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Limited-Edition Harvest Series: Zorzal Estate, DR

Dandelion Chocolate

About our special limited-edition tasting sets:
In each of our tasting sets, we explore a specific aspect of craft chocolate making, from genetics to fermentation to roasting. Every set offers an opportunity to sample bars that are extraordinarily limited or rarely paired, and which we believe tell an interesting flavor story that wouldn't be apparent alone.

About the Zorzal Estate three-bar harvest series:
This set presents a unique chance to experience the wide range of flavors a single bean can express under differing climatic conditions. Each bar was crafted from one of only three annual harvests (2016, 2017, 2018) fully produced — grown, harvested, fermented, and dried — on site at Zorzal Estate, Dominican Republic, before co-founder Dr. Charles Kerchner moved processing operations to a flatter, less humid location in nearby Los Arroyos at the end of 2018.

Our R&D Operations Manager Ron Sweetser treated the three batches of Zorzal beans identically in our factory, using the same roast profile, melange, and sugar-addition timing in order to highlight the fascinating flavor differences caused solely by annually varying conditions on the farm.

Included in this set:

  • Three 70% bars from three Zorzal Estate harvests: 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • Informative tasting guide
Ingredients & Allergens

All of our single-origin chocolate is made with just cocoa beans and sugar; no added cocoa butter, lecithin, or vanilla. Our chocolate is free of soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten, and it is made in a factory that does not process nuts.


6 oz (168 g)

Learn more

Learn more about our cocoa beans and sugar – the region, the farms, and the producers.


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Three Harvests, Three Bars, Same Origin


2016 was the first year of harvesting, fermenting, and drying cacao on Reserva Zorzal, and the best weather of the three years for post-harvest production. Chuck and his team built fermenting boxes and drying tunnels of local wood to create ideal cocoa-drying conditions in the rainforest humidity.

Tasting Notes:
crème brûlée, fudge, and wild-berry jam on toast


This harvest was delayed by drought, pushing about 40 percent of production to late spring. Then Hurricane Irma hit in September, damaging some cocoa lots. In their second year using the post-harvest infrastructure, Chuck and his team fine-tuned fermenting and drying processes to obtain optimal cocoa quality.

Tasting Notes:
Guernsey milk, orange-blossom honey, and classic dark chocolate


Rain, rain, rain. In the final year of full production at Reserva Zorzal, the Rio Bobo River was often impassable, making harvest, transport, and drying a major challenge. The Zorzal team applied innovative methods (like installing drying-bed heaters and solar-powered drying-tunnel fans) to preserve the beans’ quality.

Tasting Notes:
flourless chocolate cake, Darjeeling tea, and cashew butter

A Note from Chuck

Co-founder & CEO of Zorzal Cacao

"I hope you are as excited as I am to try this limited-edition three-bar set. It will certainly bring back fond memories that I cherish of this time diving into the terroir of Reserva Zorzal.

This one-of-a-kind three-Zorzal-bar set represents the first three years (2016,’17, and ’18) when we harvested, fermented, and dried our own beans. It was not only the first three years of full production, but also the only years we grew, fermented, and dried cacao at Reserva Zorzal. Our vision was to embrace terroir to its fullest extent."

- Dr. Charles "Chuck" Kerchner
  Co-Founder and CEO of Zorzal Cacao / Reserva Zorzal

Karen's Flavor Picks


"I remember looking over the 1,019-acre bird sanctuary from the open windows and listening to tropical songbirds while shoveling cacao from one box to the next. Natural, simple, basic, and pure is the best way to describe it. It was therapeutic." -Dr. Kerchner

Karen's Flavor Picks


A Note from Ron

"These three bars are made from the same cocoa beans, from the same trees, grown on the same land, and processed by the same producer. The only difference is the year they were harvested. We hope that by eliminating the variables at the factory by processing these three harvests of cocoa identically, we can demonstrate in some small way how critical a role specialty cocoa producers play in the flavor of the finished chocolate, and also why where chocolate makers source their cocoa is so important."

