What’s the best kind of chocolate? That’s a question you might be asked when you participate in one of the monthly tours at Kyya Chocolate in Elm Springs.
The answer? That’s really an individual decision. Each person holds their own opinion about what makes the best chocolate.
The folks at Kyya Chocolate have found a way to pretty much guarantee that anyone tasting their chocolate will find an origin (flavor) that they consider “the best.” All of their single-origin, craft chocolate bars are handmade and each origin offers a distinct flavor despite the bars having the same basic ingredients. The secret is that the flavor changes based on where the cacao (pronounced ka-kow) bean was grown and harvested.
Kyya Chocolate, located in Elm Springs, was the first bean-to-bar chocolatier in Arkansas and they are one of a few chocolatiers in the country that owns a cocoa press. Kyya’s owners, Rick and Cindy Boosey, started making craft chocolate in 2012 but rebranded with the Kyya name after the original partnership under a different brand dissolved.
The Kyya brand was introduced in 2014 and grown drastically in volume and product offerings. They went from selling about 2,500 bars a month last year to now having the capacity to sell 18,000 bars a month in 2015. Kyya offers the bars, which are 2.8 ounces and have a suggested retail value of $5.95 each, in more than 30 locations in Northwest Arkansas, Little Rock and Tulsa. In late 2014, they introduced baker’s chocolate and recently started offering chocolate powders and chocolate syrups based on high customer demand. Their ability to provide the cocoa powder and syrups is possible because of the custom cocoa press.
Kyya Chocolate purchases its beans from farmers in four main countries: Uganda, Hispaniola, Madagascar, and Ecuador. They have a several special edition origins that they offer for special events and they collaborate with a growing number of other artisan food companies to create unique food products.
For Kyya, chocolate is a tool that supports communities. They offer more than fair trade prices for their cacao beans and the goal is to establish partnerships with 40 individual farmers across the globe from whom they will purchase their beans. They will work with those farmers to establish more sustainable growing practices and they will invest in the farmers’ communities with special projects.
Kyya is also deeply dedicated to its local community as it participates in many nonprofit events and offers increasing free opportunities for the public to learn more about chocolate (and taste it too!). The hosted an Easter egg hunt earlier this month and host monthly tours and tastings at their shop in Elm Springs. For more information about their events, visit Kyya on Facebook.