All beans are ethically sourced from trusted wholesalers. Honduras is the only exception, which is directly sourced from a cooperative Santa Rosa, Honduras. In all cases the soil, weather, and farming practices play a large part in the final flavor of the chocolate bar. After the beans are fermented and dried, they are sent to the U.S. They are sorted to remove any items that simply aren't cacao and made ready for roasting.
The beans are roasted to sanitize and develop the flavor. After the beans are cooled, they are cracked. The mix of chaff and nibs (cacao) are then put through a winnow to separate the two. The chaff is used for BBQs, compost, and sometimes chocolate tea.
This step all happens in the same machine called a melanger. The melanger contains two stone wheels on a stone base that rotate and grind the chocolate from nibs to a liquor. Conching evenly distributes the cacao particals in the chocolate.
The picture to the right is untempered chocolate. Untempered chocolate can be identified by its signature "bloom" or crystallization of the fat crystals to the surface. Tempering is the process of developing a balance between the right fat crystals and the wrong fat crystals to give the chocolate that perfect snap and a melting point around body temperature.
Using plastic forms, the chocolate poured into molds. There isn't too much science here, and the primary goal is to get the chocolate into the mold with minimal mess (this is not always an easy task). The mold with the chocolate is then cooled and the chocolate is removed to be packaged. The dark chocolate should last up to six months to maintain its flavor if stored in a cool, dark place.