T-BROS is a Vietnamese craft chocolate maker. Their name means "Cacao Brothers Company" bonded together by a common enthusiasm and pride for Vietnamese products and people. They work side by side with cocoa farmers to promote Vietnam's cacao heritage. Their production is focused on bean to bar chocolate, truffles, cocoa powder, and other semi-finished products. But they also have in mind to launch vinegar and cacaocha (cacao tea).
T-BROS have won a total of 12 awards from Chocolate Competitions around the world:
1 Bronze medal from the Academy of Chocolate held in the UK;
3 Silver medals and 7 Bronze medals for chocolate products and chocolate drinks from the Academy of Chocolate held in the UK;
1 Silver medal for a chocolate drink from the Chocoa Festival held in Amsterdam (Netherlands);
2 Bronze medals for chocolate products from the Academy of Chocolate held in the UK.
One of the founders, Truong Minh Thang told me:
One day in 2013, I was reading news about cocoa beans and I found out Vietnam is renowed as one of the most flavorful cacao origin in the world. Although there are fine cocoa beans, no many VIETNAMESE companies made fine chocolate and got international chocolate awards. Therefore, I decided to get into craft market.
Just in April 2017, after 4 years of studying and dedication, the founders - Truong Minh Thang and his classmate Nguyen Duy Thong - established "ANH EM CACAO VIETNAM CO. LTD" with the T-BROS trademark.
They have specific aims to pursue:
Become the worldwide leader in the supply of cocoa beans and bean to bar chocolate;
Support farmers to develop their techniques. Improving the process of handling cocoa beans. Bringing products originating from Vietnamese agricultural products to domestic and foreign customers;
Continuous innovation and improvement.
T. M. Thang described to me specifically:
Our mission is to build sustainable supply chain from cocoa tree to chocolate bars: buy directly and pay higher price to farmers; create fine cocoa beans following fermentation and drying T-BROS protocols; make fine chocolate from fine cocoa beans that we produce. Right now I am all about release new flavour with local ingredients or combine Vietnamese cuisine and chocolate appliyng new fermentation and drying method. I am definetely looking for new customers, new markets for both things: beans and bars.
I asked them about their packaging and their designer:
He is a freelancer who loves our chocolate. He helped us to create packaging from new material, bringing out the Vietnamese soul. He took 6 months to apply his innovative idea using nipa palm. Since I always to think about healthy, environment and sustainability for any products I make, I am very proud of the result because of the unique and eco-friendly aspect.
It is also logical to wonder how do they source their beans, mainly TRINITARIO variety:
Our flagship origin is DAK LAK which is the favorite among our customers. I buy pods directly from farmers which are then transported to my station in order to be processed based on our fermentation and drying method. The cocoa beans capacity is 20 ton per year. About other origins, I look for new fine beans from a few farmers to support and encourage them to guarantee high quality. But I already offer BA RIA and TIEN GIANG options.
Again, T. M. Thang shared with me some other detailed information:
Harvest: from November to June Fermentation (Wooden Box): 5,5 days Turning: 4 times Drying (Direct Sun): 6 days (or longer if the weather is cloudy) Roasting: 125 C, 20 mins Conche: 4 days About the ingredients: besides cocoa beans, I use cane sugar from Vietnam supplier and cocoa butter is extracted from my cocoa beans. About the equipment, I source it local suppliers. Only the temper machine is bought from FBM.
Honestly, I am amazed they sent me samples: from single-origin bars to interesting inclusions, they left me speechless.
About my tasting experience, I am moreover astonished and especially delighted for some inclusion bars. Whether we are talking about plain or flavored selection, T-BROS chocolate is far from a sweet chocolate treat. The single-origins flavor profile is peculiar because of the smoke, earthy, resinous, dark roast with a rich charred taste. Just the Dak Lak exhibits a honey-like background. But I want to highlight the ones I wish to try again:
CA PHE 67%: if you love BLACK COFFEE, I highly recommend this bar. It is distinguished by a very low sweet profile. I am gobsmacked by the perfect combination of elements, and despite the low cacao content, it is the best coffee bar I have ever tried. See I can also appreciate some sweet treats but my morning espresso is UNSWEETENED. In this case, the maker fulfills all my expectations: a well balanced naked espresso shot with a thick layer of cream on top! Of course, it all depends on how you like your coffee. Mine has to be bitter, pungent, sharp, smoky, spicy, floral, chocolatey, nutty. Ingredients: cacao beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar, 5% arabica coffee. The inclusion mellows the strong flavor profile of their chocolate adding aromatic acidity background and a pungent finish (peppery-spicy like). Pure and neat tasting experience. But who wants to wake up in the morning with more complications! Remember: COFFEE MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO GET OUT OF BED BUT CHOCOLATE MAKES IT WORTHWHILE!
Houjicha 63% - Ingredients: cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar, 2.3% Houjicha. We are talking about Vietnam chocolate and ROASTED Japanese green tea made with bancha tea leaves (summer tea). It is very popular because of its low caffeine content. The powder style has mellow-sweet-nutty-smoky flavors. Both elements are perfectly combined with each other to create an authentic tasting experience. The palate is warm and seductive with velvet and smooth tannins. Mellow, rich, and sweetish mouthfeel at the same time.
Coconut Milk 55% - Ingredients: cacao beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar, 22% coconut milk powder. Let me ask you something, are you familiar with coconut butter to spread made with 100% coconut flesh? Whatever your answer is, this is the best vegan-dairy free-nut free-coconut milk I have ever tasted until today: rich tropical, floral, and vanilla flavors. I encourage you to take the opportunity to discover a magnificent version of "Coconut Chocolate Blondies".
MALT 70% - Ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, 9% malt. Another crunchy "titbit" branded T-BROS. It fully displays an extraordinary harmony between the powerful aroma and its warm rich sweetish palate (nutty, toast, caramel, coffee).