Is Scharffen Berger still owned by Hershey?

No, Scharffen Berger is no longer owned by Hershey. Hershey, however, is part of our story. Scharffen Berger was started by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg in 1996. After 9+ years of starting the craft chocolate movement in America, they caught the attention of Hershey. Hershey purchased the brand in 2005 and owned it until late 2019. At that time a new direction for this time-honored brand was set in motion when Scharffen Berger was returned to private ownership in 2020. Destined to be an independent chocolate maker, Scharffen Berger is once again led by a team of expert entrepreneurs, based in Ashland, Oregon, who have been laser-focused on updating the brand visually and adding variety to the top-tier fine chocolate portfolio to appeal to today’s chocolate lovers. To read more about our story, click here: Our Story – Scharffen Berger

Who is Scharffen Berger? Is it a person?

John Scharffenberger is one of the original founders. John started his chocolate journey with his friend, Robert Steinberg. Together, with their passion for food and wine, they truly revolutionized craft chocolate making in America. To read more about our story, click here: Our Story – Scharffen Berger

Do you give Factory Tours?

We do not currently offer Factory Tours. We hope to someday, stay tuned!

What stores carry your products?

We are working hard to build our retail distribution across the United States and bring on new retailers every day. Please email us at and tell us where you are located. We are working on a new online tool to give our shoppers access to our retail locations.

Where can I buy online?

You can purchase here at or on our Amazon store Scharffen Berger Chocolate

Where is Scharffen Berger made?

Our new headquarters and manufacturing facility is in the beautiful town of Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is located in the Southern Oregon Rogue River Valley; home to the famous Shakespeare Festival Oregon Shakespeare Festival ( and award-winning wineries.

What’s the difference between a Chocolate Maker and a Chocolatier?

Chocolate Makers take the actual raw cacao beans (in our case, we source them too) and go through the entire process of turning those beans into amazing chocolate. This is a craft, much like winemaking, cheesemaking, etc.
Chocolatiers don’t make chocolate. They source the chocolate from a chocolate maker and turn that chocolate into their masterpiece. They are true artisans, turning chocolate into truffles, bars, and bonbons that you can find at your favorite chocolate shops.
At Scharffen Berger, we are Chocolate Makers! Learn more about our chocolate making process here: Bean to Bar – Scharffen Berger

Do you donate product for charitable causes?

We evaluate charitable requests on a case-by-case basis. Please email your request to

I am a baker and want to use Scharffen Berger chocolate for my baked goods. How can I buy in bulk?

If you have a business, we do sell wholesale. You can apply for a wholesale account here: Wholesale Ordering – Scharffen Berger

How can I sell Scharffen Berger chocolate in my retail store?

If you have a retail store, we do sell wholesale. You can apply for a wholesale account here: Wholesale Ordering – Scharffen Berger

What is your return policy?

Should you have a concern with your order, or if it arrives in less than excellent condition, please let us know within 30 days of receipt so that we can make it right. Please contact us at

Is your Chocolate safe to eat? I recently read an article about Cadmium and Lead in Dark Chocolate.

YES! Chocolate is safe to eat. It is important to understand the details behind the recent Consumer Reports study which was not peer reviewed and know that lead and cadmium are naturally occurring elements in soil where cacao beans are grown, and these elements are found in MANY other foods we eat on a daily basis. The FDA plus California’s Prop 65 have set levels that food manufacturers need to adhere to (This standard is easy to find in Docket Number FDA-2005-D-0084 Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration). We are proud to say that we have been and always will be in full compliance with these recommendations and test every batch of chocolate before bringing it to market. If you are interested in learning more about this important topic, below are links to additional articles and studies about this issue that we, as Chocolate Makers, are constantly monitoring.

- National Confectionary Association Response to the CR article: NCA responds to report on lead and cadmium levels - International Confectionery Magazine (

- an article by NPR on Dark Chocolate & Heavy Metals

- Expert Investigation Related to Cocoa and Chocolate Product


What does the % on your chocolate mean?

Glad you asked since Scharffen Berger was the FIRST brand in America to put the % of Cacao on our chocolate bars. This is now standard practice among craft and premium chocolate makers. The % is directly correlated with the percentage of cacao beans in the chocolate. The higher the %, the higher the cacao ratio compared to the other ingredients in the bar like sugar and vanilla. This is why a higher % bar tastes less sweet than something like a 41% milk bar that includes sugar and milk, which brings down the cacao content.

Why is there a goat on your chocolate bars and flats?

While we do believe we are the G.O.A.T of chocolate (!), that “goat” is an ibex and is the family crest/symbol of Scharffenberger. To learn more about the ibex, click here: Ibex - Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, and Interesting Facts (

While John Scharffenberger is no longer involved with the company, we have kept the ibex to honor the heritage of the brand and pay homage to the man who started the craft chocolate movement in America.

Are all your products now certified Kosher Dairy?

