazy - originating somewhere in Germany in the late 1800s this method of extraction is the bee's knees for bringing out many of the floral, citrus, and other delicate notes within a coffee. Using thermal dynamics and all the stuff from science class that we logn forgot, we heat a glass bulb appartus filled with water, then add freshly ground coffee at just the right moment, and let the show begin! The resulting coffee from this method is an intense yet balanced coffee experience like no other; one that we are proud to be able to offer. But dont' take our word for it, come in and ask a barista today!