- Ron Sweetser
  R&D Operations Manager

About Zorzal Estate, Dominican Republic

Reserva Zorzal is a 1,019-acre organic cacao farm and bird sanctuary located in a moist, broadleaf-rainforest region of the northern Dominican Republic. Charles (Chuck) Kerchner co-founded Reserva Zorzal and Zorzal Cacao (a.k.a. Cacao del Bosque S.R.L) in 2012 hoping to prove that a for-profit business could be a viable, economically sustainable driver of environmental conservation.

Chuck and his co-founders (Jamie Phillips, Jesus Moreno, Jaimie Moreno, Angelica Moreno, and Sesar Rodriguez) bought a relatively undeveloped 412-hectare (1000-acre) piece of land in the mountains of the Duarte Province. They divided it into Reserva Zorzal (the bird sanctuary) and Zorzal Estate (the farm) to protect a critical habitat and simultaneously grow high-quality cacao. While Zorzal Cacao processes and sells estate-grown cacao under the name “Zorzal Estate,” the company also buys freshly harvested beans from neighboring farms, ferments them, and sells them under the name “Zorzal Comunitario.”

Unlike many origins where we source beans, the Dominican Republic has a thriving national cocoa industry, and Chuck supports and retains staff through continual education. When travel is possible, Dandelion runs annual customer trips to visit Zorzal and the Zorzal team.

A little about us...

We Make Bean-to-Bar Chocolate

We're Dandelion, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker in San Francisco's Mission District. For over 10 years, we've been turning cocoa beans and organic sugar into single-origin dark chocolate. We’re part of the New American Chocolate Movement of small-scale chocolate makers building specialized machines and rethinking chocolate making practices to reclaim the depth of flavor in chocolate.

As a bean-to-bar maker, we first source our own beans, and then sort, roast, crack, winnow, melange, temper, and mold each bar we make. Our approach focuses on minimal ingredients, just cocoa beans and cane sugar (not vanilla, emulsifiers, or additional cocoa butter), so that the quality and flavor nuances of the bean shine through.

Just Two Ingredients.
That’s All.

Our chocolate bars are made of just two ingredients: cocoa beans and organic sugar. We don’t add cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla, flavorings, or preservatives, so the quality and flavor nuances of our beans shine. With a light hand and minimalist approach, we aim to highlight different cocoa beans' distinctive flavor notes — from classic fudge to tangy fruit..

We Visit Each Origin to Build Lasting Relationships

When we look for cocoa beans, we look for good flavor and good people. Building trust is at the heart of what we do, and relationships are reciprocal. In addition to looking for good cocoa, we’re also interested in what our cocoa producers need from us — feedback on a new fermentation process, upfront capital to offset a bad season, or connections to other chocolate makers to grow business. Each year we publish the stories, numbers, and practices of our producers in our annual Sourcing Report.

We Work With Collaborators & Chocolatiers Worldwide

While chocolate makers make chocolate from cocoa beans, chocolatiers use finished chocolate to create truffles, bonbons, candy, and confections. Since we don’t add emulsifiers or additional cocoa butter to our chocolate, working with it requires extra time and attention. As a result, making truffles or chocolate-covered nibs with our chocolate can be especially challenging. Still, our collaborators remain undaunted, inventing new recipes and products each year. We celebrate their talents and share these crafted treats with you.

Join Our Virtual Classes to Experience Chocolate from a New Perspective

Our Chocolate Educators have been with the factory for many years, and share their perspectives on tasting single-origin chocolate, making treats at home, and experiencing chocolate in new ways. Our classes are available for individuals, families, and group events.

See Our
Chocolate-Making in
San Francisco

If you’re in San Francisco, we hope to soon invite you to stop by our café and factory in the Mission District to sip on a hot chocolate while watching our chocolate makers turn cocoa beans into bars of chocolate.