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|Founder||Timothy Childs & Karl Bittong|
|Headquarters||3100 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA 94702|
|Marcel Bens (CEO)
Ben Fineberg (CFO),
Michael Deville (COO),Steve Gollob (CRO)
|Products||Chocolate, Drinking chocolate, Cacao nibs|
TCHO is a chocolate maker based in Berkeley, California that promotes itself as working with cacao bean farmers and cooperatives to improve growing, fermentation and drying methods. Its factory and headquarters were formerly located on Pier 17 along the Embarcadero, in the city’s historic downtown waterfront district, but are now located in the West Berkeley section of Berkeley, California. In February 2018, it was announced that TCHO will be bought by the Japanese confectionery company Ezaki Glico.
TCHO was co-founded in December 2005 by Timothy Childs, a technology and chocolate entrepreneur who once developed vision systems for NASA's Space Shuttle program, and Karl Bittong, a 40-plus year veteran of the chocolate industry. Karl Bittong specializes in the engineering aspect of chocolate production and has worked on factories around the world. Timothy Childs left TCHO in 2010 to create pioneering Food/Tech, business Treasure8. For a while, its CEO and President were Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, respectively, co-founders of Wired magazine as well as the first magazine website, Wired.com.
In 2006, the company moved to Pier 17, a historic pier built in 1912 and the third-oldest pier on the San Francisco waterfront. Steel truss and timber frame buildings were built on this and surrounding piers to accommodate the loading and unloading of ships. Historically, the pier has been used for transport, military logistics, and trade, including the trade of cacao beans to San Francisco. The TCHO chocolate factory was assembled by a team of engineers using vintage European machines from Wernigerode, Germany, and modern refiners, grinders, and Siemens computerized temperature gauges. In April 2014 TCHO left Pier 17 and moved their offices and factory to Berkeley, CA.
TCHO teamed with Erik Spiekermann of Edenspiekermann for design and branding. Its packaging design have won awards and honors, including the Academy of Chocolate Gold Award in February 2009, the European Design Gold Award in May 2009, the iF communication design award in August 2009, as well as nominations for the 2009 Cannes Design Lions and 2011 German Federal Design Award.
TCHO manufacturers four single-origin, dark chocolate bars, flavored chocolate bars (Mokaccino, Mint Chip Gelato, Almond + Sea Salt, etc.), bite-sized chocolate, drinking chocolate, roasted cacao nibs, baking chocolate, and gift packaging. It primarily sells its products to United States retailers.
TCHO promotes its direct investment in partnerships with cacao farmers through its TCHOSource Program, where it aims to provide farmers with the technology and know-how in 'open source' fashion. TCHOSource has installed TCHO "Flavor Labs" at co-ops throughout the world for farmers.
- Sciacca, Annie (February 20, 2018), "Japanese firm to buy Berkeley-based chocolate maker TCHO", The Mercury News
- Crooks, Peter (April 2010), "Louis and the Chocolate Factory", Diablo Magazine