Who doesn’t love chocolate? Okay, probably a few, but for most of us, it’s an obsession! If you fall into the latter camp, you need to visit Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe. Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe started in 2012 when Ben and Adam purchased 70-acres in the county of Puna. Although they hadn’t planned on going into the chocolate business, a chance encounter at a nearby fruit stand would reshape their thinking. While talking to the vendor, they spotted a football-shaped gourd. The owner explained that it was a pod from a cacao tree, and the beans inside could produce chocolate. Being lovers of all things chocolate, they took the serendipitous meeting as a sign and began planting more cacao trees.
Ben went on to earn a Tropical Plants and Soil Science degree from the University of Hawaii. At the same time, Adam’s sister in Illinois contributed her culinary skills. They purchased gear to make chocolate and studied the art of being chocolatiers. Their combined skills, dedication, and hard work panned out, and Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe opened. Today, they manage 45-acres of cacao trees and produce true-to-bean Hawaiian chocolate.
Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe has locations in Hilo, Kona, and Wauconda, Illinois. The cafe is more of a showroom that sells coffees than one with booths and food. The inside is quaint, clean, and has several small tables where you can sit and sip your drinks. Guests will find a wide range of products in the showroom, like bags of Hawaiian coffees, drinking chocolates, and cocoa teas. Showroom tables display things like earrings, chocolate bars, and artwork. The cafe serves Kona coffee, Hawaiian teas, and espresso drinks. But we’ll focus on their chocolate drinks since that’s their specialty.
Cocoa Drinks options are:
Frozen Hot Chocolate
Banana Chocolate Smoothie
Try one of their mochas for a caffeine jolt: hot chocolate with espresso. Guests craving dessert-in-a-cup will enjoy a Frozen Drink like:
White chocolate and ube elixir.
Peanut butter, banana, and chocolate.
Coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and white chocolate.
Let’s move on to their chocolates that have received mixed reviews. The majority of guests enjoyed savoring the various chocolates. Only a few complained that the milk chocolate wasn’t as creamy as they preferred. Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe replied that the consistency would be different because they use less sugar than standard milk chocolate.
Their chocolate bars come in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and seasonal. Let’s look at a few in more detail. All bars are vegan and made from 100% Hawaiian cocoa beans.
This dark bar has macadamia nuts and coconut.
A dark bar mixed with peppers and cinnamon.
Honey Wine Berry.
Dark chocolate paired with red wine and raspberries.
North Shore Style.
Molasses, caramel, and toffee combine for a delicious taste sensation.
This bar is a take-off of Reese’s cup: creamy peanut butter mixed with milk chocolate.
Honey Mac-Nut Mead
If you’re a chocolate lover, we think you owe yourself a visit to Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe to sip and taste their various treats.
Puna Chocolate Company & Cafe offers specialty tours. These range from a cacao orchard tour, to a Kona coffee and sampling tour, to the chocolate-tasting truffle-making workshop. Check their website for locations, times, and pricing.