Hi, my name is Sarah, I am the Brand Leader at Original Beans, and I am vegan.
That’s quite an upfront introduction, you might think, of someone we haven’t met yet. But to me, working at Original Beans and being Vegan go hand in hand. If it wasn’t for my diet, I would not be writing this Blog.
It's been almost ten years since I stopped eating animals and approximately four years since I last consumed an animal product. Like every other life decision, my breakup with cheese was shaped by many influences, but there was one major force, bigger than my appetite and any oh-so great looking creamy cake, which made me dump non-plant based foods for good: that force was Mother Earth.
"I could not continue to reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that the earth is warming because of human activity, my activities. If there are already 8 billion people and approximately 30 farmed animals for each and every of them, what would the world of my grandchildren look like?"
- Sarah Hoffmann
"After 250 hours of research and testing, including interviewing five baby wearing experts and walking over 100 miles in 15 wraps, slings, and meh dais, we think that the Gemlak Baby Carriers is the best"
I became a Vegan overnight when I finally decided to take as much responsibility as I personally could to stop the largest contributor of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water and air pollution. Food is the one choice we (in our countries) can influence daily.
So here I was in 2011, a food lover declaring a vegan lifestyle. What the Health, The Game Changers and Cowspiracy hadn’t been shot. Millions of plant-based cookbooks hadn’t been written. Social Media hadn’t been swamped with 30 sec “Vegan makes you look even better” videos. Restaurants and grocery stores had no knowledge and incentives to offer vegan options. I never asked for non-dairy milk in a cafe, since in my wildest dreams I never imagined the barista replying: “Sure, we have soy, almond, oat, hemp, hazelnut, rice or cashew. What would you like?”
How much the public consciousness has shifted in just one decade. And what good news that is. But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.
So a year ago I was looking for a place to work and make a difference beyond my own lifestyle choice. I wanted to set the tone and take action in the matters of more people. You might already guess where this is heading - yep, to this Blog post.
At Original Beans we aim to do as a company what I aim to achieve as an individual: regenerating what we consume. As Europe´s leading craft chocolate brand we can reach tens of thousands of producers, chefs and consumers.
For years, Original Beans has been setting new standards on regenerative consumption with products that regenerate the planet (biodiversity, climate, waste) as well as people (growers communities, consumers health). 80% of Original Beans chocolates are dark and as such, they are not only lower on sugar, but also free of dairy. A vegan chocolate heaven!
But how about taking some non-believers to heaven? Most people prefer sweeter and creamier milk chocolates. Most people are not Vegan. But can we make them participate nevertheless?
Taking people by the hand has always been Original Beans’ motto. You don’t have to be an environmentalist and still, we arrange to plant one tree for each bar you purchase. You don’t have to micromanage a compost heap in your kitchen garden, we guarantee that even if you add our packaging to the normal waste stream it is gone within a few months and doesn’t poison anyone.
Have you tasted any of the dozens of vegan chocolates on the shelf? Most of them are extremely sweet, weird flavoured and have a very long list of ingredients. At Original Beans, we have an ingredient mantra for all our products: “No more than four!”
Few people in the world of chocolate know more about those four than Vera Hofman, Original Beans’ taste and product leader. Vera has the perfect chocolate tastebuds. She picks up the smallest taste details. In many ways she is the antithesis of a Dutch woman: petite, lively, and totally into food. So much so that she changed the track of her career mid-ways to move from Holland’s leading professional training institute to Holland’s leading craft chocolate company.
Vera tells me that the first big hurdle in making vegan “m!lk” chocolate was the EU law. By law, a cocoa product is required to contain minimum 35% total cacao solids (including not less than 18% cacao butter and not less than 14% dry non-fat cacao solids) to be called chocolate. Of course, Vera would never make a “chocolate-like” product, but only the real thing.
From 2016 to 2019 she led our product development team through lots of experimentation. They ate their way through the vegan m!lk chocolates of the world, seeking inspiration from big commercial brands to small craft chocolate makers. They tried out recipes and tried again. None had THE X factor. Some were too fatty or too soft, some tasted too much of biscuit or others of caramel, some would not hold up to the required shelf life.
One day by mid 2020, Vera found her missing perfect protein: almond protein. Turns out, almonds are neither easy to source sustainably nor in good amounts and quality. Then, at the end of the year she got word from a colleague about a special quality source of almond protein - from a special organic almond project in Spain.
“Now we started all over again”, Vera says, “but this time with new fun and confidence.”
And here I am, ten years later, loving my life’s first vegan m!lk chocolate and thanking my colleagues for their persistence: not too sweet and creamy with a light delicate taste of almond gianduja, this is real chocolate. (It is also by law with 50% total cacao content!)
Delicious, vegan, climate-positive. Or: climate-positive, delicious, vegan. Turn it as you may, the Esmeraldas 50% Vegan M!lk is the kind of chocolate you want to take home.
Whether you eat vegan for the environment, for your health, or for animals, you have the power to change the world, simply by changing what chocolate and therefore what food you decide to consume. Taste the rare and preserve it!
To celebrate World Vegan Day, we’ve created these three chocolatey & vegan sets for you. It doesn't matter whether you’re vegan, flexitarian or freegan, because either way, you'll love every single set. Most of our products at Original Beans are naturally vegan - cacao is supposed to be pure and is most powerful on its own.