Lonohana Chocolate: Hawaii's newest local bean-to-bar chocolate

Photo by Jamie Noguchi

Lonohana Chocolate is Hawaii’s newest 100% local chocolate venture, started by Seneca Klassen, co-founder of Bittersweet Café, a chocolate cafe in the Bay Area. Since starting his North Shore cacao orchard in 2011, Klassen now grows and makes his own chocolate. By taking charge of everything in the process from tree to bar, he hopes to develop transparency into an otherwise murky industry.

Currently, he produces only dark chocolate—the ‘Ele ‘ele (plain dark), ‘Alae ‘Ula (chocolate with Molokai alae sea salt and cocoa nibs) and Kona Vanilla (chocolate with Kona Gold vanilla). The chocolate carries a distinct berry flavor, but since Klassen’s cacao farm is still young, he hopes “ultimately we’ll be able to explore a few quite different flavor directions once the orchard is more mature.”

Lonohana Chocolate can be purchased online or at the Kalihi-based factory ($12/bar), or through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, where buyers pay a yearly price ($425 and up) for a year’s share of chocolate. Regular factory tours will be held on Saturdays starting in September. Farm tours are often difficult to schedule consistently, but Klassen is more than willing to accommodate group requests.

Lonohana Hawaiian Estate Chocolate, 296 Mokauea St., Ste. 101, lonohana.com, 223-9997