The Scoop: A box of chocolates is the classic Valentine’s Day gift, but many conventional chocolate brands come with ethical issues and underwhelming flavors. Luckily, Moka Origins offers chocolate and coffee your partner is sure to love. With elevated flavor profiles and positive social impact, Moka Origins is the perfect place to look for your Valentine’s Day gift this February.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, countless couples struggle to decide what to get each other. The typical Valentine’s Day gifts — teddy bears, heart-shaped candies and jewelry, and boxes of chocolate — are all great, accessible options. Still, they lack the personalization that makes a good gift great. And let’s be honest — most women I know don’t want to wear a rhinestone-studded heart necklace for the remaining 364 days of the year.

But perhaps a more significant issue with standard-fare Valentine’s Day gifts than their stylistic longevity is their questionable ethics. Your bargain-variety box of chocolates may taste fine, but the ingredients — and more specifically, the unfair labor practices behind them — are often more unsavory. 

Valentine's Day box set
A Moka Origins Valentine’s Day Gift Box is the perfect treat for your partner this holiday.

“The retail shelves are filled with lots of different Valentine’s Day-themed products and mass-produced chocolate, and most contain more sugar and palm oil than anything else,” Jeff Abella, CEO, and co-founder of Moka Origins, told our team. The genuine cacao that remains in these chocolates is often produced through questionable labor practices, with many workers in the Global South and East poorly compensated for their labor.

The team at Moka Origins strives to be the opposite of these conventional big chocolate brands. Moka Origins produces high-quality chocolate and coffee products, prioritizing the people and source the entire time. “It’s a hands-on process,” Jeff told us. “Everything is small batch. We spend quite a bit of time in Cameroon, Uganda, and other growing countries making sure the compensation for those beans earns workers a living wage income.”

By purchasing Moka Origins chocolate, you can get your partner a sweet Valentine’s Day gift that tastes fantastic and doesn’t contribute to human rights violations and environmental degradation. You can buy them a Valentine’s Day Box Set, a Valentine’s Day Three Bar Collection, or choose from the myriad of coffee and chocolate options available on the Moka Origins website. Moka Origins chocolate offers a romantic chocolate option with some genuine thought and care behind it.

“Holidays like Valentine’s Day give consumers a chance to buy something elegant and delicious,” Jeff said. “They also give us an opportunity to showcase what small-batch chocolate really is.”

Rich Flavor Profile and Taste

When cacao beans are roasted, the outer shell is removed, leaving cocoa nibs, which, when ground, become cocoa mass. The cocoa mass is where the actual chocolate comes from. You’ve probably seen a percentage listed on the front of dark chocolate bars. That percentage represents the portion of the bar made up of cocoa mass. 

Retail chocolate seldom has that percentage listed. That’s because, in the United States, milk chocolate is only required to have a cocoa mass of 10% or higher — less than 40% of the mass required in the EU. The rest of the bar is largely sugar and palm oil. The ethics of palm oil itself have been hotly debated in recent years, with widespread human rights abuse issues reported through the industry.

Moka Origins, on the other hand, strives to produce chocolate products that really are mostly chocolate. “Our main ingredient is cocoa,” Jeff said. “We have three-ingredient chocolate; that’s pretty unique. Even those positioned as specialty chocolate and considered expensive are mostly chocolate liquor and palm oil — it’s just a lack of flavor.”

chocolate bars
Moka Origins bars share the cacao mass, country of origin, and ingredients on their labels.

Moka Origins chocolate has unique flavor profiles that warrant fascinating chocolate tastings. Chocolate lovers can visit the Moka Origins factory to try different flavors and cocoa mass percentages and to learn about the chocolate production process. Many tasters are particularly struck by how much flavor varies by the origin of the bean. 

“We do a tasting of our chocolates with beans from Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana,” Jeff told us. “When you taste different chocolate side by side, the beans from different origins are dramatically different. Our Tanzania bar has notes of cherry and red wine, versus Ghana, which has nutty, classic cocoa.”

Couples with a particularly strong love of chocolate may find that visiting the Moka Origins factory can serve as a great date idea for Valentine’s Day or beyond. Join the free Saturday factory tour for an affordable tasting, or book a private tour for a more intimate experience.

A Mission of Social Impact

Jeff and his team are proud of the quality chocolate they create, but their work doesn’t stop there. Moka Origins has an excellent record of social justice, including its support of the chocolate and coffee growers who produce the beans. The company plants one tree for every product it sells. It invests in sustainable projects in bean-growing communities. And it offers higher compensation to farmers to reduce poverty. 

men working on community project
Jeff and his team prioritize investing in infrastructure in bean-growing communities.

“There are a lot of forced labor practices that may steer people away from African cacao, but we’re doing something provocative by partnering with people doing things right,” Jeff said. “And we’re finding a sustainable way to change the industry.”

Moka Origins also bridges the gap between consumers and producers by leading trips to the bean-growing communities that source the company’s cacao and coffee. These trips support the local economy and give travelers a meaningful and exciting vacation abroad. 

“It’s a white-glove curated experience; people just need to show up and have these adventures,” Jeff said. “It gives a chance for a unique experience to unfold and capture the richness of it all. You don’t have to worry about safety, logistics, or food because we’ve built that structure.”

Going on a fully planned vacation may be a bit much for a first Valentine’s Day. But if you want to give your partner a more impressive gift this year, a trip to Uganda or Costa Rica isn’t a bad option.

Moka Origins Makes Romance Even Sweeter

It’s easy to go through the motions with a holiday like Valentine’s Day — buying your partner a themed gift or taking them out to a French restaurant because that’s the thing you’re supposed to do. Valentine’s Day carries more meaning and has the potential to strengthen the love you share when you take the time to focus on what your partner likes, from the type of cuisine they enjoy to the values of the brands they would support.

Moka Origins’ Valentine’s Day Gift Box Set is an excellent choice for your coffee-and-chocolate-loving partner. The high-quality offering is loaded with Cameroon Medium Roast coffee, Moka Origin’s limited batch Strawberry Swirl bar — a Ugandan dark chocolate base with strawberry white chocolate hearts swirled into it by hand — Ghana 72% Dark Chocolate, and the popular Mexican Hot Chocolate bar. 

The gift box set certainly has a holiday theme, but the products inside have much more to admire and enjoy than the contents of the typical heart-shaped box of chocolates.