So, the cannabis. We could purchase cannabis on the open market, in the manner of buying a commodity like corn or soybeans. This would be the most affordable path. And as you might imagine, we never even considered it. Instead, we envisioned our products with single-origin cannabis—cannabis that exhibits terroir, that expresses place. We researched California cannabis farms and farmers, and found a perfect fit. Fortunately, the team at Hummingbird Medicinals in the Sierra Nevada Foothills is willing to part with enough of their precious cannabis to meet our needs.
The farm’s from-seed, sun-grown, outdoor approach produces some of the healthiest cannabis in the country. This is of extreme importance to Défoncé. In addition, due to the high quality of the cannabis—the result of exacting attention to detail and years of experimentation with biodynamic growing techniques and approaches—we can rely upon the cannabis for its consistency. We don’t wonder about the quality from week to week with Hummingbird Medicinals.
"I take a seed, germinate it, and when the tap root comes out, I bring it out into the full sun on my property," said Adam, Hummingbird's head farmer. "It never goes into a greenhouse and never receives artificial light. We strongly believe that our sun grown organic outdoor is grown in the best microclimate in the world for growing cannabis. Much like fine wine and the Napa Valley, we believe cannabis and the Sierra Nevada Foothills will stand as shorthand for spectacular cannabis. And as a Sierra Nevada pioneer, Hummingbird Medicinals will be known internationally as a premiere cannabis brand."
This elicits much Défoncé swooning. We adore that this level of care and love goes into the cannabis in our chocolates.
Yet we still buttress our solid trust with testing, working with CW Analytical Laboratories, one of the leading cannabis science and technology firms, to test all cannabis for cannabinoid and terpene profiling, microbiological/residual solvent analysis, mycotoxin screening and pesticide screening. CW performs all of these tests for the cannabis itself, the concentrates that we use, and the chocolate bars. Our process involves exhaustive tests at three important steps.
Another piece of the consistency puzzle revolves around the concentrate we use in our chocolate. Spending so much time and effort forging a close relationship with a farmer would be pointless if what we did to the cannabis violated its integrity. Much research led us to Sublime Concentrates, a boutique California extraction company that custom-builds its own machines that use CO2, instead of things like butane and propane, to withdraw THC from the gorgeous plants.
Why does CO2 matter? Among the reasons: it is nontoxic and approved by the FDA for use in food products. It is solvent-free. It is environmentally friendly—CO2 used for extractions does not contribute to overall atmospheric CO2 levels.
We like to think Sublime’s gentle process—temperatures never exceed 118 degrees—persuades the THC away from the plants, rather than driving it away with a pointed stick. This probably goes an imaginative gambit too far, but you get the point. The Sublime Concentrates team devoted a lot of energy to building its own extraction machines, because they felt they could build better machines than the ones commonly available for sale.
The concentrates we receive from Sublime Concentrates are like cannabis ambrosia—perfumed with the best cannabis aromas, ghosted with the plant’s herbal flavor, clean and nearly incandescent with vital THC. And importantly, the high quality is consistent.
“We believe in cannabis as medicine,” said Sublime Concentrates founder Alex Fang. “The last thing we want to do is contaminate all that went into growing the plant with shortcuts. We pamper all of the cannabis that we receive. We fuss over it.”
So many factors influence the quality of a bar of chocolate, including the way the cacao beans were fermented, the temperature at which the beans were roasted, the type and quality of the sugar, the humidity of the kitchen, and much more. Chocolate-making has got to be one of the most fickle culinary pursuits in the world, involving fermentation, roasting, different complex machines, and a variety of steps that require veteran command of technique.
Fortunately, our chocolatiers have dedicated their lives to exploring and understanding this craft. As a result of their legacy of chocolate-making savvy, we believe Défoncé chocolate is consistently superb.
But of course Défoncé isn’t just another chocolate bar—THC is an important ingredient. And when it comes to THC, consistency is fundamental. We already know the cannabis itself, as well as the extraction process, produces exceedingly consistent levels of high quality. And once the concentrate arrives in our kitchen, the fixation on consistency and quality remains.
We introduce the concentrate towards the end of the chocolate-making process, and we stir the chocolate and THC together in a way that ensures even distribution of THC through each batch. However, to be certain that each bar contains exactly 180 milligrams of THC, and that each section contains exactly 10 milligrams of THC, we custom-made molds that capture the chocolate in quantities and shapes that guarantee dosing for overall bars and individual sections.
Finally, while we know that our methods—the addition of concentrate to precise quantities of chocolate, the methodical stirring and mixing, the molds—ensure the delivery of consistent levels of THC, we still perform exhaustive tests during the process. By the time that bar or selection of chocolate-covered hazelnuts is packaged and shipped to dispensaries, we are confident that the dosing is spot-on.