Our products are all Kosher Dairy

Are your products vegan?

It depends on which product in our portfolio! Our pure dark chocolates, with no inclusions, are considered plant-based/vegan since they only contain cacao beans, vanilla, sugar, and sunflower lecithin. They are, however, made in a plant that does produce milk based products.

We are excited to announce our brand new 43% Oat Milk chocolate chunks which are VEGAN: 43% Oat Milk Chocolate + Coconut Sugar Baking Chunks – Scharffen Berger

Is your chocolate gluten free?


Is your chocolate dairy free?

Our pure dark chocolates and our new 43% Oat Milk Chocolate Chunks are dairy-free. We do have 41% Milk bars and dark chocolates with toffee that are not dairy-free. All ingredients are listed on each product page for your reference.

When are you bringing back the nibby bar?

We just re-launched this classic, fan favorite! 41% Milk Chocolate + Cacao Nibs (the Nibby Bar) – Scharffen Berger

What is the best way to store chocolate?

Ideally chocolate should be stored at 68 F, but temperatures up to 75 F are acceptable. High humidity should also be avoided. We do not recommend storing chocolate in the refrigerator.

How long will my chocolate keep in my pantry?

Our chocolate has an 18-month shelf life, and all of our products have a best buy date printed on the packaging.

If I have chocolate that is past the date on the package, is it still good? If so, for how long?

Our chocolate has an 18-month shelf life. While the chocolate likely won’t make you sick, we suggest that you don’t eat it and treat yourself to some new chocolate that was recently produced.

What if my chocolate has a white film on it?

Improperly stored chocolate, chocolate exposed to heat or chocolate that has passed its best buy date may develop a white film called bloom. This is cocoa butter that has melted and reformed into large crystals visible to the eye. Bloomed chocolate will often have an undesirable texture but is perfectly safe to eat and will perform perfectly in baking and confectionery applications.

How much caffeine is in a teaspoon of this cocoa powder?

We do not measure the methylxanthine content of our cocoa powder, but there are well established values that can be attributed to our cocoa powder:

-Cocoa powder contains around 0.2% caffeine and 1.9% theobromine.  Theobromine is a compound related to caffeine that tends to stimulate cognitive thinking where caffeine acts more as a general stimulant.

-Comparisons with coffee are difficult because it is consumed as a beverage extracted from the beans, but on weight for weight basis coffee beans have between 1 and 2% caffeine.  Tea leaves contain between 3 and 4 % caffeine. 


What does Farm to Bar mean?

Scharffen Berger was one of the original chocolate makers in the United States to truly be “bean to bar” but, they were always “farm to bar”. In the late 90’s, John and Robert set out to visit cacao farms around the world to meet with farmers and source their cacao beans. From there, they purchased those beans, brought them back to Berkeley, California and continued the chocolate making process from there.

Today, we still travel the world sourcing the best cacao beans to create the signature Scharffen Berger blend that you know and love. Led by our Chocolate Maker, Ray Major, we meet with and develop relationships with these cacao farmers to ensure best practices and fair prices. It is a true collaboration.

Are you Fair Trade Certified or Part of the Rainforest Alliance or Organic?

We are not. We have made the decision to have direct relationships with cacao farmers and being part of these organizations would prevent us from doing this. By having 100% control of the beans we purchase, we can ensure that we are buying the best, paying fairly and collaborating with farmers on how to grow the best beans.

Where do you buy your cacao beans from?

We are currently sourcing our beans in the following cacao growing areas and countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru. We are actively working with cacao farmers in Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico to purchase their crops in the near future to create the Scharffen Berger blend.

What is the Cacao Code?

This is our sourcing and sustainability “code” that we all here at Scharffen Berger live by as we source our cacao. We are committed to 3 main tenants: We play fair, We collaborate and We go beyond just sustainability. To learn more, visit our Cacao Code section on the site: The Cacao Code – Scharffen Berger

What is regenerative agriculture?

This is a topic that we are very passionate about and is integral to our mission of improving the lives of cacao farms and the environment. Simply put, Agroforestry is farming with trees. Syntropic agroforestry uses all four rainforest layers to produce crops that yield economic and ecological value. The forest floor, understory, canopy, and the emergent layer all work together. Syntropic agroforestry is the most productive and sustainable form of agriculture for the humid tropics. Nutrients are recycled. Biodiversity is preserved. The landscape becomes resilient against climate change.

We believe that there is a better way to grow cacao through syntropic agroforestry from the farmer’s perspective and the environment. Everyone wins! When growers regenerate degraded land and replicate a natural forest, they’re no longer dependent on a monocrop model. Producers can increase revenue by growing and selling multiple types of crops in a harmonious ecosystem, all without needing to clear-cut trees.

To learn more about what we are doing and the partnership we have with Henrique Souze in Brazil, click here: The Cacao Code – Scharffen Berger